My partner and I started our web design company with two Mac laptops, a burning drive and passion for connecting people to the Web, and our personal address books.
We were determined to focus on our core skills, which were converting ideas, needs, and processes into fully-functioning websites.
We wanted to support minority-owned, woman-owned, green, progressive, organic, holistic, sustainable people.
We wanted to focus on what we did best, and find other people to help us with the rest. As the company has grown, we’ve learned more, so here are some of the steps you can keep in mind as you build your own business.
10. Meet someone new every single day.
Out of our connections, we found the people to help us create new projects, meet more potential allies, and build up a strong referral base, which continues now into our 5th year of business. We did a lot of in-person networking and now we’ve expanded our online networking.
9. Build a team of partners.
You want the people on your team to share your same standards of quality, professionalism, integrity, and communication, because your customers’ interaction with your associates reflects on how they perceive you and your company.
8. Trust is key to building your business.
When you connect, meet, and engage with others, make sure to come forward from an inner place of trust. Find individuals who have similar areas of expertise to yours and build up trust and shared connections to make your interpersonal business relationships valuable to your mutual customers.
Who do you want to know who works in a field similar to yours but not overlapping? Schedule an appointment to meet them!
7. Join the BNI or Chamber in your area.
If your services and products are locally based, become a part of a focused, committed group of business professionals in your local area. If you’re just starting out, I encourage you to join your local chapter of Business Networking International (BNI) and to attend chamber of commerce events, networking events, and niche events in your specialty. For example, we support green businesses and network with people from other sustainable, socially-responsibly, and green-certified companies.
6. Define your clientele.
Focus with laser-like efficiency on your target audience and the people who will help you find those target clients. It did us no good to say we would do “any kind” of website work.
It is better for you to say you only do a certain kind of business.
“I specialize in X, Y, and Z.”
“I strictly work with N types of businesses.”
“I work with companies in this region: A, B, and C.”
When you become a “niche” resource, you better explain what you do and you easily find customers who need your particular services.
5. Focus on your positives.
It’s tough work to start and grow your business! Celebrate any and every success, think about why you’re in business in the first place (I schedule time every Monday to be grateful), and reflect on your personal “bests”.
4. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
I don’t recommend launching a new business (or any endeavor) if you truly don’t think it will work out. If you are less than 150% committed, your results will be less than stellar — save your peace of mind by seeking a job with a company or a person you like, respect, and want to support.
3. Surround yourself with people better than you.
It’s true: if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. You can always learn from someone else, and you are always learning as you go. Actively seek out others who are more successful, more effective, and more interesting so you can continue to raise the bar for your personal standard of achievement.
2. Do what you love.
One of my favorite quotes is “Work is love made visible” by Kahlil Gibran. If you find yourself dragging your feet every day, then change your pathway. Do what you truly enjoy and what you really feel, in your heart, is your purpose in life.
1. Fear not.
You are a light to the world. Don’t hide your light “under a bushel basket”. Walk with strength, courage, and grace, and when you feel the fear, embrace it so it has no power over you. I’m consistently checking when fear leads my emotions and now I am afraid less of the time.
We’re not here on the planet to be afraid. We’re here to build bridges of understanding, to learn about each other, to connect and to communicate, to make the world a better place, and to improve the our own lives and the lives of others.
One major piece of advice I have for you to is to be bold, try something different, and reach for more than you currently grasp. Mistakes are a natural part of learning — the more mistakes you make the easier it will be for you to understand the right solution.
The more mistakes you make the more I believe that you are actively trying to make things better in your business.
I look forward to hearing your own steps. Share them with me on Twitter.com/monicadear
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