How Can Busy Entrepreneurs Recognize and Solve Business Problems?

What Are You Missing? Start-up executives can become too close to the project, to busy managing the minutia, and stretched too thin due to lack of staff, time and financial resources to notice the flaws in their plans. In most cases, the work is extremely hard and requires numerous, long hours that turn into days and then turn into months. It becomes difficult for the Founders, and executives to stay focused on the critical tactics and strategies necessary to lift their company to the next phase in growth.

Meetings with trouble-shooting Consultants or venture Coaches can help Founders navigate through the challenging times and rough waters of launching a startup. Experienced Consultants know how to walk the fine line between enthusiastically recognizing the business model and market potential while offering critical consulting advice and strategic planning. Founders need to recognize that the Consultant’s analysis and criticism is a strategic necessity for the realization of the company’s short term and long term potential. Moreover, a good Consultant will be able to quickly assess the strengths and weaknesses of the plan and zone in to recognize the problems or blockages – good Consultants are natural trouble shooters and problem solvers. Founders need to recognize when their plans are not being realized and take the risk by hiring and paying for an outsider who can become a part-time addition to the company’s strategic capital.

In a recent meeting with confident and enthusiastic Founders of a promising startup business, let’s call it The Glick Company, and myself (a business venture consultant), it became evident that the Glick’s Founders were overlooking and not performing on several critical issues in their plan.

In this case, the Glick executives had an incomplete product launch and capital strategy. They were busy working on the product refinements and hoping for one large customer that they were not paying attention other critical problems. Collectively, the Founders could not “see” some of the problems that were blocking the progress of their company. One of the two Founders determined outside advice was critical for the company to reach its potential. Many of the strategic pieces were in place, but the firm lacked the cohesive tactical and execution plan in several areas.

After a meeting and several telephone calls, the consultant identified that the Glick Founders had not tested the product in the marketplace, put together any other pricing or marketing strategies (besides the one large deal), did not have a strong capitalization plan in place and were not aware of how to take advantage and re-position their strengths for an upcoming investors meeting. There were workable solutions to their challenges, but it took an outsider to recognize the challenges and provide a vision and a plan for the executive management team to follow.

During the two hour meeting between the Glick Founders and the Consultant, the payoff was recognizing what was not working and how to avoid additional, future problems.

The meeting ended with several new ideas, plans and strategies for the Glick team to implement. The product was to be tested in the market place; the Founders would have very useful and accurate feedback from a qualified focus group. Marketing materials outlining the features and benefits of their product were going to be developed. The Glick sales team was to begin marketing the product to the top 1000 qualified buyers to try to obtain Letters of Intent and fill the manufacturing pipeline. Back up manufacturers in place were to be found and pricing guidelines and models were to be implemented. We determined ways to best present the company, the team strengths and the progress at an upcoming investors meeting to ask for additional capital investments. Each of the solutions became milestones towards the progress of launching the product in the marketplace.

Would this outcome have been the same without hiring a Consultant or a Coach? It is hard to say, but the Glick team was extremely pleased with the time and money spent working through some of their strategic challenges and determining new solutions to existing problems. Within a week after the meeting, I received a email from the Founder stating that the investor meeting went well and additional capital was raised. This was the best news I could hope for….

Product Creation – Successful Entrepreneurs Develop Their Own Products

There is nothing like having your own product to sell. You can keep all the profits for yourself. If you are selling affiliate product, you have to worry whether the company will remain in business, or whether the rates of commission will reduce or that there is not enough market for those products. In fact, when you have your own product, you can affiliate it and offer commissions for its sale. But in this case also, you get to keep a good portion of the profits.

You can develop products to distribute freely or you can sell them to earn profits. When you distribute freely, you get to build a list which can then be useful in marketing your products. There are 2 requirements of products.

1. They must be wanted by your target audience. You cannot sell something which does not serve any purpose or does not solve any problem. If you find that your customers need information on how to lose weight, you must write an e-book on ways of losing weight. If your target audience wants to know what the great places to visit in Singapore are, you write about that. So where do you find what they want. For this, you must regularly visit internet forums related to your field of interest and watch what people are talking about.

2. The products must be in downloadable format. For instance, if you are writing an e-book, make it available in PDF format which is easy to share and print. If you are making an audio product, create it in MP3 format which is the most widely used format for audio files. On the internet, people want instant gratification. As soon as they sign up to your list, they would expect to get the freebie or the product.

There are many types of products you can create digitally. I will explain about 3 such products.

1. E-book: You can create an e-book which is nothing but your content, organized in chapters and presented with an attractive title. E-books are very popular information products and can be used in a variety of ways.

2. Audio Product: You can record a training session or an interview and develop and audio product. If the interview is long, break it up into small parts and run an email audio course. All you need to do is to give out the link in the email and students will access it from your servers.

3. Screen Capture Product: You can develop products to teach people how to use the internet or any other software product. Use tools like Camtasia to capture screens of the products and add a voice over to explain the navigation.

Developing your own product is the first step to take your entrepreneurship to the next level of success.

The Key Elements of Building a Successful Business

If you are like most new entrepreneurs, you will most certainly make many mistakes in the process of building a successful business. You are human…and you will falter. Be ready to humble yourself, accept that you will fumble and fall, learn from your failures, pick yourself up, brush the dirt off your back, and continue to look in the only direction that will bring you success…Forward.

“Failure is the tuition you pay for success” ~ Walter Brunell

In the last 4 years I have surrounded myself with many successful small business owners. I have taken notes, asked questions, investigated their tactics, picked their brain, silently watched and have done everything humanly possible to follow in their footsteps. In the process I have discovered the key ingredients of creating a business that can, and will survive in any economy…online or offline.

Putting People First

Putting your needs aside and putting people first is the foundation of any successful business. Building concrete relationships with your customers will create trust. Once your customer trusts you, they will refer you to others, buy your products and continue using your services. Without trust and customer loyalty..businesses don’t have a fighting chance.

In the Internet Marketing arena, thanking people may be as simple as retweeting an article, commenting on a comrades blog, or sharing their post on Facebook.

Zig Ziglar said it best when he said:

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Market Yourself, Not Your Business

Spamming and slamming everyone you encounter with a sales pitch about your new product or business is not only unattractive…it’s completely ineffective. People can smell the desperation all over you. Cold calling strangers, neighbors or old friends, and pitching your network marketing business opportunity to them in the first few sentences of a conversation, is not only self serving…it’s downright annoying. You may not realize this…not only are you wasting your time, you are also wasting their valuable time too.

The great leaders of the most successful businesses today didn’t get where they are by jamming the phone lines and filling people’s inboxes with useless and self serving sales pitches.

Remember what we all learned from our parents as a small child?

“You only get one chance to make a first impression” ~ Mom and Dad.

Learn the simple principles of Attraction Marketing. Not only will you see positive results in your business, but you will begin to see a difference in yourself as well.

Do Business With A Conscience

Your reputation as a person will become the fuel and driving force behind your business’s success. Be honest and forthright. If you lose the trust of one associate or customer, it can only take a few minutes, a few phone calls, or a few quick conversations…to lose them all.

One of my community’s most prominent and successful business owners has this sign in all of his stores.

“It can take weeks and months to gain a customer…but only seconds to lose them”

Self Education

Self education is inarguably one of the most effective tools in creating a successful business. Becoming a business owner puts you in the driver’s seat. You no longer have anyone leading the way. It’s up to you to seek out all of the quality information you can get your hands on to implement your business plan. Invest in yourself. It will prove to be the best investment you will ever make.

“Formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune” ~ Jim Rohn

In A Nutshell

The holy grail of running a successful business doesn’t lie in the product you are Marketing or the service you offer. Implementing these key elements and tweaking them as you go along, is what most successful business owners focus on.

Surround yourself with leaders, listen to leaders…and learn from leaders.

And at the end of the day, after you’ve learned how to implement these basic business building principles, chances are…

You will be able to sell pet rocks to the President…or ice to an Eskimo.

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