As an entrepreneur your key goal, regardless if you run a local business, lifestyle business or high-growth startup, is to make sure business grows and continues on that trajectory.
Stagnation is death. If you’re not getting anywhere, it will eventually eat into your profits. Before long, you’ll start hemorrhaging money and the future will look bleak. It’s not pretty and nobody wants that!
So, how do we prevent this from happening?
I’ve been building my fitness marketing business for over three years. Yep, it’s still being built. I help hundreds of personal trainers with their marketing strategies and it also gives me pretty good insight into the minds of entrepreneurs; where they go right, and frustratingly, where they go wrong, time and time . . . and time and time again.
Becoming a Growth-Centric Entrepreneur
Often the problem lies is connected to their mindset. (But hold up!) This isn’t one of those “look within and find peace” kind of articles. Instead I offer you real world, practical advice—intended to encourage you to ask questions. Questions like: Am I approaching things as opportunities or as hassles? Do I see failures as opportunities to improve or do they get me down? Is my glass half full or half empty? (← Scratch that one. Way too generic.)
Naturally, how we think and approach the world means nothing without action, but it’s the foundation of growth-focused action we’re going to talk about.
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind if you want to be a more growth-centric entrepreneur.
1. Keep the big picture front and center.
The devil’s in the details as an entrepreneur, you should be too. A big project can quickly go awry if your big launch coincides with the launch of a more popular product.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details and miss out on something else that’s important — the big picture. Customer needs, for example, are constantly changing. They’ll either require updated versions of your product to suit their changing contexts or to match their growing expectations. It’s your job to keep an eye on it and make sure your startup is poised to adapt.
This is just one example of the “big picture”. There are plenty of other things, such as industry trends and technological developments, that should always be on your radar.
2. There is no one universal solution.
You may be a brilliant entrepreneur, but you can’t solve all the problems in the world with one solution. It’s reductionist, inaccurate, and will only lead to a lot of heartache. Besides, it’s not what the customer wants.
No sane customer will want you to solve all their problems. They just want you to handle one specific area of their life. If you can do that well, they’ll buy your product or service. Keep things simple. Do one thing, and do it better than anyone else for your target market.
3. Provide solutions to existing problems.
The smarter you are, the more prone you are to inventing something first and looking for a problem later. This process is, at best, unreliable and can result in countless resources wasted.
If you want to be an entrepreneur with a growth-centric mindset, focus on customers and find out what actually needs solving. It’s less about what you’re selling and more about your customers.
Pushing a product won’t work if it doesn’t have the consumer in mind. Most consumers won’t buy a product that doesn’t do anything. Keep looking for problems and issues to solve.
4. Think partner, not seller.
Literally speaking, you’re selling stuff to people. That’s the purpose of a startup — functionally, you’re a partner solving a problem for a price. One of the core principles of a growth mindset involves seeing customers as partners and not wallets.
Treat them well. Look to improve their lives instead of just trying to figure out what they can buy next. Treating them well makes your startup more than a cold and faceless entity. You become a friendly face, a brand that fill consumers with joy.
This results in increased customer loyalty and improves your understanding of what the market actually needs. It may even provide insight into where the market will go.
5. Focus on metrics instead of feelings.
Your gut instinct may be right on when it comes to where to eat, but it makes for a poor business manager. Emotions are responses to outside stimuli. They are reactions and rarely do they give you information pertinent to a startup’s future.
Focus entirely on metrics when it comes to decision making. Only by focusing on measurable metrics can you grow, because you’ll know exactly where the lines are and how you can push beyond them. This will also help you keep an eye on your company’s status and whether or not there’s something that needs adjustment or tuning.
Keep these things in mind and you’ll be focused on the right things. Don’t get distracted by your emotions. Think of customers as partners rather than just sources of revenue. Remember that there’s no one universal solution to the world’s problems. It can take some time to fully integrate into your thought process, but it’s worth the effort if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Dan Salcumbe is the the founder of My Personal Trainer Website and the Institute of Personal Trainers, where he helps personal trainers with businesses start-up, website design and fitness marketing. Connect with @myptwebsite on Twitter.
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