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Entrepreneurship Leadership Start up Strategy

In the kingdom of the blind

The favorite saying of my boss of 15 years and mentor Des Miller. I find myself quoting this saying more often these days and each time I recall the many amazing lessons I learnt from Des.

All to often business tries to many activities at once, leading to nothing succeeding. Focus and dominating a particular market, really allows excellent execution.

A few weeks ago I was speaking to someone I competed with in business nearly a decade ago and he recalled the outstanding success for the product and market, he said he would not even compete, even though he worked for a gorilla business, as the business I worked for owned the domain.

In the telco sector there are few that own a niche. Regional players, sector players ie hotels, schools and one that specialised in 1-50 employees in business and nailed the proposition. In a market where Managed service providers and Information technology providers are owning the customer, the challenge for the pure carriers is clear. Again the lesson is relevant: What piece of the kingdom are you going to own?

In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

Categories
Career Change Entrepreneurship Personal development Start up

Five steps to a successful start up

You have a software application written and you are excited by the opportunity to start your own business. Launching it is not enough, to successfully secure sales you need know your market.

History has proved that marketing is the key to launching a successful business, you can have the best solution, but marketing wins. Once that stands out for me was SQL and Nested database. The latter is superior for scale, simplicity, yet SQL won the business. The alternative is a slow burn of referrals, which can work, but takes time.

So here are the steps:

Target market: Who are you selling to? What is their demographic? How do you get to the target audience(what do they read, what apps do they use)? Why are they buying?

Knowing how you reach your target audience is critical and knowing why they would buy your product?

How to?

1. Get a database of your target audience. There are many options to gaining access to a database:

  1. Utilise a company with same target audience: ie customer segmentation, industry segment and/ or regional. Set up a referral fee in exchange for using their database. If B2B business to Business then buy a list: Illion, Core logic, listing company Or: Building your own database, utilise the internet for research
  2. Dont proceed to step 1 without knowing who is your target audience. You will waste money and time, both precious.

2. Whats your message? Why are your target audience interested?

  1. Why use your product?
  2. Testimonials from exisiting customers
  3. Referrals. Will your customers refer to other customers
  4. Social media, connect with Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  5. PR; utilise a PR company in your sector, to get the message out their.
  6. Note: Educating a new market is not for the faint hearted, definitely for organisations with deep pockets. If people don’t get it and you are not making sales, relook at the offering and your target audience. Jeffrey Moors book “Crossing the Chasm” describes early adopters in his book. Basically you need to look for risk takers

3. Easy to buy from

  1. Once you have steps 1 and 2 nailed, can your target audience order your product simply and easily. If its too complicated, then you will not secure the business even if step 1 and 2 are executed well.
  2. How many prospects have abandoned the process in coming on board, as it is to complex.

4. Build a business plan and cash flow and take it out to your network to test the above. Is the target marker large enough? Sold some niche products in my time and one the target market in Australia was 400 companies, only 10% come to the market annually and have a 10 year lifespan. Even if you won 100% of 40 Companies is that enough revenue to deliver the profit you are looking for?

This is a great opportunity to tweak your plans before going ahead for real.

5. Press the button, register the company and execute your plans.