95% of all companies in Europe are so-called small businesses. They account for a quarter of all corporate profits and a third of corporate employment. Nevertheless, according to the Small Business Index, 64% of entrepreneurs earn less than minimum wage. So how do you ensure that your business is a success?
Dare to take action
Entrepreneurship starts with the right mindset so that you don’t hold yourself back. It creates the space to work on the solution and take action.
As a knowledge entrepreneur, you don’t have to be the ultimate expert in selling your knowledge. You need to be about 10 to 20% ahead of the person who wants to help you. Therefore, put your perfectionism aside because you are never completely ready for it. Use Parkinson’s Law instead:
Then, you only take the time you get.
So give yourself a clear deadline.
And you have to dare to change strategies, even if you lose customers as a result. Your new strategy will attract new customers. You also shouldn’t be afraid to stop what isn’t working, even if that means stopping the entire business. Lorelei has even devoted an entire chapter to quitting. Entrepreneurship, therefore, requires guts and daring. To do things, take risks, and make choices.
- Build a community
You build a community around your product, focusing on your ideal customer, but where you will attract more people. These people will probably become your ideal customer in the future.
The advantage of a community is that you can build your own brand there and test your offer well. In addition, you always have the attention of the people in your community so that you can skip the attention phase from the AIDA funnel model, and you can go straight through the interest phase.
Sometimes communities already exist, such as Facebook groups, that perfectly match your idea of an ideal community or that come very close to it. You can feel free to join such an existing community and make use of it.
You must regularly share high-quality content in the community that fits both the community and your product or service. Repeat your message in various forms, such as video, quotes, and infographics. The content makes you visible and findable.
Then you can’t sell.
You may not want to be dependent on third parties such as social media for the community. Therefore, build your content platform or email list and serve your community there. The community doesn’t necessarily have to talk to each other, as long as they talk to you. So ask them questions and possibly give them a stage. This way, you get knowledge from your community that you can use for your company, and you turn the members of your community into super fans who buy more from you and become your ambassador.
In all cases, it is important to keep growing your community: “Otherwise you will always be fishing in the same pond and at so, my point it will be empty.”
Especially female entrepreneurs sometimes tend to say that money is not important to them. But that’s it. It is a good indicator of the health of your company. Therefore, always work with a budget that you fill in and to which you may make changes until everything is correct.
Don’t you dare say you want to be rich? Then look at it differently. How much money do you need to live the life you want, even if that is your current life? Or maybe that house with an extra room or larger garden. In time a new car. Rather not have to choose between summer holidays and winter sports. You can sit on the terrace an extra time or less having to cook for yourself. It all costs money. So think about yourself when allocating money, whether that is a DGA salary (usual salary) or the salary you pay yourself as the owner of a sole proprietorship.
In addition to needing money to run your business and, for example, paying freelancers and staff or business premises, you also need insight into your finances and other figures. Even if you outsource everything to an accountant and you find the numbers boring.
If you know the numbers, can you turn the right buttons to make necessary changes or continue to grow?
Turn the three growth knobs.
If you want to grow with your company, there are three buttons that you can turn. The better these are attuned to each other, the easier it is for you to grow. When turning these knobs, you sometimes have to spend money, but you will find that it goes hand in hand with earning more.
- Build systems
If you have systems in your company, you can work more efficiently. Systems can be procedures, but they can also be about automating certain actions.
Once you’ve implemented your systems, it also makes it easier to outsource the work. You can easily explain a system to someone else, who can implement it more easily without you being needed. And it’s easier for others to catch up when someone drops out. Systems, therefore, ultimately save a lot of time and money.
- Outsource work
Many entrepreneurs are generalists. They don’t excel at anything. It is, therefore, better to outsource work to someone who excels at it. That person does the job better, cheaper, and faster. This leaves you time to do what you are good at yourself and where you can earn more money.
Don’t have the money to outsource work? Calculate what it costs to outsource and how many hours it will save you. In the hours you get back, you can probably take actions yourself that will pay you more than what the outsourcing costs you. You probably have the money to outsource work.
Are you not good at sales? That’s probably nonsense. You have the wrong idea of sales, or we have to do something about it. If you have too little turnover, it is (almost) never due to your product and always to your sales strategy.
Moreover, do not go for the highest number of sales, but for the highest possible profit. 80% of our efforts only deliver 20% of the result. 80% of our customers only provide 20% of our revenue, while we usually focus our efforts on that 80% instead of the top 20%. That’s a shame!
Therefore, rather focus on the top 20% and turn them into repeat customers with the highest possible customer lifetime value. Because these customers are worth more, you can also spend more time and money on them to bring them in. After all, they deliver more than the other 80% to customers.
How do you get these customers in? By building a relationship with them. For example, via the community discussed earlier. Keep in mind that someone needs 5 to 12 touchpoints before that person makes a purchase.
The fact that many entrepreneurs think they are not good at sales is usually because they do it too little to see real results.
- Make it clear to yourself (and the influencer) what the purpose of the collaboration is.
- Have a plan. Please don’t focus on a single action, but look at the long term and break it down into smaller pieces.
- Ask the influencer for numbers, followers, and the average engagement so you know what to expect.
- Give the influencer something valuable in return. You can, of course, pay, but depending on your product or service and the reach of the influencer, a swap with free products or services is sometimes included. You can also offer the influencer an affiliate deal to give away a discount with a specific code and receive compensation themselves if a product or service is purchased with that code.
- Prepare a good briefing for the influencer with examples.
- Record everything in an agreement, in which you agree on the fee, the number of posts, and deadlines, among other things.
It’s an entrepreneurial cycle.
With her book In Business, Lorelei mainly focuses on the starting entrepreneur. But, she writes, entrepreneurship is a cycle in which you go through each phase again at some point, even if it is just because you are developing a new service or product.