Nothing beats the enthusiasm of the entrepreneur when they first start their business. Over the past few months, I have been blessed to meet people, young and old that have recently started their businesses. You can almost spot them a mile away. The laser sharp eye contact, the fluidity of the pitch, dare I say, the “swaggar”. There is something magical about their child-like optimism and the “if you create it, they will flock” mentality.
For many, this energy is sufficient to ignite everyone they meet and to propel their start-up to success. But for some, other circumstances make a forcasted rise to success difficult.
I was at a networking event in Burlington recently and had a chance to discuss the challenges of start-ups with some of the attendees. One point that struck me that came up over and over was that the message or advertisement, no matter how well crafted, disintegrates into white noise quickly after being deployed. Furthermore, if you don’t keep shouting the same message over and over, louder than all of the others that are shouting at the same market, your message is lost and your results are lackluster at best.
So, I have come up with some suggestions on how to increase your chances of success for your business. Most of the ideas are focused on widening your warm market.
1. Move your online social strategy to the front burner. Many businesses do not use available social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn to gain maximum benefit. A client of mine told me at the beginning of January that 80 percent of his new business comes from either LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.
2. Be friends with your friends. We all have them, the friends that contact us when they need something or are selling something. Part of your social strategy should be to deliberately carve out time in your month to spend with friends. Recently, I started a guys cook off every other Sunday. It has now grown to include wives and partners, but originally, the guys would meet at my place and bring all the ingredients for their favorite dish, or experimental dishes and we would spend the entire afternoon cooking and sharing a drink. At 5:30 we would all sit at the table and have a wonderful feast. Many times we sit and chat till after 9pm. My friends are often now the first to support me if I need support and I am eager to assist them as often as needed.
3. Its time to Meetup. I am surprised to hear people still unaware of the Meetups in their area. It doesn’t matter what your business is. We all have hobbies. Visit www.meetup.com, create an account and join meetups in your area that appeal to you. For instance, a friend of mine loves photography although she admits she is not good at it. But she joined a photography Meetup in Calgary and enjoys the time she gets to apply to her hobby, but also appreciates the ease in which she is meeting new people who are interested in what she does for a living. For me, I joined three business networking meetups; two in in Brantford and the Business In Burlington Meetup. I also joined a Vegetarian/Vegan meetup and an active social group Meetup. The caution is that these meetups are NOT for you to use as a business pitch session, it IS to meet new people and widen your warm market. Balance your day-to-day business conversation with non-business social interactions. The results will surprise you.
4. Exercise your body. Starting and operating a business is mentally challenging. To have balance in your life, you must also challenge your body. I am not talking about a daily walk around the neighborhood, or the hours you spend on the golf course, although these too are good to do often. I suggest that you commit to a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day. This exercise should make you sweat and you should be sweating for at least 30 minutes daily. So 30 sweaty minutes on the treadmill, or bike, or weights. Just 30 minutes or 150 minutes a week. Guaranteed, in 2 weeks, you will feel great, and more focused. I always remind entrepreneurs that more than their product or service, they are the most important element in their success. Therefore dedicate time for mind, body and spirit growth and strengthening.
5. Lastly, always be learning. Specifically, always be learning about business. Sign up for business or marketing newsletters. Read them daily. Grow in your understanding of how business works, new social marketing strategies and options, marketing. Here are a few suggestions for your reading pleasure:
- Social Media Today – This can be found at http://socialmediatoday.com. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter
- EMarketer – This is full of interesting current marketing news and facts including reports and demographic info. https://www.emarketer.com/Newsletter
- Inc.com Small Business Success Newsletter. Nuff said. http://www.inc.com/newsletter
I hope you find this helpful. Please send me your feedback to the contact email on this website.