The 5 Foundations of a Successful Business
Starting a business is daunting, trust me, I know. And with all of the “advice” floating around the internet of what to do and what not to do, what you absolutely need and what you don’t, it can become pretty overwhelming.
So today I thought I would share with you the 5 (yes, only 5) things you need to make sure you’ve got goin’ on before you jump into starting a business.
These are the 5 things that I started with, and I believe they’re a big reason for my success. Do you have these 5 things yet? If not, you better get 'em!
1 | A good product
Duh, right? This seems obvious, but I couldn't write this post without saying it. You have to have a product or service that you know people are going to buy.
Have you done your research, or are you just assuming it's going to work?
I think it's great to take risks in business, but make sure they're at least educated risks, and not just complete shot-in-the-dark risks.
See how I said GOOD product, not ORIGINAL product? You're product doesn't have to be original, bonus points if it is, but how many businesses have completely original ideas? Almost none.
I mean, I build websites and create designs for people, how unoriginal is that? But as long as I'm alive, people are going to need websites and graphic design, so I know it's something that I can sell.
Often people get all worked up trying to be completely original, but let's be real here, there's a good chance that's not going to happen.
I'm definitely not saying go and copy others ideas, but you're likely to be selling very similar products or services to other businesses.
As long as you know, or have a good reason to believe you'll be able to sell, then you've got yourself a good product.
2 | Passion or Drive
Stay with me here. I know passion is such an overused term, and as someone who loves to do a lot of different things, “passion” was never really a word that worked for me.
If you do have a stand-out passion, that’s awesome! Definitely work with that, you pass section 1 with flying colors.
If you don’t have a passion, or you have lots of different passions, don’t worry, you can still pass go.
For me it wasn’t so much about the actual work I was doing, it was more about being able to quit my 9-5 desk job, work from my computer anywhere in the word, and run business on my own terms. I was so motivated and had huge drive to be able to do this.
So, if you can’t find something you’re passionate about, then lean on your motivation. What’s driving you to start a business? Find that fire and focus on it.
You’ll need it, because starting and running a business is not easy, and if you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, or a strong drive behind why you’re doing it (bonus points for both!) you’re destined to give up when the going gets tough.
3 | NO SHAME
This one is hella’ important, and definitely one that I struggled with at the beginning, and still sometimes struggle with today.
You've gotta own your business. When people ask you what you do, you need to say "I run my own business…" not just "oh I work from home" or "I freelance".
You've got to put yourself out there, and in todays world of perfected social media, that's pretty hard. You have to post on Facebook and tell all of your old high school friends that you're starting a business.
If you're a wedding photographer, message people who you know are getting married and ask them to consider you.
If you're a designer, message friends who own businesses and see if they need any design work done.
Go ALL in. Would you rather be a little embarrassed by posting your new biz all over social media for everyone to see, or would you rather your business fail because you have no clients?
When you're running your own business you have make opportunities for yourself. No one is going to reach out to you for work if they don't know that you even offer it.
4 | A professional brand
Unless your business is in design or brand development, please don't DIY your brand.
A professional brand and website is so important for the legitimacy of your business. If you brand is all over the place, no one is going to take you seriously.
When I say "brand" I'm talking about design, voice and vision. These three things need to be well thought out and consistent.
Having a professional and consistent brand builds a good reputation, shows your customers that you are legitimate and established, even if you are just starting out.
I'm not saying you should go blow thousands of dollars on a new brand and website, but if you're serious about your biz succeeding, you definitely need to put some money aside and take this part seriously, because it's really, really important. First impressions will make or break your business.
5 | Portfolio + Testimonials
Would you buy a piece of art for your house without seeing what it looked like first? I really doubt it.
The same idea goes for a service base business. Do you expect people to invest in you if you don't have any previous work to show them? Probably not. They'd be risking a lot.
If you're a service based business, you need to have a portfolio that potential clients can view.
If you're a brand new business and you have no client work to put into your portfolio, then make some mockups, examples, work for yourself or friends. Anything to show what you can do.
When I first started, I filled up my portfolio with 'mock' website designs and brand designs which got a lot of attention from potential clients. Not once did these people ask me if they were for real clients or if they were just mockups, because what does it matter? You're displaying what you can do and what you can offer, at the end of the day it's exactly the same.
Adding testimonials along with a portfolio is a cherry on top. This is important for product based businesses too. Rarely would I go to a restaurant without checking the reviews or getting a recommendation from a friend, why would I spend good money on a service product if I can't see what people are saying about it?
Try to get testimonials from everyone you work with, even if it's for tiny jobs. These people will still have something to say about you that is worthwhile to show other potential clients.
Bonus 6 | Content
Along with those 5 tips, one of the biggest reasons my business has been a successes is because of content creation.
I've been blogging since I first started, creating Freebies, creating Instagram posts every day and utilising Pinterest.
You could Blog, Vlog, Create Tutorials, Videos, Podcast, Facebook-live (the list is kinda endless). Just do something, and do it well, and do it pretty often.
Put aside the time to create content, it's a long game, but it will pay off.
What do you attribute your business success to? Do you think there's anything else I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments!