One of the biggest mistakes new home-based business owners make is trying to do everything from square one.
You can rest assured that whatever you are attempting to do or build, it has already been done.
Sure, it probably won't be a mirror image of what you're doing, but it will have many of the same basic ingredients.
The fastest and easiest way to get your business going and growing is by finding others who have already done what you want to do and learning and benefiting from their efforts.
A local business person recently told me he was in the process of building an autoresponder. Of course, this wouldn't be a strange thing to be doing if it was a service he plans to sell, but it has nothing to do with his business! Instead of investing a few hours to explore those autoresponders already in existence, he is investing well more than a hundred hours trying to build one on his own so he can communicate with his customers.
By conducting only a couple of hours research, he would have discovered a variety of outstanding, affordable autoresponder services that are highly sophisticated and subject to continual upgrading and improvement to keep up with ever-changing technology and consumer needs.
Imagine the kind of business he could have generated for himself if he focused those one hundred plus hours acquiring new customers for his business and expanding and improving on his products and services!
Unfortunately, like him, many new home business owners are still of the employee mindset -- that they have to work relentlessly and do everything alone. They haven't yet developed the entrepreneurial mindset that understands you have to work smarter, not harder.
Another time-consuming task many new business owners take on is spending hours, even days, trying to design the perfect logo. I'm embarrassed to say I spent DAYS searching the Internet for sample logos, looking for ideas, then sitting and drawing possible logo after logo. Most people have more creative flair in their big toe than I have in my entire body, yet I thought that if I put enough time into it, even though it meant not focusing on increasing business, the perfect logo would reveal itself. I eventually abandoned the obsession and as soon as I handed the project over to my web designer, I had a new, effective and eye-catching logo within 24 hours.
It was a costly mistake. I had spent so many years working in a support capacity that I didn't know how to make the shift to a leader capacity and delegate the task. (Even more important, I later realized, having a logo is waaaay down on the priority scale and doesn't even have to be considered during the start-up period.)
As you are starting your business, consider the following tasks and ask yourself if someone else could be doing them while you focus on building:
- designing brochures and marketing materials
- creating your web site
- setting up your voice mail and e-mail
- purchasing supplies and equipment
- stuffing envelopes and taking them to the post office, or delivering flyers
- market research
- hooking up your new computer, modem, fax and installing software
- troubleshooting computer problems
- writing articles, reports or white papers
These are not revenue generating activities and if you find them challenging or time-consuming, delegate these tasks to someone else like a family member, co-op student or part-time assistant.
For the more specialized items, seek the input of a mastermind member or business colleague on how they handle those responsibilities. Also, hire or barter with experts in marketing, web design and technology.
Another wheel you don't need to re-invent is that of processes, particularly in the area of marketing. Marketing may not be your forte, yet it is the most important element of your business, and this is where many new home business owners bury themselves. The good news is you don't have to develop your marketing process by trial and error.
Commit several days to studying other businesses both in and outside of your industry. How do they promote themselves? How do they collect leads? How do they convert leads? In other words, how do they catch the attention of potential customers, get them to express an interest to learn more, and how do they get them to ultimately pull out their wallets and buy?
The quickest and easiest way to create winning processes is to study already successful businesses, then model what they do. Sign up for their newsletters and request additional information. Let them begin a courtship with you and pay attention to what they're doing. Buy a product or two and see what tools they use to keep inviting you back for more.
This doesn't mean copy them word for word or action by action, but assimilate what works, mould it to your specific business and add the essential ingredient of uniqueness that allows you to stand out from the crowd.
These are just three simple strategies you can start with today to get on the fast-track to home business success.
Again, here they are in a nutshell:
- Uncover what has already been created or invented, then implement or install. Don't reinvent the wheel.
- Think like a business owner, not an employee. Delegate, hire or trade.
- Model the processes of others who have already achieved the level of success you're seeking. They've already made the mistakes for you and know what works.
Incorporate these strategies and you will shave hours and dollars from your start-up curve and begin reaping the rewards faster than you ever thought possible.
Copyright 2007, Laurie Hayes - The HBB Source