If your checklist for starting your new business was more of a to-do list in terms of making sure you have enough coffee in the pot and enough new pens and writing pads to hand, you may be missing a few key points that could help.
Business is a sleeping bear. Prod it, and you better be able to stand your ground. The business world may have teeth and claws, but it also has a propensity to do what it is told. Let’s take a look at how to succeed in your own business.
Invoicing your clients
Invoicing software can make the difference between spending your time chasing clients and spending your time on core objectives (see FreshBooks.com).
Chasing late payments is a rite of passage for any entrepreneur. But it’s one of those baptisms of fire – and a headache – that you can actually do without (so, let’s not and say we did, kind of thing).
By all means, go chase your clients for payments. You will need their phone number, their email, their social media, and business address. Typically in that order. Because that’s the order of calling, emailing, messaging, and knocking on the door that you’re going to follow when they fail to pay you.
Invoicing software helps you in two main ways. First, the client is presented with an itemised bill. This means that no matter how much they squirm over the price, they can see exactly what their money is paying for. Second, you can include payment details on the invoice. This lets the client know how to pay, removing the temptation to delay payment and claim that they didn’t have your details.
Go into business with your eyes open
Loving what you do and treating each customer with professional enthusiasm is not necessarily all it takes to sell your products or services. Just because you love the onion flavoured ice cream you made using an old wartime recipe, doesn’t mean your intended audience is going to love it as well. You have to be realistic.
Forget trying to huck your wares if your wares can only hope for a niche audience at best. Anti-gravity roller skates that can fly you through the sky? Sure. They’ll sell like hotcakes. But hotcakes made with garlic powder and a mushroom glaze? You’d be lucky to make enough money to pay for your bus ride home.
Reply to every message
Startups rely on word of mouth. Reviews. Recommendations. Testimonials. Friends telling friends who you are and why you are so good at what you do. It all counts more than you might think. Creating that initial client base is paramount because, without it, you are reliant upon marketing and advertising further afield … and that can take resources and time that you don’t have at your disposal right away.
Reply to every message you receive across all channels and build up a loyal base of fans who value the one-to-one feel your brand can offer. It will take a few minutes every evening, of course, but the pay off will be incredible.
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