Starting a business and starting a successful business are two different things—and there’s one key ingredient you will need before you ever start building a company website or designing a product.
The Internet has made starting a business very easy. Purchase a domain name, install WordPress, select a free WordPress theme, add a “Buy Now” button to a landing page and you’re off to mega bucks, right?
As a business startup coach, I see one phenomenon all of the time. As soon as a would-be entrepreneur has a business idea, they get so excited. Naturally, they start designing a website, brainstorming offers, and later adding an email marketing opt-in. The Internet has removed so many of the barriers that used to exist when an entrepreneur’s only option was to open a “bricks and mortar” business.
Back in the day, it was normal for people to slow down, take their time working out all the angles of the business and maybe even write a business plan. However, today’s reality is this: You definitely don’t need a stodgy, boring old business plan to start an online business, but what you do need is a solid strategy.
Strategy is the secret to really making your business work because it aligns every aspect of your business so that people naturally flow through your marketing funnel to become customers. And that strategy must be carefully thought out first, not just tacked on to everything once you’ve started.
The Secret (That’s Not So Secret)
So many online business “guru’s” want to sell you on the idea that there’s a secret formula for marketing an online business, and if you just use their 30 day, 6 figure success formula … you’ll be rich!
Here’s the real secret: There’s no secret!
Just like a traditional career path, there’s a roadmap you can follow for online marketing success. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you can follow the success of those who have gone before you.
For example, when I talk about getting your business aligned so that people naturally flow through your marketing funnel, I mean that you need to know exactly who your customer is and the struggles they face. From there, you can develop a content marketing strategy to guide your online efforts (i.e., company blog, lead generation, and how it flows into your offers).
The recipe for success is this: Sell people what they already need and want. Otherwise, if you just jump into building a website and selling a product, you’ll find success to be a lot more elusive. You’ll end up endlessly going back to the drawing board, trying again, tweaking your message, redesigning your website, etc.
Save yourself a lot of stress by simply slowing down and figuring out your strategy first.
Getting it Right — The First Time!
How do you know if your strategy is right?
There’s all sorts of information available to walk you through building a strategy that will work for your business; my blog is a good place to start. But if you do want to put yourself on the fast track, a business coach significantly speeds up the process by guiding you in the right direction. It’s the sort of investment that ends up being much more important than which web hosting company you choose or whether you make your ‘Buy Now’ button blue or yellow.
If you’ve started your own business, did you have a strategy first or just wing it? How did it work out for you? Share your wisdom in the comments below.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Cat LeBlanc is a Business Strategist & Venture Catalyst. Which means she has an uncanny talent for turning your brilliance into a profitable (and liberating) business. When Cat’s not guiding emerging entrepreneurs to their new business breakthrough, she’s in the spa with her partner, sipping cider, surrounded by ferns, soaking in the sweet freedom she’s created for herself (and wants for you). Learn more at catleblanc.com and pick up your free Business Idea Starter Kit. Connect with @catjleblanc on Twitter.