If you’re here, I’m pretty sure you’re grappling with the seemingly Herculean task of building a successful brand.
It’s not the easiest thing to do though, is it?
But it can be.
Honestly, entrepreneurship is a journey that demands you take a positive spin on your perceived “failures” if you want to keep on keeping on. Back it up with deliberate action, and you’ve got a little fire started. The good kind.
I won’t say you wouldn’t be making any mistakes in the process (after all, making mistakes is the best way to learn), but you’ll tend to get burned a lot less if you keep these 6 things in mind.
1. Don’t #Birdbox It – Listen to Your Clients
In short, build a product or service that your market needs.
As entrepreneurs, we’re swayed and seduced by the genius of our idea. But often, this product or service we put our heart and soul into may not be what our clients need.
It could be a number of things, including positioning and pricing. But the most important question to ask is: Is it solving your clients’ problems?
Essentially, you can’t market a product that doesn’t lead with benefits.
So before you drown yourself in endless cups of coffee and spend a whole lot of time and money pushing a product that wouldn’t be lapped up by your target market, keep your ears to the ground and listen to your clients.
2. Be Agile
Oh no, not tech jargon again! But hear me out.
When I started my image consulting agency in 2016, little did I know I’d have to turn my business model on its head and pretty much start from scratch. But honestly, being agile is the single best decision I’ve made for growing my business.
So what is agility in business, exactly?
Agility means to be able to quickly pivot on your feet to adjust your products, services, or campaigns in line with the changing market, economy, or customer preferences.
So what I’m really saying is: Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket, and avoid building your business with a tunnel vision.
For example, if your ad spend on a particular social media platform is dragging you down, take a step back and check out whether your customers are actually hanging out on that platform (and if they are, what kind of actions are they taking?).
3. Stay Focused and Don’t Try to Do It All
Let’s face it: growing a business on your own means there’s always too much on your plate.
So you try to take everything on all at once, especially because you’ve been consistently sold the stoic image of a hard worker rather than a smart worker.
Plus, there’s the occasional case of Ohhhh, shiny! that threatens to derail your focus (c’mon, just me?).
Here’s what I learned in 2018 (and I suggest you do the same for focused results):
Take on a couple of things and do them consistently.
For example, if you’re currently focusing on creating a body of content, don’t try to juggle it with establishing a presence on social media right away.
a. You wouldn’t be able to focus on impactful content creation when you’re trying to engage with your followers.
b. Without a body of content, you wouldn’t show up consistently on your followers’ feeds, which is the last thing you want to do when you’re building brand awareness.
In short, be a hawk with your goals, not a magpie.
4. Zero-in on Your Target Market and Your Ideal Customers
KFC wouldn’t market to vegans.
So why should you waste time, energy, and money wooing folks who’ll never buy your products or services? Do your research and narrow down your target market instead of trying to cater to ANYONE and EVERYONE. Know who your ideal customers are and what their problems are, inside out.
You must be thinking: But that means I’ll have less people to bring on board.
Take a minute to rethink that. Even if you have less people to market to, they will be more likely to get on board once you pitch your offer to them.
5. Entrepreneurship Isn’t Easy and It’s Not for Everyone
Take a minute to process this.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Unlike a corporate job where you’re a cog in a wheel, being a #girlboss means you’ll need to wear many, many hats every day. So if you’re one for falling into line with KPIs that someone else sets for you, maybe running a business isn’t for you (and that’s okay).
But if you like getting your hands dirty and revel in your ideas coming to life and adding value to your customers in spite of the grind, welcome to entrepreneurship, ma chérie.
It gets easier when you latch on to the learning curve, but you need to be open to learning and investing in yourself. So go on – take some courses and learn new skills, or hone some existing ones. But most importantly, warm yourself up to the idea of building your comfort zone outside your comfort zone. It’s worth the climb.
6. It Can Be Lonely When You’re Building a Business on Your Own
Before you build your awesome team, you’ll be frequently holding staff meetings in your head. And some times, this can take you down a rabbit hole you’d much rather avoid. (Trust me, this will lead to a whole lot of unproductive days and way too much second guessing if you don’t pull back in time.)
My advice? Show up at networking events and engage with a community who will cheer you on.
Need suggestions on what works and what doesn’t? Approach a coach or a mentor who’s willing to be the wind beneath your wings till you learn to fly straight.
Find yourself faltering with your personal KPIs? Connect with an accountability partner.
Real talk? There’s a long way to go before you sip those mimosas on the beach and watch all the $$$ roll in. Yes, it’s hard, but not impossible.
- Listen to your customers and create a product or service that focuses on solving actual problems. (This way you organically reduce the need to hard sell to your target market. No one likes outrageously salesy brands.)
- Learn to pull the plug on products or processes that aren’t working.
- Sell yourself on the idea of smart work rather than hard work.
- Don’t forget to invest in yourself. Learn some new skills, approach a mentor, or get an accountability partner to keep you on track.
Ready to slay? Let’s talk!
About the Author
Savitha Nanjappa is an image-expert, success coach, entrepreneur, ex-corporate career woman, wife, mom and feminist dedicated to helping women succeed.