by Ron Ben-Zeev, CEO and President of World Housing Solution Inc.
Starting a business can be a scary and daunting task, making it hard for those starting out to know if they have made the right decision. While it is challenging, it can also have amazing rewards.
There is no yellow brick road to follow to ensure you achieve success, but there are some tried and true methods to help you get there.
1. Listen to understand, not to prepare your answer.
Stop trying to prepare the perfect answer while a customer is still talking to you – if you truly listen, odds are the customer will tell you what they want. We’re in so much of a hurry to tell everyone what we think they want to hear that we don’t take the time to listen to what they need.
2. Don’t let technology take the place of human contact.
No matter what industry you work in, there is always a person on the other end of the phone or computer. Treat people as people, not as employees, clients or a business deal. Until you take technology out of the equation and connect face to face it’s not going to work.
3. The sale is key, not the investment.
How does an ice cream shop make it? They sell ice cream. They don’t go out and chase investors to stay in business, they make sales to stay in business. Too many companies focus on finding investors and keeping them happy that they forget to connect with who truly matters – their customers.
4. Find the blind spot.
The goal of every business is to solve a problem or offer a service, but sometimes we get so fixated on what we think the problem is or what we need to offer that we don’t truly see what needs to be fixed. Look at your business from the outside, what do your customers need and how can you give it to them?
5. Don’t let the darkness win.
Starting a business can be a strange and lonely path. Unless you have a support system around you, won’t be able to succeed. There will be times when someone else needs to step in and pull you out or push you up – those are the people you want to keep around. Business owners are great liars, always saying everything is great and things are working out; but startup depression is a real thing and surrounding yourself with people who can lift you up makes a world of difference.
6. Don’t be afraid to test your product.
If you wait until your product is perfect before you show it to consumers, the time will never come. Get the product into the hands of the people and they will become your best critics – let them play with it, let them test it and let them break it. In the end, they will come back with feedback that will be invaluable. Better is the enemy of good, don’t let perfection hold you back.
7. No one is Irreplaceable.
Time will come when someone quits or gets fired, and then you panic. How can we possibly move forward without him or her? Remember this; “Cemeteries are filled with indispensable people who were all replaced”. Cynical? Perhaps, but true. This saying from the French politician George Clemenceau should serve as a reminder that things will go on. Just breathe and focus. You can do this.
Ron Ben-Zeev is the CEO and President of World Housing Solution Inc., a company that focuses on building sustainable structures for the U.S. military. Ron is also very active in the Central Florida community – where he organizes local TEDx events, is an adjunct professor at Rollins College and is the founder of several entrepreneurial groups. You can find him on Twitter at @Rbenzeev.