STOP What You Are Doing!
We are in survival mode! The circumstances that face us now can lead to desperation. We have a strong desire to enter new endeavours that align with our moral compass and the laws in the country by which we are governed. We have a responsibility to practice our trade in a fair and accountable manner. Your potential customers and clients are dependent upon you to deliver quality service and products. Our business landscape has changed dramatically, and our discerning customers want more from you. Your effort today, must not be substandard, but rather your effort must push the bar for yourself and your competitors.
We have seen new professionals entering the market of different industries, and while we do admit that businesses and entrepreneurs must start somewhere, it is evident that these professionals have not taken the necessary steps to kickstart their business in the right direction. We often overlook the simple steps and pay added attention to the bells and whistles of entrepreneurship. We must remember the phrase ‘KISS’ which means ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’. We tend to overcomplicate as opposed to maintaining simplicity for others to understand.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss what you need to stop doing when you have decided to enter a new market or business. If you are aiming to create an additional stream of income, there are certain steps that you must take to guarantee success. You cannot afford to make a loss during this time of uncertainty. With any business venture there are risks, however, taking risks now for small businesses and big conglomerates are now heavily scrutinized. Diversifying is important, but how you diversify demands in-depth attention.
If you are venturing into a new product or service you must do your research. Is your industry moderated by an organization? Is it oversaturated or specialized? What legal requirements must I attain before I commence my business. Do I have to pay taxes? What type of marketing should I execute to attain a competitive advantage? What skills do I have to achieve customer satisfaction? Is my business a need or a want in society? Is there a demand for the products and/or services I offer?
These are just some of the questions that you need to ask yourself before you launch your new endeavour. It is often overlooked and we see businesses on the surface level. The end product always seems easy to accomplish, as you, in the past as a naive consumer, automatically thought that you can do a better job. However, what you lack is insight. You as the consumer would have no clue what effort was placed into producing a product and/ or service that has the power to satisfy a consumer’s need or want.
Research is important as there may be a more efficient, more flexible or more cost-effective method of achieving the same goal. It may not be the process used in your country, but maybe you can be the entrepreneur that brings it the forefront for consumers to try. In saturated markets, research takes precedence. If you have not discovered your competitive advantage, in-depth research can help you get there. In can encompass testing your product and/or service with a group of people so that you can receive critical feedback to understand weaknesses and opportunities to improve. It can also involve traditional research to discover what studies or practices have proven successful in similar markets abroad. The power of research must not be underestimated. As your market evolves, you must evolve with it. It is not a singular event, but rather a process by which you keep up to date on the latest tactics that can help your business flourish.
The most valuable resource to any business is networking. Who is my audience and how can I connect with them? We often assume that when we create a product or service, once there is a reasonable price attached our customers will come to us. In reality, we must get to them. We use creative tactics to convince the consumer that we are the better option. If we do not have a clue about how to reach or attract them, then your business model is set up for failure.
Networking is key in today’s world. It is the relationships that we build today, will ensure our success for the future. In challenging and unpredictable periods, such as the pandemic the world is experiencing, strong relationships of the past continue to provide fruit in the present. Once we have established a relationship of trust, honesty, integrity and understanding with our suppliers, clients and customers; there is no need to worry intensely about the future. You have already made meaningful connections and can surpass the circumstances we experience today.
Businesses that have not fostered a positive relationship with their network, will be the first to feel the brunt of the pandemic. We have been told that the closure of businesses is a direct result of decreased sales. However, do not be fooled! These existing businesses do have access to financial resources, and while it is declared impossible to survive, the majority of the issues are related to a lack of positive relationships within their network. If your customers can easily rate their satisfaction with your business as 100%, they will easily engage you regardless of the circumstances. Networking and fostering positive connections are of paramount importance.
Tools for Use
A good practitioner is only as good as the tools that they use. A mechanic, a plumber, a graphic designer, a videographer…. They all have tools that they must master to become good at their craft. If you are launching a service, you need to consider these tools and understand how they are used properly. Will you be using the best tools in the industry or will you be using a sub-standard product that may not produce the best results?
A graphic designer is not one that uses free web ware online. We have found that some may use free graphic design software and sell it to consumers as the best quality. This is not true! Free graphic software has made some advancements and is much easier to use for the average professional. If you must sell this service, you should make a declaration that you are using a particular app that is below industry standard and price your service accordingly. You must be clear, transparent and accountable.
We can also make a comparison to videographers and photographers. You may have access to the best equipment, but it may not necessarily make you a great storyteller, director or content creator. Consumers are often fooled by the quality of work placed in the digital space and pay less attention to the composition of what is produced. As a professional entering these industries, you must hold yourself accountable. Offer your customers and clients the best service by gaining the required experience and absorbing every ounce of knowledge within your industry.
We often assume that we know what we are doing. We have done the required research. We have read all the research papers and the most recent news clippings that you could get your hands on. However, there is one critical ingredient that you should not forget. You need to seek the advice of those who have been involved in the industry. We encourage research as much as possible, however in the real-world environment, what exists in theory, might not work well in a practical situation. Theoretically, what is printed in black and white should work. This is based on certain conditions, and may not match up to what the current circumstances are. Industry experts can give you the insight that you need.
It is an intimidating step. We agree, there are many experts in different fields that do not choose to share insightful information. This says more about their character than it does about your honest attempt to make a difference in an existing industry. Some experts are willing to share with you! Your circumstances might be different and you may be able to accomplish much more than your counterparts. Seek industry advice from those who are passionate about what they do. Do not approach those that are motivated by money. You want to approach the professionals who have a vested interest in changing the opinion, visibility and perception of their industry. Seek out the thought leaders who can give you valuable insight to adjust the method of your approach.
You must come to understand that the market changes. A clear example is the situation that the world faces with a pandemic that does not want to subside. Nations around the globe are increasing their mitigation measures to cease the spread of COVID-19. One country may be doing much better than others, but once the virus exists without a vaccine, the risk will always be there. It is a disruptive force that has affected tourism, transportation, movement of goods and services as well as livelihoods of several individuals. The financial resources available have been diminished and making a brave step into the world of business requires insight to ensure your success.
Investing in your businesses is key to its success. To maximize on this success, it is wise that you evaluate the position of your competitors in the market. Many of us who may have had an introduction to business at school, may be familiar with the SWOT analysis or Porter’s Five Forces; two frameworks that can help you assess your business against the competition and the position of your competitors in the market. It’s an ideal place to start. Do not let these frameworks scare you.
They are not difficult to put together. These act as visual frameworks that help you see what you are up against. They do not have to be complicated and can take the form of a bulleted list. You may have a general idea of your position in the market, but it is always wise to visualize your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities and the potential threats that you may face. This makes you prepared for what may lie ahead. You can be as descriptive as possible.
Conducting a competitor’s evaluation places you in a unique position. Once you have completed this, you can now take a look at how you will treat each of the bullet points on your matrix. You can pay extra attention to your weakness, opportunities and threats. You can decide what tactful ways you can treat with these to improve your business model. It may seem a bit elementary, but sometimes reverting to the basics, can help strengthen your thought process.
If you have entered into an industry blindly, we ask that you take the mandatory steps to understand what you are doing and how you are doing it. Do your research, consult with others, understand your tools and evaluate your competitors. You need this information to prosper. Do not have knee jerk reactions to opportunities, but rather take the time to understand what you are getting yourself into. You need to have access to the best, the bright and the bold to guarantee the success you need. Let us not take the industries in the market for granted and disrespect professional roles by skimming the surface. Let us challenge ourselves to dive deep and comprehend new methods of thinking, original concepts and differential opinions. Formulate a robust plan and take your next idea to an unprecedented level that takes you by surprise every single day.
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