Having a perfect mix of product, people and place become imperative while you are running your own business. But are these enough? Considering that competition is fierce and consumers have too many choices, you need be offering something better to stay ahead in the grind.
As a business owner, the accountability to achieve your goals rests on your shoulders. At the same time struggle in a business in inevitable. To help ease out the stress, here’s a list of seven simple ingredients that can help you take your business to the next level and add taste to the recipe for success -
1. A full proof business plan:
You might have heard this before, and this would seem like something that you would already have in place. However, it is essential to know the purpose of your business and to have a vision on how things will shape up. For starters, a one-page business plan may suffice, but it’s imperative to chalk out the basic product details, marketing strategy, sales strategy, all of this in detail before you get started. At the same time if you are seeking to raise funds you will need to have a comprehensive business plan that includes numbers, growth plans, market size, expected turnover and so on. Writing a business plan which is fool proof is an extremely important step to run the business.
2. Market research:
What is the problem that your business addresses? Who is your competition? Who is your target consumer? You need to have well-researched answers for these questions. You also need to know your product and the market it will operate in, in and out. Making note of these tiny details and analysis will make your business appealing and will play an important role in creating a niche it. Deep dive and be specific with your research. Avoid being generic, for example if you are operating in the retail industry and sells garments for men, don’t just research about the retail industry, but deep dive and study the garments industry and specifically study the men’s garments industry.
3. Your USP:
Once your research is done you need to know what differentiates your product from the rest. What kind of packaging are you using? Who are your suppliers working with, do you have an exclusive deal with them?Look at the profitmargin on each product compare it with existing players. Apart from the quality of the product the pricing will play an important role in determining the USP of your product.
4. Marketing strategy:
Marketing is often overlooked or taken for granted by business owners. However, it is a very important component of running a business. Marketing strategy should always be ‘outside in’ and not ‘inside out’. The product should be about the consumers. With changing times, you need to evolve and ensure they are interacting with consumers at multiple touch points. Each quarter assign a certain budget dedicated towards your marketing spends. Also do not expect sky rocketing sales from the day you start marketing. Sometimes it about creating awareness and not about sales.
5. Consumer Behaviour:
Keep updating your products based on current consumer trends. Your big data may show that 18-35 year olds frequent your store. Ensure that you revolve your communication around them. Concentrate your effort into using the channels they frequent rather than those they don’t. Studying consumer behaviour and their buying habits will help you concentrate on what consumers want. Always remember ‘consumer is king.’
In any business it all boils down to your finances. Your Profit and Loss statement determines the success of your product. A smart POS software will help you align your billing and cash register and make it easy for you to track your past sales and create a forecast based on trends. Don’t be in a rush to break even or scale up, get the product right analyse the spends and ensure you are covered. There might be expenses that you think you may incur each quarter and ensure there is liquidity in the business always. Always leave an extra room for inevitable expenses from your inventory to rent and insurance to your own salary.
It is of utmost importance to invest in the right resources that will partner with you in your growth story. Focus should be on retention of employees and to keep the attrition levels really low. Your people should believe in the product and the brand as much as you do or even more as only then will they be able to sell your story to the consumer. You must empower your employees with smart tools, that reduces their load and helps them manage their tasks more effectively.
Running your own business is only for brave hearts who are ready to step out of their comfort zone, dream big and do anything in their power to achieve their goals. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from achieving what you thought was impossible. ‘Be bold, be you’ remember if you get the above 7 ingredients right, there is a great spark for growth in your business.