As a business coach, it’s my mission to empower smart, talented business owners to get out there and share their superpowers with the world. I know first-hand how hard it can be to start a business out of thin air and make it grow. It took me time to get it right, but I’ve learned what works.
To keep that dreaded kryptonite at bay, I recommend you keep these tips in mind.
Superpower Tip #1: Validate your market!
Just because your business idea sounds like a good one, doesn’t mean it’s something that people will actually pay you money for. As we all know, a business isn’t a business without sales. So, don’t be shy. Ask people who you can trust to give you an honest answer about whether they would actually pay you for your business idea – and how much they’d be willing to spend. A little research up front can save a big headache (and empty bank account!) down the road.
Superpower Tip #2: Manage your expectations.
Starting a business is a steep learning curve even if you have a lot of experience and knowledge. You may have graduated from coaching school or have spent years at a larger corporation, but the actual building of your business – crafting your message, marketing your services, and getting clients – takes time. Usually much, much longer than you think.
Superpower Tip #3: Keep that safety net in place.
Being an entrepreneur means taking risks. But don’t go too crazy. Make sure you have at least six months of savings in your bank account – or a family member who can bail you out if you face some cash-poor months. (Most new business owners do.) I found this out the hard way. My first year in I had to take on a part-time job to re-stabilize myself financially. Those extra dollars gave me the runway to create visibility, run workshops, and network. And more importantly, those dollars gave me peace of mind. No matter how passionate you are about your business, your passion alone won’t pay the bills!
Superpower Tip #4: Work hard. And keep at it.
There is no easy path to success. Behind those rags-to-riches stories we hear are plenty of rolled-up sleeves, lots of sweat, and even a few tears. Building my business took a longer than I had thought it would – and a lot more grit than I had counted on. But for me there was no turning back, so I made a commitment to buckle down and do whatever it took, for as long as it took.
Superpower Tip #5: Brand your business.
Crafting a brand is one of the best business decisions you can make. No matter what kind of coach you are, someone else is doing it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stand out. Figuring out my brand and crafting the right message made such a difference for me and really professionalized everything I was doing. After creating my “Agent M” brand, people remembered me.
But I also think it’s important to not agonize about getting the “perfect” brand too early on in your business. I recommend that you start someplace simple, go do the work, and then your brand will become much clearer. It’s an evolution.
Superpower Tip #6: Don’t overcomplicate your website.
Your website will be your number one marketing tool. In fact, people won’t think you’re serious about your business until you have one. But don’t overcomplicate your website. Also, be sure to resist the urge to pack your site full of information. Instead, focus on the relevant information. I see so many small business owners getting bogged down with the “how.” Here’s the news flash: your customers don’t care about the “how.” They care about results.
Superpower Tip #7: Get help!
No one builds a successful business alone. Not me. Not you. Building a support system for your strategy and your implementation will make the road to success so much easier to travel. You’ll know where to go – and how to get there.
Hear that rumble? That’s your rocket ship! Time to put these tips into action.
I’d love to hear about your business successes – and struggles. Just share in the comment box below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MaryAnn McNulty, MBA is a sought-after speaker, trainer and coach, founder of SuperPowers for Solopreneurs, and serves as a small business instructor at Mercy Corps Northwest.
Combining her coaching experience and business expertise, MaryAnn’s speciality is demystifying business strategy for talented coaches, consultants and experts who have a mission, a message and an impact to make. She empowers her clients to get out of perpetual marketing mode and shorten the learning curve of building a business so they can share their superpowers with the world.