As the New Year begins, a lot of us are hoping to do better in our business than last year. And if last year did not meet our expectations, we are looking to improve things. Here are a few thoughts that have emerged as I battle to grow my business:
Get a Higher Goal
We all know how hard it was to start our company, get the product out and get those first 10-20 customers. Now, you are sitting at 65 customers and there is a little bit of money coming in. There is hope for more. You would be at a super comfortable income at 200 customers. Make sure you aim for a 1000 this year. If you don’t plan for a large enough target, you will find it a tough hike to 200 as well.
Get in Deeper
What can you do different for this higher goal? Let’s say you have certain marketing channels to promote your site/product. You are spending on online advertising, have a part-time sales person, are sitting on Twitter and have your web designer helping you with SEO. It’s time to become proficient at some of these things yourself. If you know that getting your site showing on Google will make a much more accelerated impact than making cold calls – learn some basics on SEO (search engine optimization). Take a course, ask people, see what your competition is doing. Sites like blekko give you detailed insights into what makes your competition rank higher on Google.
Get Some Uncle Scrooge in You
Are you still spending $500 per month on those banner ads? Have you calculated conversions on these particular ads to your site? Or is it just a black hole? Those customers you got last month could have come from word of mouth, not those ads. Make sure you measure every dollar that you spend on marketing. Early on, you might not have the cash to splurge on “brand building.” Spend the money if you know you are getting something out if it. I know, it’s hard at times, but you have to be a hawk – don’t give in to sharp sales pitches and good looking sites.
Get a Physical
When was the last time you checked in with your old customers? I know they are still paying you and hence happy, but make sure you know if something is hurting them, or if they are missing something that you could add easily. Also, keep an eye on Twitter, Quora and LinkedIn on what people might be saying about your product or the competition. You can also post questions on this forum to learn more about what you could do better. For the customers that left, send a gentle, personal email asking them what was missing.
Get Some Rest
Thinking of quitting? This might be because you are burnt out with all the effort and hours you are putting in the business. The only reason a business fails after getting to 100 paying customers is because the primary driver (you) did not continue long enough. Make sure you switch off for a few hours in the evening, go to the gym, take a trip or a vacation – you need a reset button. Come back and kill it!
Setting daily goals will convert some of the above ideas into habits that will ensure you hit your targets for this year.
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