The answer to this question has a lot to do with what stage of business development you are in.
During the startup phase, you are wearing a lot of hats from service, sales, accounting, technician, marketing, finance and vision. In the startup phase, your business owns you; and it is during this critical time that your efforts, commitment, skill or luck will determine whether your business will succeed. Twenty-five percent of startup companies fail in the first year, 36 percent by year two and 44 percent in their third year.
So why do many well-intentioned, high-energy, optimistic entrepreneurs fail? Entrepreneurs often suffer from fatigue, bad advisers and the inability to perform the numerous roles required of ownership during the startup phase.
Early in my career, I was blessed with a gift from the CEO of the company I worked for. He handed me “The E Myth” by Michael Gerber. He let me know he was expecting me to read it and let him know what I...
Aspiring entrepreneurs often ask me for my opinion on their creative ideas, and there have been a few instances where I have been very impressed with the ingenuity and originality behind them. Too often is the case, however, when asked the following five questions, aspiring entrepreneurs are not prepared to answer the real rubber-meets-the-road questions about their business model, strategies and their target audience: the customer.
1. Who will be the customers that will use and buy this service or product? It is imperative to know who your target market is, or that a market even exists for your proposed idea. This can be tested through talking initially with trusted friends, family and professional peers, and further tested through market research and focus groups.
2. Who are the competitors of similar services or products? You need to know your competition; otherwise, you will be blindly entering into a business with insufficient knowledge of competitive threats. Your competition will...