Have you recently started a new business? Or you’re thinking about starting your journey as an entrepreneur? Either way, congratulations to you! You’re taking a major step towards a rewarding and more independent lifestyle. That being said, owning a business comes with certain challenges. Here are the crucial areas that you’ll need to make an effort to understand and become familiar with if you want to take control of your business:
Identify Your Brand
One of your first challenges as a business owner is to build a unique brand. Creating a relevant and distinctive logo is only the first step when it comes to branding. What’s most important is identifying the crucial characteristics that set you apart. This is sometimes referred to as USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and will inform your marketing, the kind of content you post on social media, and how you communicate with your customers. Your brand identity should be consistent across platforms both online and offline. So, figure out what makes your brand unique.
Know Your Customers
No one should know your customers better than you. Who are they? What problem of theirs are you providing a solution for with your product or service? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll want to go ahead and dive deeper by developing a unique buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a fictional character who represents your ideal customer. Some businesses even go as far as giving their buyer persona a name and a very specific lifestyle to bring them to life. For example, “Mary is a married 35-year-old mother of two who works in middle management. She drives a Honda Accord and enjoys reading mystery novels, yoga, and gardening.” Of course, you have to base your buyer persona on research to ensure it’s as accurate as possible. In some cases, you may have more than one. Your buyer persona (s) may change over time as your business evolves. Be sure to review or update it as your business grows. When’s the last time you reviewed and updated yours?
Pay Attention to Your Numbers
Few people start a business because they enjoy crunching numbers. However, it will be hard for you to succeed if you don’t thoroughly understand your expenses, taxes, profit margins, and other essential numbers.
Here are a few tips to help you in this area:
- Research the best business structure for your needs. Many new entrepreneurs start as sole proprietors. However, it’s often advantageous to set up an LLC, Corporation, or Partnership. If necessary, consult with an attorney. Setting up a business entity helps protect you legally in case your business is ever sued.
- Invest in quality accounting software. You may want to hire a part-time or full-time bookkeeper or accountant. You can also outsource these tasks to an agency as you need them. Whatever you decide to do, just promise me you don’t just try to “wing it” as this can lead to serious financial problems for you and your business in the future.
- Be frugal when starting out. You don’t have to invest in costly office space, equipment and non-essential amenities. Consider renting rather than buying expensive equipment or perhaps consulting with other small business owners and splitting the costs.
- Always track the ROI of your marketing campaigns. With online advertising such as Google AdWords or Facebook ads, you can use software to track your results. Important digital marketing metrics include conversion rates, cost per customer acquisition, and click rates for email campaigns. Regardless of what type of marketing you do, it’s essential to measure your results.
Manage Your Time
When you’re an employee, your time is generally managed by your employer or a manager. When you run your own business, however, you are entirely responsible for setting your schedule. You need to set daily, weekly, and long-term goals for yourself. But where do you even start?
- Prioritize. When you create your to-do list, try to arrange it, so you complete the most urgent and difficult tasks early in the day.
- Use time management tools to track your time and see what you’re spending the majority of your time doing. Use the results to determine how you can better be productive with your time.
- Avoid getting caught up in busy work. You can fool yourself into feeling productive while endlessly “researching” on Google, browsing social media, and holding long meetings.
- Learn to say “no.” You’re not obligated to listen to every sales pitch or attend every event to which you’re invited.
- Delegate and outsource. You only have so many hours in a day to get things done. When you delegate tasks, you have more time to devote to more essential matters. As your business grows, you’ll be able to identify more areas to delegate and outsource. This is one of the secrets to upscaling your business.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, this is a lot of information to take all at once, but you’re not alone, there are resources and business coaches that can help you clarify your needs and develop a successful strategy for your business.
I’m Nadia La Russa, and I’m a serial entrepreneur in Thunder Bay, Ontario who provides business coaching for entrepreneurs all over North America. I can help you take control of your business so you can reach your true potential.
Click here to get in touch and find out how my business coaching can help you.
P.S. If you’re feeling excited about taking control of your business but aren’t sure when to start because you’re always so busy, be sure to read this blog post I wrote on how to take control of your time. After all, we all have the same hours in the day as everyone else!