I haven’t written them in any particular order so if you want to go straight to a particular step then you can jump ahead using the table below.
Learning From Business Mistakes
Sometimes you need to fail if you are going to be successful in business! You might think that what I have just written sounds a little odd. After all how can a failure become a success? Well I believe that it can!
Suppose you are thinking of an idea for your business. Having an idea that is not very good is in fact something very helpful for your business success. The best way to learn anything is to try something, see what happens and then figure out what went wrong and how you can improve it.
Let’s suppose you have an idea for a business and you go ahead with it and it works brilliantly. You manage to attract lots of customers, you make plenty of sales and business is booming. You might be tempted to start another business and if you go ahead and do exactly as you have done before how do you know that it will work this time?
Well you might say it worked last time so it will work this time! However if it worked before because you got lucky you can’t really guarantee your success based on luck.
What do you think is better?
To have a business that is not going as well as you wanted it to so you dissect it, you take it apart and you look at every single aspect until you find the area that you know you can improve. You then spend time improving that and you get it to be as effective as you can.
You then take a look at your business again and you find another area that you believe you can improve on. So again you take it apart, you have a look and test it and you try out different things until you are able to optimise that particular area of your business.
Who do you think has learnt the most? The person who was lucky and successful the very first time or the person who has gone and tested, improved, and found a way to make all aspects of their business the best they can be?
Therefore having lots of ideas for your business is actually beneficial because it enables you to learn how to really improve and optimise your success. It has been said that failure is actually an opportunity and I believe that is true.
Why You Need A Plan Of Action
If you don’t know what you’re aiming for then how are you going to achieve an unknown?
I believe one of the best ways of coming up with a plan of action is to look at your business as a whole. If you know your overall business plan and you know how everything fits together, then you will be able to break things down so that you have a plan that you can execute.
Let’s take Internet marketing as an example. If you are wanting to market your business on the Internet then you need to understand Internet marketing. So in this case your goal would be to market your business effectively on the Internet. You need to have a clear picture of what that means and the various aspects of it.
Here are some things you would need to consider:
- who is my customer?
- where is my customer online
- how can I target my customer
- how will I generate traffic
- how will I communicate with my customers
- how will I set up payments online.
You can see that there are many aspects involved in marketing any business using the Internet. I have only written a few examples above but there are plenty more things that you need to think about.
Until you have a clear picture of the overall process of your business you will not be able to break it down enough for you to take action.
If you think about it every little action you take is like a step closer to your ultimate goal. If you don’t know what that ultimate goal is and how will you know the little steps that you need to take to reach it?
When you are able to see your business overall and you can see where you are now and where you want to be, you will be able to backtrack and identify all of the steps that need to be taken in order to get to where you want to be.
This is what I recommend. Look at specific areas of your business and what you want to achieve, what your goal are in that area. Then write down all the steps you need to take to achieve that goal in that specific area. Once you have done this for all areas of your business then you can begin to put things in a particular order.
For example, which area or aspect of your business would you need to work on first? When you have completed that particular area what part of your business would you need to work on second? You will find that there are many areas of your business that actually overlap and therefore you will have to work on them simultaneously. However if you have a plan of action in place for each specific area it becomes far easier for you to take that action and for you to see the progress that you want to see.
Why You Need To Evaluate Your Plan Regularly
You need to evaluate your business plan or your action plan regularly so that you see the kind of business success that you desire. You see, no business remains static there are always changes that occur and unless you keep up-to-date with those changes your business cannot maintain its success.
When you first start out in business you will write some kind of plan or action plan of the things that you need to do in order to achieve various goals. It can take a long time to come up with your plan and I think it is for this reason that many people once they have a plan in place never go back to it. This is a huge mistake.
If you have an online business then it becomes even more important for you to regularly evaluate your plan. Things on the Internet move far more quickly than things off-line. You only need to look at the search engine results for example, to understand that things do not remain the same. Things change and you need to keep up with the changes.
I would recommend that you evaluate your plan at least once every six months. Sit down and have a look at your original plan and see if there are any areas that you need to change. Here are some of the questions you could ask yourself:
- what areas are working well
- which areas need improving
- is my customer still the same
- in what way has my customers needs changed
- in what ways has marketing changed
- do I need to change my products
- do I need to change my target customer
- do I need a different traffic source
By going through and asking yourself these kinds of questions you can begin to pinpoint areas of your plan that need improving. Sometimes it might be obvious of a specific change in your business that you need to re-evaluate. Those are the easy ones. However there may be more subtle changes that need to be implemented that could improve your overall conversions that you might not notice unless you spend time going through and asking yourself these pertinent questions.
I believe that one of the main things that separates a truly successful business from one that is only slightly successful is the process of evaluating and re-evaluating your results. When you see a change you have to make that decision to do something in your business to keep up with that change so that you are continually working at an optimal level.
Sometimes a change can be difficult. It might mean that you need to learn something new or it might mean that you have to change your process and anything like that takes time to implement and can be difficult to actually do. You might make many excuses as to why it’s not worth your while making such a big change but in the long term if you don’t make the necessary adjustments your business success will begin to suffer.
Make sure that in your own business you decide to evaluate your plan regularly and take action and implement the changes that you need to.
Why You Need To Research Your Ideas
If you are coming up with a business plan or a new product for your business you need to make sure that you do your research first to ensure that your idea has the best chance of success.
One of the mistakes that people make is to think that an idea they have for their business or a product idea for example, is a really good idea and because you think it’s a good idea so will everyone else. You might even believe that your idea is unique and no one else out there has thought of it.
I was watching a programme on the TV the other day where someone had invented a particular tool that could be used in medicine and they were convinced that no one else had ever thought of it let alone designed it. It then turned out that this particular tool was already in the market. Basically they had not done their research!
When you have a new idea you need to make sure that your particular idea is going to work. Here are some of the things you need to think about when you have a new idea:
- does it already exists and if so has my idea got a unique angle
- is this something that will sell
- is there a demand for this
- would people be willing to pay for this
- how much competition do I have
- how big is the market for this
Having a good idea is one thing but if there is no one who would pay money for your idea whether it be a product or a service, then it is not possible for that idea to be a business success.
You need to ensure that there is already a market for it and that there are already buyers for it. If you are providing a service or information then it doesn’t matter if there are already other people providing it because it is easy to offer a service or information in a different way that will appeal to specific people.
However if it is a physical product you really do need to make sure that it does not already exist. If there already is a physical product the same as your particular idea you need to know this because you need to make sure that the demand is so high that another product that is the same or at least does the same thing but looks slightly different will sell.
Let me give you an example, everybody buys pens to write with and there are plenty of different styles and types of pens out there because there is a demand for variety. However if I go back to the earlier example, a tool to be used in a hospital that does a specific job, that is not going to have a huge demand for variety!
Whatever happens, for something to be a business success there must be demand and there must be buyers.
Why You Need To Know Your Customer
If you don’t have a clear picture of your customer then you will not know how to target them.
I was reading something the other day and it was suggested that you actually draw a picture of your ideal customer! For example, how tall are they, do they wear glasses, are they confident, are they physically fit, do they have particular ailments, what is their favourite colour, what type of language do they use, etc.
The idea was that if you have a clear picture of your customer in your mind then when you produce your products and when you write your sales pages and your web pages, you will know exactly the type of thing that your customer will like.
I was quite surprised at the detail that was recommended that you go into. I have never thought about what favourite colour my customer might have and I’m not sure it would be relevant to my business providing information. However, when you think about it you can see that there might actually be something important that we could all be missing.
If we take my business as an example and that is providing information, then if I were providing information to very artistic people I would need to design my web page accordingly to appeal to the artistic type. That might mean lots of bright vivid colours for example or it might mean the opposite it might mean my website design should be black depending on the type of artistic customer I am targeting.
If you are providing health information then perhaps you should focus on the colour green because green is associated with good health.
When you think of it like this you can begin to see that if you have a clear picture in your mind of your customer and their likes and the things that will appeal to them you can gear all of your marketing towards that specific customer.
One of the things that I like about picturing a customer is that I have a picture of a real person in mind and for me that is critical and makes a huge difference. When you picture a real person and individual, it enables you to understand more about any underlying emotions they might have, their desires, or the things that perhaps make them feel vulnerable about. This enables you to write a sales letter for example, in a more humane way that will relate far better to your target customer.
Which in turn will lead to more sales.
- Print out this post and go through each of the sections and answer the questions I have written.
- Keep a journal of what you do in your business and a few months later see what worked and what didn’t.
- Do more of what works!
- Keep your plan updated and don’t be afraid of making changes.
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