Getting your business off and running is no easy feat. You have to give it your all and hope and work for success, yet brace yourself for failure at the same time. You could have a brilliant vision, yet there is much more to business than that.
Your business deserves the best chance at succeeding in this race, so we have brought together business leaders to reveal their secrets for success.
“Focus on delighting customers as they become your sales & marketing team. One of the most valuable lessons I've learned in managing client expectations is to under-promise and over-deliver. Early in any conversation, I talk about our goals around KPIs/ROI, but I make it clear in our documents that there are no guarantees in our discipline and that seems to help. Unhappy clients are a result of misaligned expectations. Pure and simple. Another way we mitigate client disappointment is to delight then elevate. These three strategies are highly effective at building a business:
1. Delight before you elevate. With over 1,000 clients served at Anvil, we've consistently delivered results, yet we've lost a vast majority of our past clients to a lack of delight. In short, we failed to build a meaningful level of trust and respect, which lead to a disconnect, despite delivering a strong ROI. Without a connection to customers, there is no loyalty, regardless of value.
2. Focus on value. While generating an ROI on a customers' investment, the most important component of solidifying a client relationship is creating value. Generally speaking, the more affordable your product or service, the easier it is to create value. Value is created most often by exceeding client expectations, so focus efforts on educating clients, set expectations low and over-deliver.
3. Be responsive and creative. I've won clients by being the most responsive vendor. We've also found responsiveness builds trust and respect (delight) with clients. In these trying times, creativity goes a long way.”
Kent Lewis, President & Founder Anvil Media, Inc
“To be successful in business, there are the usual parts one expects of working hard, customer satisfaction and having a quality service or product. But one thing I’ve seen time and time again, and personally in my own business, be the difference between a thriving and struggling business is the quality of its relationships. Taking the time to build strong bonds with mentors, those in the same line of work as you, as well with potential referral sources, is crucial to helping you grow.
Scaling doesn’t always require leveraging those relationships, but having them certainly makes it a lot easier. And in the difficult times, which are inevitably going to occur, those relationships and their experience can be their to help cut the learning curve. They can help you find your next great hire, a new reliable vendor, or the tool you’ve been searching for without needing to test five of them. For our business, those relationships, along with our internal ones, have been the key to our success.”
Amanda Sexton, Founder/Principal of FocusWorks Marketing, a national marketing agency using the power of digital marketing to grow brands and businesses
“Having a successful business is about mastering your product or service. When you know what you’re talking about, people tend to gravitate towards you. You have to be driven by your values as well. Stand firm in who you are, what your value proposition is, and look towards the future always, without forgetting your roots. I am strong in my belief that what keeps our customers coming back for more is our complete dedication and love for Sichuanese food. When you create something that has so much heart in it, people always notice. I spent years perfecting every detail of my product and researching the perfect flavors to make it all come together.
Fly By Jing started as a pop-up dining experience where I shared my flavors in person with those who choose to attend. All the effort and care I put into what I do resonates with our consumers, and always keeps them coming back for more.”
Chef, entrepreneur and a renowned expert on Chinese cuisine; Jing Gao, founder and CEO of Fly By Jing
“My best tip for creating a successful startup is always having a backup plan. If an element of your idea falls through, be prepared to be transformative. Also, if you decide to self-fund, be prepared to look at other avenues. It is always helpful to seek funding. Don’t be set on your plans from the start. Industries change, times change, and trends change. Be flexible and you’ll stay on top of it.”
Kaz Amor, the Founder of VoCê Haircare
“Sometimes the risk of failure may hold you back from executing a new idea or plan. However, there's no secret sauce to success other than actually making decisions and putting them into action. Many people get caught up in ideas or looking for that one piece of advice that will lead them to riskless success, but at the end of the day, experience is always the best teacher. If you're finding difficulty putting your ideas into action, you need to develop a strategy. Identify the problem you're facing and the possible avenues in which you can solve it. Seek advice from others and create a plan you can carry out. Remember that a very new idea comes with risk, and your strategy should be to minimize it and not be afraid of it.”
Stephan Baldwin, Founder at Assisted Living Center
“Your team has the potential to make or ruin you. Many company owners believe I excessively reward my employees. The fact is that we would not be where we are now without them. As a company owner, I am solely responsible for driving the train; my workers supply the steam necessary to propel the engine forward. I continue to hunt for such gems in the rough to this day.”
George Mouratidis, Head of Digital Marketing/SEO Specialist, WeedCopyWriter.com
“You can't truly find success in any endeavor without closely examining the behavior and tactics of those who have done it before you - and success in business is no different. Of course, experience is a wonderful teacher itself, and at some point you'll have to make your own mistakes and learn from them, but talking to professionals and getting insight and tips can potentially save you years of chasing your tail, and can prevent you from having to make a variety of mistakes in the first place.
Find a mentor who has achieved success in business, and offer free help in exchange for their insight, knowledge and experience; it will help you immensely, and provide you with a shortcut when it comes to growing your career or company. If you can't find a mentor or professional to talk to in person, dive into books written by the experts - they're almost as good as the real thing.”
Nathan Murphy, Co-founder and Owner of QuizBreaker, a company that offers ice-breaking games and activities to teams of employees
“These are the main rules I follow to be successful in business.
1. Move faster. The market is moving in leaps and bounds and changing rapidly. The faster you move to grow your business, the higher the chances to launch a new product and find a market niche.
2. Calculate risks and watch your costs. Mistakes and risk-taking are inevitable, but their negative impact can be reduced through the calculation of several scenarios. And your costs should always be adjustable.
3. Keep an eye on the market, competitors, trends and consumers’ needs. Data is the king, and the right analytics give a key market advantage.
4. Be flexible and healthy self-confident. People will always tell you that your ideas are too risky, the product is underdeveloped, and your competitors are stronger. Take the experts’ opinion into account but keep faith in your idea and move towards your goal.”
Vitaly Alexandrov, the founder & CEO of San Francisco based on-demand delivery startup Food Rocket
“The first tip is to conduct a whole lot of research at every stage of your business. Market research before starting a business is essential in order to determine whether the business idea would be successful, who the target audience is and what the price range should be. Through research, data is collected to help make important decisions. Research, along with competitive intelligence and data analysis, is also important when the business is operating, as it helps guide marketers on what strategies are effective; how to increase conversions and make the business grow. Financial advising One of the important aspects that can really impact a business’s success is its financial status.
Getting financial advice from an expert can really help one understand the best opportunities they should take, how to sustain the business and if they can secure funding. Financial advising can help a company float the boat even during difficult times in order to become successful. Excellent customer service and feedback. Nothing makes a business succeed more than positive feedback and customer care. When a consumer is happy, they become a returning customer; which helps with brand loyalty and spreading their positive experience through word of mouth.”
John Gardner, Co-Founder & CEO of Kickoff