When starting your own business, the first challenge you face is figuring where to begin. You know where you want to be in five or ten years but what is the first step to getting there? The fact of the matter is that there are actually several “first steps” that need to be taken before you can open shop.
Creating your brand
Creating your brand means creating the vehicle that will take your business to the powerful place you want it to be. As a brand, you need to figure out who are, what do you do and why this should matter to your customers. There are several things to consider when creating your brand, such as: your brand essence, a single thought that is the soul of your brand, your brand core which is a set of element allowing your customers to focus on and the brand identity creating characteristics that identify with your customers. People, in general, seek relationships and having a business allowing for strong customer relationships is a fundamental element to running a successful business.
Starting a business is like starting a family and neither can be done without the proper financing. There is no easy way to get the financing you need. Bank loans require collateral and credit cards require repayments with interest. The best way to acquire the financing you need would be to network, and network and then network some more. As an entrepreneur, you need to explore all options available to you for financing.
Being The Visionary
One of the biggest parts of being an entrepreneur is being a visionary. You need to see things differently and constantly be coming up with new and competitive ideas for the industry you’re heading into. If one of you major or minor competitors does something, you need to respond to it quickly and effectively. When your business is running there will be the inevitable challenges, as the entrepreneur you will need to make creative decisions on the spot, which to most normal people is a contradiction for is a skill successful entrepreneurs possess.
Creating Customer Loyalty
Having a successful business depends on whether or not you have loyal customers. Loyal customers will continue to buy your products and promote them through word of mouth, a free and valuable form of marketing. Creating and maintain customer loyalty is more give than take and when you know what to do in order to get it, it’s as easy as following a recipe. When your customers offer feedback, listen and take everything they say into account. Have empathy, understand how they think, behave and feel. Determining why your customers chose you will help you to understand how to attract more customers. Focus on your best customers with an 80:20 and serve them relentlessly. Find new ways to surprise your customers and give them something to talk about. Always deliver on your brand promise and over-deliver on fixing any mistakes authentically.
In business, especially in the beginning, the temptations to omit certain information and cut corners come around more often than we would care to admit. Businesses that lack integrity may appear to succeed for a while but the moment they are caught out they lose it all and have to start over. As an entrepreneur, you need to follow all the regulations presented to you and maintain your integrity. It’s as simple as that.
M. Rafiq is the brain trust behind multiple ecommerce startups, and has become a thought-leader in the entrepreneurial space by providing wisdom and advice based on his decade of startup success. The digital age has opened opportunity to everyone, and M. Rafiq is passionate about providing opportunity to anyone willing to work both hard and smart. He also writes about his personal experience on financentric. Follow M. Rafiq on Twitter.