Building a successful business is dead hard.
I started my Virtual Office company in London 7 years ago and at first it was exciting and fun. But then the reality sunk in. I wasn't making any money. I spent so much time and money on coming up with a catchy name, logos, website design, brochures, business cards etc.
I learnt three very valuable lessons.
1) People don't buy from you because you have a nice logo. They buy your product or service because it helps them solve a problem.
What problem are you solving for your customers? If you are not solving any problem then you don't have a business. Period.
Every successful business you can think of is solving a problem.
- Domino's Pizza solves the problem of pizza not arriving on time
- Buffer solves the problem of wasting time posting on so many different social media platforms
- My Virtual Office company solves the problem of small businesses gaining trust by having a presence in high-end locations without a big budget
Focus on the problem that your product/service solves for your clients and don't worry so much about fancy pretty colorful design . (Remember what the first mobile phone looked like?)
Design can always come later on once you already have some paying clients. This is where so many startups go wrong. They work backwards. They try to come up with the perfect product, the perfect looking website and before long they run out of time and money.
2) An attractive website is meaningless if nobody can see it. An ugly website with lot's of visitors will earn more money than a beautiful website that has no visitors
Focus on several ways to get traffic to your website. Never rely on just one or two. I made this mistake when I relied on SEO for all traffic coming to my virtual office and telephone answering website. I was in for a nasty surprise when Google started changing it's algorithm and the phones stopped ringing.
Here are just 3 examples of unique and powerful ways to get traffic to your site:
- Guest Blogging - Find companies that share a similar client demographic to you (not your competitors!) and offer to write quality content for their blog.
- Podcasting - Podcasts are a fantastic way to promote your business
- E-books - Write an e-book or checklist that your potential client can benefit from and then offer it for free on social media platforms
3) It's far easier to get busy on social media than it is getting on the phone to potential clients. It's usually doing the uncomfortable things that bring in the money.
Picking up the phone and calling potential leads may be uncomfortable for most people but it's a must if you want to get more clients.
Spending your time on Facebook or Twitter in the hope that maybe you will attract clients is usually an avoidance strategy. It usually comes from a place of fear and procrastination. You know you should be making that phone call but it's scary so you go on Facebook instead.
I strongly believe that the reason why 80% of startup businesses go bust within their first 18 months is because they made either one or all three of the mistakes I listed above.
Just to recap here are the 3 things you should be focusing on if you want to build a successful company:
- Focus on the problem you are solving
- Focus on getting traffic to your site
- Focus on following up with potential leads