Starting a successful business requires much more than a great idea. Can you define your innovation in the market?
Most people start with a predefined idea in their head about what they want to sell. The reality is the world may not be waiting for your product or service. Can you define what you will you do, what value will you create that makes you different from similar businesses? Identify exactly what benefits you are delivering: better service, more convenient location, innovative design, hands on training? Then validate your hypothesis with customer discovery. Figure out who are your target customers. Never assume you know what your customer wants, unless you have asked. Invest time upfront asking questions and gathering critical feedback. Data driven decisions will beat guesswork every time.
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Small business owners should take stock of the most basic digital asset: your website
If it has been 2 years or more since you last breathed any life into your website, it is time for an upgrade. Consider these elements a “must-have” for your business website:
- Up to date contact information so you can be found quickly .
- A customer comment feature, and/or call to action that encourages a dialogue between you and your customers.
- A mobile optimized site – 61% of local searches on a mobile phone result in a phone call according to Google.
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Do you know that mentorship is the single most important external factor for business success? Every small business would benefit from having a trusted mentor. The role of a mentor is to offer knowledge, support, and perspective. Rule of engagement: the mentor has a sincere desire to help, and the mentee has a strong desire to learn. The best relationships are based on mutual respect. The killer benefits of a mentoring relationship: relevant perspective and advice, skill improvement, networking contacts, and encouragement. When your family and friends are tired of hearing about your business, it may be time to enlist a mentor. Ready to take the first steps?
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Take the time to think about your goals for the new year. Identifying and implementing something new requires focus. When tackling a long list of nonessential, tedious tasks, focus is mission critical. Whether the bull’s-eye on your back is a hefty goal or a bunch of minutiae, adopt these tips to sharpen your focus.
Start by defining you what you want to get done. Goals are the big chunks of stuff you want to get accomplished, like find a new job, train for a race, or hire a new employee. Now cull that list of goals into what is most important right now. It doesn’t mean you are abandoning the other goals. It means you are making a choice. Too many goals sap your energy and dilute your resolve to achieve anything. Simplify! Pick one goal and identify it as the #1 priority. You will now have laser-like focus on what you plan to accomplish. Goals without action steps are just words.
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