Last week I revealed obstacles 1 and 2. I hope that helped you get started with thinking about your mindset and just how powerful it is when it comes to accomplishing what you want or jumping over hurdles that get in your way. This week, we’ll look at obstacles 3 through 5 as we continue on our journey of learning.
3. The Obstacle: Focusing on you
Granted, this is your business and it’s what you want to do to earn a living. The pitfall for many business owners is making the product/service about them rather than about the client. Remember, your business product/service, needs to benefit your customer…it needs to solve a problem, fill a need and/or make them feel better.
The Solution: Focusing on the client
The key is to clearly define your target market and be intimately familiar with their pain, needs, and wants. Investing in market research doesn’t’ require $$, the investment is often your time. Ask questions, listen, and objectively evaluate how your product or service will positively impact your clients. One last tip – make market research a cornerstone of your business. The needs, wants, and desires of your clients change so stay ahead of the curve so you aren’t overrun. Client retention is about making the client the focus of your attention.
4. The Obstacle: Anybody can run a business
If that were true, then why isn’t everyone a business owner? There is a great deal below the surface of launching, managing, and growing a business. Underestimating what’s involved is the Achilles heel for many business owners.
The Solution: Learn from the experts how to run a business
Be prepared, be committed, and be ready to engage in ongoing learning about running a business. Maneuvering this minefield without a map can blow up in your face. Don’t set your business up to be destroyed. There are free classes and resources available from SCORE, free and low cost classes in most community colleges, and literally hundreds of books available on the subject.
5. The Obstacle: Unrealistic financial expectations
This obstacle can manifest in one of two areas: underestimating your financial living requirements, and underestimating the cost of doing business or overestimating profits. Any of the above spell disaster. Debt, bankruptcy and the related fallout is not where you want to be.
The Solution: Understanding your $$ needs
Be very clear on what your living requirements are through budgeting and tracking. If possible, look at the past two years of spending. Identify the fixed costs, the variables, and areas where you may be able to cut back. Living within your means without giving up living, is the key. Use a budget for your business as well by making realistic projections. Monitor this carefully – know your numbers or your numbers will say ‘no’ to you!
You are well on your way to achieving success and overcoming obstacles in your life. Next week we’ll examine obstacles 6 and 7. Be sure to check back for the conclusion of this series.