by Donovan Janus, founder of 17hats
The hard part is over! You’ve already decided that your side business or after work hobby is going to become your new primary source of income. This is an extremely exciting time filled with endless possibilities where growth is nascent and mistakes are bound to be made and learned from.
While failure is a real fear of new entrepreneurs everywhere, you can prevent it from becoming reality with these five tips:
Find yourself in your work.
You may have started your business with the best intentions, but it’s incredibly important to understand your role in the marketplace and communicate it. Ask yourself “what is my product/service doing that no one else is?” and “why is my product/service better than my competitors?”
Perhaps you focus more on customer satisfaction than anyone in your field, or you have a knack for communication with clients. Whatever you excel at, make it essential to how run do business.
Create a roadmap.
We all have a vision for where we want our businesses to go, but not a clear understanding of how to get there. Take the time to develop a strategic roadmap so you may better understand the ways in which you’ll achieve your operational goals. Start by defining your vision statement and company mission, which will help inform other areas of your business like marketing or sales. When you think about your bigger goals, try to break them down into smaller pieces that you’ll be able to work on over time. Investing in this process will help you both identify priorities and highlight possible roadblocks.
Create a brand bible.
Even if you’re not selling a product, taking the time to create a brand bible brings a slew of advantages to the savvy entrepreneur. For one, a brand bible or style guide will help synthesize your aforementioned mission statement and company vision into concrete ideas you disseminate to clients. Given the multiple channels we’re all using to communicate to current and prospective customers, inconsistency is frequent. Whether it’s on social media, your website, or in advertising, having a clear brand voice will generate a positive customer experience and reduce confusion about who you are and what you offer.
Hone your elevator pitch, not your sales pitch.
An elevator pitch, unlike a sales pitch, is the one you’ll trot out when you look to convert conversations into clientele. Sniffing out a potential new lead? Start off with the benefits of your products or services and follow up with why you’re doing it better than anyone else (remember when we defined those above?). You’ve no doubt got them interested at this point, so make it concrete by suggesting a time to delve deeper in person or via phone call. You’ll never know when new business will strike, and you’ll never need to be worried about being unprepared.
Take time for yourself.
With a growing business it may seem impossible to take breaks or vacations, but a new research suggests that overworking is linked to a number of health risks including depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and even poor cognitive performance. Try a daily morning meditation, walking meetings, or limiting your hours at least one day a week. In the long run, reducing stress will minimize the likelihood you’ll be afflicted by illness and the need to take time away from your business.
Serial entrepreneur Donovan Janus started his first company NTN Publishing in 1998, and started Exposure Manager in 2004. Still running today, Exposure Manager has 6,000 users including the Elvis Presley Foundation and Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Janus launched 17hats in October 2014 after a short 4 months in development. It currently has over 7,500 users and grows exponentially each month.