I have been asked this question on more than one occasion. How did you do it? This blog is based on my own experience with Winning Pitch. Well this is my advice to anyone who wants to set up in business and build something of significance:
Have the ambition to change the industry or sector you operate in. A business set up because of a desire to change the status quo creates energy more powerful than you can imagine. The sense of purpose creates clarity and momentum. Be clear on your crusade.
Think big from day one. You need to have a massive dream and more importantly you must have the courage to believe you can achieve what you set out to accomplish. Make your intentions clear and write them down – courage and an ability to overcome fear will drive action and build momentum.
Develop a unique way of doing what you do. Make the delivery of your product or service stand out from the crowd; make clear unique aspects of your proposition. This delivers a memorable experience, one that others will acknowledge and communicate. Think – IP, brands and knowledge, these drive value.
If you are the founder, build a strong personal profile, however as your company grows provide a platform for other key members of staff to develop their own brand. No one on their own can build a great business – team is vital.
High profile customers provide a reference point for others to buy from you. Evidencing the impact you have delivered for existing clients will help to win more.
Hang out with like-minded partners and build alliances with others who add value to your proposition. Collaboration is an essential ingredient to success; always work on a win-win basis
Have a voice in the marketplace and become a thought leader in your industry. Have a view, have a voice and let the world know what you are passionate about, this will resonate with those you need to influence.
Have a mentor or coach – someone who you respect. This is a person(s) you can pick up the phone to and ask – what do you think about……..? Can I ask your advice on? They will give you an honest view.
Chose your advisers very carefully, trusted advisers are few and far between. Many of them are fee chasers and I have had so much bad advice from so called professional advisers. (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, YOU COST ME, MY COLLEAGUES AND FAMILY LOADS OF MONEY!)
Use controlled experiments as a way of testing new ideas, products and services. If they fail, fail fast and move on, but do this in such a way that you don’t empty the till.
Manage your business as a shopkeeper; keep a keen eye on the cash. Be clear on cash coming in and cash going out. Never, ever lose sight of cash. Profit does not equal cash!
Immerse yourself in the “Customers World”- second-guess what they are looking for. The customer is not always right; they usually are not clear about what they want. You have to be one step ahead.
Be part of a community of other entrepreneurs – you will learn so much, far more than blogs like this one, books or training courses.
My thoughts only !