Let me tell you about a couple of the mistakes small business owners often make when they’re starting out (that way you can avoid them!).
First big mistake: being so focused on setting up their business that they haven’t got a plan for afterwards.
Ask them where they’re going or what their goals are and they really can’t tell you.
‘I’ll see how it goes’, ‘I’m starting small and will grow organically’ or I’m going to get a sales expert in’ are all phrases I’ve heard.
Now that makes me worry as I always wonder how anyone expects to build a business when they don’t have any direction.
So whether you want to be the biggest business of your type in your town or you’re going to look for a profitable niche market, do one thing: DECIDE WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.
Without focus, all your marketing is wasted – if you’re looking for a particular sector as customers for example, don’t just go to the first networking group you find as they’re unlikely to be there. While you’re in the golf club talking about your holiday with someone who is great company but has no intention of buying, someone else is on the right track and signing up your potential clients!
Which brings me to the second big mistake: not identifying customers (or doing what it takes to secure them)
Once you’re in business, you need to know how many customers you need – can you make ends meet with 25 given your pricing/service or do you need higher numbers? Knowing your numbers is crucial!
More than that – you need to know who your perfect customer is – have a customer avatar in mind and work hard to secure them.
There’s that well known phrase that ‘people do business with people’ and it’s true – it’s likely to be you that sells your business to potential customers with your efforts and paying attention to their needs and positioning yourself, rather than your ‘company’ that attracts them.
Sarah’s Tip: if a customer looks like a long term repeat customer, there’s no harm in spending a bit more time or money to win them – always look at the potential return on any investment of time or money you make!
If the idea of working for yourself and running your own Virtual Assistant business sounds like something that might be for you, then find out more by heading over to http://myvabusiness.co.uk