How to build your business: from conception to success
Managing your own business and being your own boss offers the opportunity to achieve independence, creative freedom, increased job satisfaction and, potentially, business success. On average, 65% of UK employees wish to start their own business. However, only 89% of businesses will go on to survive their first year of operation.
To evolve a successful pitch from conception to fully-fledged mega-brand requires a well-oiled strategy informed by hard-learned business lessons. Even the most inspired ideas require sound strategic planning and practical, staged operational plans in place in order to survive and thrive.
Provide solutions to problems your existing and future customers struggle with and unmet needs they didn't realise they had
Identifying a gap in the market which offers your customers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with a product or service by experiencing it is an excellent way to launch a product or service onto the market. Not only will your brand be authentically catering to a unique selling point that differentiates your business, but potential customers will identify with your efforts to improve their previously unsatisfactory experience of a product or service.
A perfect example of this is Mooncup, a soft, silicone menstrual cup that women can reuse each time they commence their period. This product offers an economical and comfortable alternative to disposable female sanitary items; It is also superior ecologically to disposable period products, the latter which produce a carbon footprint of 5.3 kg CO2 equivalents in the space of a year. Mooncups carbon footprint is essentially zero, it seamlessly solves two significant issues, personal and environmental, which many women might not have been conscious there was a solution to; each problem seamlessly resolved with minimal fuss or disruption. This is how mega brands are born
Do your own research and understand your audience
No matter how niche, well-conceived and unique your idea feels, make sure that your product or service is fully differentiated from the competition, weak imitations will always pale in comparison to products imaginatively conceived and tested, so get your own damn idea! If you are determined to create a successful alternative to a hero product or service, ensure your business plan for it is entirely bulletproof. Mood boards, five-year plans, social media publicity and marketing strategies along with the building of buyer persona profiles are essential when conducting research before launching your new product or service. An inadequately researched product risks limiting your potential for growth and risks you losing touch with your actual or unrealised customer base.
So get familiar with the demographics and psychographics of your target audience. Building typical customer profiles and personas is a useful marketing tool which allow brands to identify the archetypal consumers who have a similar need for, or interest in your product or service. They can help inform the most effective ways to communicate with potential customers, converting visitors into leads and leads into customers.
Build a Prototype, then refine, refine and refine
Trialling the representation of an idea, prototypes allows entrepreneurs to assess and test a product or service before it is launched onto the market. Showcasing an early version of a product or service, attracting investors and evolving a product or service using focus groups, and buyer personas can be trialled by way of a soft launch. Prototypes enable the gathering of feedback and potential feedback, whilst offering designers the opportunity to iron out navigational or usability flaws. The progressive evolution of a product or a service should be your goal, and the continual refining process should never conclude. By regularly asking the right questions of your investors, consumers and team members, valuable feedback can be collected and calibrated to monitor growth and product lifecycles.
Stop seeking perfection and strive for growth instead
Perfectionism can inhibit success. Too many entrepreneurs get preoccupied with minute detail that feels significant in the early stages of a brand's evolution, but in reality, will quickly extinguish as the product or service grows. Perfectionism can mask fear, stunting the success of a product or service. Ask yourself if the worries you are projecting onto detail orientated issues are truly relevant. Keep your brands flexible in the early stages of development. Quickly switch off the processes that don't work and celebrate even the smallest successes on social media and in newsletter mail-outs. No one is going to be a greater cheerleader for your brand than you, its originator.
So seek out every opportunity to publish milestones. Growth and the evolution of your product/service is the path to success.