I can’t tell you how often I get asked how did you get into business and how have you been able to be successful in so many industries? The short answer is I have learned from my mistakes and I promise that I have cut my teeth through many pitfalls, but the one thing I have never done is give up.
I was taught long ago that it is critical to have a mentor and to learn from their experience and stop trying to do it all alone. In fact, one of my favourite mentors, one of the only men I know that owned a company that did a Billion Dollars in sales, has always said that there are many people that have probably done what you want to do, so stop trying to reinvent the wheel from scratch. He would often say: learn from an expert or someone that already paved the way and then do it better. Some great advice that not only saved me enormous time over the years but taught me to research what is out there in the market-place and discover what is hot right now.
Secondly, so often we come up with an idea or product that we want to sell to the world but without a plan to sell it, our dream never becomes a reality. So many incredible thought leaders never bring their dreams to fruition. From my perspective here is at least one reason why: they have done next to no research about viability and have zero understanding of how to market. So, one of the first questions I ask when coaching someone is, what is your demographic for this idea or product and where are the stats to back this up? Once that is established, I ask: how are you planning to get this product exposed to your market? The blank stares tell me all I need to know and i go on to explain that ‘you’ could have a cure for the common cold (everyone would want this right?), but if you don’t find a way to tell anyone, your ‘cure’ will sit unsold. Imagine, one of the most sought after products sitting on a shelf collecting dust due to poor research and marketing.
Planning is essential and part of that plan must be starting at the beginning with research. Your idea may be a fantastic one, but ask yourself if there is truly a need in the market for it? It may be that you discover that your idea tweaked just a little is actually what your demographic is screaming for. That always leads us to a conversation about remaining unattached.
What do I mean by that? I mean that you can get so blinded by your attachment to your idea that you miss the opportunity to do some fine tuning and come up with a truly fabulous product or service. So remain open minded about how your original idea might evolve with new information based on your research. We are so lucky in today’s market that the internet is a wealth of information right at our fingertips. A good place to start for your research is using ‘google track’ or ‘google’s keyword tool’. Uncover what people are searching and deliver that in relation to your idea vs. creating a product that you must convince people to buy, literally shoving it down people’s throats that didn’t want it or were not looking for it. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that people already looking or searching for something are more apt to purchase.
So, now that you have done your homework, it’s critical that you brainstorm about how you will market this and the investment you make in your marketing will almost always translate to dollars in your pocket. Yes, that means it will take a budget in marketing to get your product sold. Let’s keep it real people, the chances of you telling a few people and sales growing organically or exponentially are slim, so plan for your success. You may even want to put aside some money to hire a marketing expert and many will offer discounts to give you some simple ideas that may spring-board you on your way to a successful launch. The point is, don’t be fooled that your idea is so unique that you don’t need to plan. I always say plan your dream and work your plan.
To recap here are my tips this week for starting on your road to being an entrepreneur:
1. Find a Mentor and use them
2. Research, find and identify your demographic
3. Remain unattached and open minded that your idea may evolve
4. Brainstorm ways to market your idea/product or hire an expert
I am so looking forward to getting under the hood and walking you through some great marketing ideas next time.
Until then: Dream BIG cause small dreams have less magic!
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