I was talking with Mary, a new entrepreneur, who wanted business tips for a new coaching and consulting practice that she started.
It seems that her coaching and consulting practice is not where she thought it would be after going through two quarters of operation.
As I was thinking about what to share with Mary, I remembered an article that I read by Brad Sugars (Entrepreneur Inc.) who is the founder of ActionCOACH and the author of The Business Coach and Billionaire in Training.
He said: “In the majority of cases, startup success or failure is all about knowing both the how and the why of taking action and always being clear about which steps to take next”.
Here are Sugar’s 10 essential tips for how to run a successful business.
1. Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. Too often, people jump into a business built around a product or service they think will be successful, rather than one that is already proven to have a market.
2. Get cash flowing ASAP. Cash flow is the lifeblood of every business, and is absolutely essential to feeding the bottom-line profits.
You simply must find ways to jump start cash flow immediately.
3. Always find new ways to keep costs low. All the cash flow in the world is worthless if it’s not positive cash flow, which means you have to bring in more cash than you pay out.
4. When planning, always overestimate expenses and underestimate revenues. Being conservative in your numbers doesn’t mean you are willing to accept those numbers, it just means you are arming yourself with information you can work with and work over.
It also means you can gauge the kinds of efforts and activities you will need to put into sales and marketing.
5. Focus on sales and marketing manically. In business, nothing happens until a sale is made. From the beginning, you’ll need to find a good way to get leads, convert leads into sales, and make sure you keep getting repeat sales from your customers.
6. Find ways to exponentially increase profits. In business, there are five drivers that impact profits. If you can master them while keeping your costs in check, you will run a successful business by:
1. getting more leads;
2. converting more leads into customers;
3. increasing the number of times those customers buy from you;
4. increasing the average price point of your sales; and 5. escalating your profit “>7. Test and measure everything. You can’t change what you don’t measure, and you can’t tell if a program, product or strategy is working if you are not faithfully testing, measuring and tracking your results.
8. Accept that learning more equals earning more. If you’ve never run a million dollar business, you don’t know how to start a business – simple as that.
But you can learn to run one, even if it is not a million dollar business you are building from the ground up. However, you need to accept right now that learning always comes before “earning” (except in the dictionary).
You’ll need to be committed to learning as much as you can about sales/marketing and operations if you want to have a truly successful business.
9. Don’t discount, add value. Whenever you discount, you are taking money directly out of your pocket and directly from your bottom-line profit. So don’t do it. Instead, create a value add proposition all the way up and down your product or service line.
10. Get a coach. Even if you don’t get a business coach at first to help you and guide you in your planning and operation, get someone who is objective and outside of your business – this should be a person you can rely on for nitty-gritty business advice and someone who will hold you accountable for getting results.
I believe that these 10 tips will be valuable in helping you clarify your thinking and also in prioritizing some activities in your planning and startup mode. I like to say there are no mysteries in business or in life, there’s just information you don’t know yet.
So prepare as well as you can, knowing you will need to make changes and corrections. If you are armed with the right strategies up front, you can cut the time it will take to successfully getting to your ultimate destination.© Copyright 2013 Laureen Wishom