The Most Important Tip for New Business Startups

The Most Important Tip for New Business Startups

One of the newsletters I subscribe to and always make a point of reading is Michael Masterson‘s “Ready, Fire, Aim” dispatch.   It’s smart, engaging and no-nonsense insight into how Michael thinks and looks at business, and is a fast, easy read.

For example, today he mentioned the basics of starting a business that new entrepreneurs should be focused on:

  • Know the top-selling products in your industry.
  • Know what marketing methods the most successful companies use.
  • Understand what your optimal selling strategy is.
  • Know what the best offers are for the market you have targeted.
  • Understand what a house file is and how to build it.
  • Know why you shouldn’t use brand marketing when starting out.
  • Have a very good idea of which marketing channel will work best.
  • Be prepared to spend 80 percent of your time, money, and efforts to make your first profitable sales.

This really resonates with me.  Lately, I’ve been emphasizing to many of my clients how important it is to focus on understanding the market, knowing your customers’ deepest needs and desires, and using your competition as an ultimate resource to (a) prove there is a market, (b) identify the features and benefits customers value; and (c) how you might position your own products and services in the market to fulfill an unmet need.

It’s a tough sell.

Usually clients want to go straight to tactical questions.  “Yeah, but how do I get my website up” or “How do I create an ebook” and so on.

I get that.   Having a site online, or an optin page ready to collect email addresses gives the feeling of progress.  We can DO something, and after a while, we can SEE something.

Strategy and research don’t give us that same visceral feeling of success.  It’s mundane, laborious, work with no tangible results.

The challenge is that without the clarity that market research provides, your beautiful website and product graphics and world-leading content may not be relevant in the market to which you promote.  Think of it like trying to sell a hamburger to vegetarians.  Great product, wrong market.

So I urge you now: slow down on the implementation just long enough so you get real clear that all your time, money and effort will produce a product or service that has the greatest chance of success.  Take a month to understand your market fully, and save yourself from losing money over years of frustration.

And please take special note of the final bullet: “Be prepared to spend 80 percent of your time, money, and efforts to make your first profitable sales”.

My heart breaks to watch so many well-intended entrepreneurs invest in professional development, continuing education, a myriad of $97 products that end up on the shelf, or trying each new marketing tactic that some guru or another made a million dollars on last month.

In no time, they are tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars in debt trying to get the business off the ground – with no income to offset these expenses.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a BIG fan of continuing education and development.  But at the start of a new business – especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur – cash is king.  All those advanced strategies and indirect marketing techniques can come later, when you have the business assets (cash, large list, industry relationships, experience, etc) that will make them work.

If you’re just starting out, or if you’ve been at it for a while and not seeing income, consider the following:

  • Don’t spend anymore money on anything that doesn’t directly produce sales – unless it comes from the PROFITS you generate from those sales.
  • Budget your expenses and know where you apply your funds, what results you expect, and by when.  Don’t talk yourself into going over budget because what you’re buying has a fuzzy, indirect or unmeasurable impact on generating more sales.
  • Become familiar with the lowest cost, or free, marketing strategies and use them first.
  • Focus most of your early time, energy and money on creating products and services, and promoting those products and services.  Everything else is secondary until you are sustainably, predictably, profitable.
  • Focus on direct-response marketing.
  • Adopt the paradigm that “everything is a test”.  Don’t get down about things that don’t work out as planned.  It’s not about you – it’s just more market data that you can use.  Review the results, then quickly correct and continue on course until you get the results you expect.

You know enough, and you are enough to get started now.  Act quickly, but wisely.

To your fulfilling success,
Lou

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  1. I'd also add for people starting to be ready for intervals, when things naturally slow down or stop. Have a support system in place, use it regularly, and keep your dreams and goals in front of you.

    • Lou D'Alo says:

      Totally agree, Phillip. It's all about doing everything you can to "hang in there" for as long as it takes to make the business work, and remaining joyful and at ease in the process. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Lou D'Alo says:

    Totally agree, Phillip. It's all about doing everything you can to "hang in there" for as long as it takes to make the business work, and remaining joyful and at ease in the process. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Joel Mark Witt says:

    Lou,

    Thanks so much for this advice. I've been "at" my business ever since Eben's Guru training last July. Several false starts and some confusion later I'm still plugging away at it. Good to read this and the perspective you bring.

    Thanks.

    Joel

  4. Kate C says:

    This is exactly what I needed to "hear" Lou. As my husband said to me last night, self-doubt is the #1 obstacle. I love how you've reined me in from feeling like I should continue to pursue every idea out there and to "invest" in so much of what those "gurus" are selling.

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