When people speak of entrepreneurship, it is usually within the context of glamor and luxury. They speak of a life of ease where money is in abundance and freedom reigns supreme.
But the brutal truth is, being an entrepreneur is a job that comes with many growing pains. In fact, a sizeable percentage of businesses fail within the first 10 years of operation.
What are the successful few doing differently than the rest?
Are they more gifted? Do they work harder? Do they have better tools and resources?
The answer is no.
Entrepreneurship isn’t a matter of having every premium tool at your fingertips. It is about being resourceful with what you do have.
It’s less about being particularly talented and more about having the tenacity to see the vision through.
If you find yourself on the side of the failing majority, I know that your willpower to continue may have depleted over the course of your entrepreneurial journey.
But there’s a way to turn your circumstances around.
Narrow Your Focus
Many entrepreneurs fall short of their business goals because they seek to serve everybody.
It is important to figure out who your ideal customer is and focus on serving their particular needs.
So, how do you carefully select your prospective customer base?
Find Your Niche Market
A niche market, in essence, is a subset of a larger market. For example, if your larger market is women, you may choose to place a microscopic focus on women who are interested in fitness.
After you have defined your ideal consumer persona, you can now align your product or service to serve their specific needs.
Now, there’s this misconception that a narrower market equates to less profit.
This couldn’t be further from reality. Here’s what a narrow niche can do to propel your business:
- It lowers your marketing expenses because you’re only targeting a selected group.
- You will be better able to communicate with your customers in a way that delivers maximum impact.
- Niche marketing is ideal for securing the type of customers that become brand advocates. You know that customer that swears by your product and recommends it to everyone? That’s who you want to attract and convert.
Narrowing your focus is not only applicable to your customer base but in the way that you operate as a business owner.
You have a limited amount of time and energy each day and you need to carefully select the activities that you choose to expend your energy on.
In other words, you can’t be a yes-man or yes-woman.
You need to say no to the tasks that aren’t a good use of your time and talents. The reality is, time that you’re spending on one thing is time that you’re not spending on what may be more critical to the growth of your business.
So, now that you’ve created laser sharp focus and narrowed in on your niche, what is the next progressive move to getting your business out of its rut?
Here are three cardinal truths about having a successful business that you need to consider in order to make your next move:
Truth #1: There’s no such thing as a solo entrepreneur.
If you were to ask every successful entrepreneur how they did it, they would all tell you one thing – they didn’t do it alone.
No business can survive without a robust and diverse network. You need to actively work to nurture relationships that are symbiotic and strong enough to last for the long term.
In your networking efforts, remember that:
- You should not limit your professional relationships to people who are directly connected to your industry. The one bit of wisdom or the one referral that may change your footing can come from anyone.
- Networking is not a matter of giving your best sales pitch. It is about building a relationship that is mutually beneficial. And guess what? Sometimes the people who you meet may not be able to serve an immediate need. Connect with them anyway because as you move along the life cycle of your business, your needs will evolve.
Truth #2: Seller’s Guilt is a Silent Assassin. Kill it before it kills your business.
When I first jumped headfirst into entrepreneurship, I noticed something that I hadn’t picked up on before.
Money is a taboo topic for the majority of people.
Turns out, we love money but we don’t like talking about it or dealing with it.
But hear this.
When you’re operating in a spirit of entrepreneurship that is customer-centric and value-based, everybody wins.
Your customers don’t lose anything by spending on your product or services.
As a customer, when your pain points are relieved and your problems solved, do you see it as a loss?
I bet you don’t.
So, stop feeling guilty about putting a fair price on your time and talents.
You are worthy.
Truth #3: Operating from a place of scarcity is the surest way to self-sabotage your business.
If you have an opportunity to buy a $600 course today that will help you earn $60 000 in the long term, would you buy it?
Most people wouldn’t.
We all know that one miserly person that refuses to pay the bus fair that will save them a two hours walk.
This is no problem if you’re concerned about your fitness, but this mindset has no place in entrepreneurship.
Investment is an indispensable part of business. It can simply be a matter of purchasing a book for your education or it can be outsourcing a task that will save you several hours a week.
Invest wisely but invest.
The way forward …
Do you know what’s coming for your business? Can you confidently talk for hours about your industry to someone who doesn’t have a clue? Have you studied people who’ve walked your path?
If your answer is yes to the above questions – you’re right on track to being ahead of the curve.
Successful entrepreneurs are chess players.
They recognize that in a world governed by technology that they need to be right at the heel of what’s yet to come.
They know that they don’t need every tool in the entrepreneurial toolkit, but having the right people and the right resources is what makes the difference.
And most importantly?
They know that the hurdles and financial dry spells are part of the life that they chose. What matters is being courageous and persistent enough to stay in the game.
What struggles are you currently facing in your entrepreneurial journey? Let’s discuss in the comments.