12 focus areas for any business start up
There are many areas for a new business owner to focus upon and of course there are many views or opinions on what could be the most critical areas to support your initial survival and later growth for success.
Each business is perhaps different and has different priorities, but from my work with start up businesses, I believe the top dozen areas for focus are:
1. Work to establish the right foundations from the start – start with the end in mind. What do you have to do in the early months / years that makes it easier from which to develop, scale and grow. Premises, team, systems, finances……..
2. Manage your time effectively with a focus on your high pay off activities – these are the activities for your focus that require your attention without distraction. Once these are identified, a distraction or interruption is more obvious and leads to improved time management.
3. Know your target market – who is your ideal customer that is actually prepared to pay for your produce or service? Is it a niche, vertical market or a buyer persona profile? Once identified, your marketing will be much more effective in pulling them towards you.
4. Create great opportunities to take your product or service to market – how proactive are you in creating opportunities for yourself or are you hoping you get lucky? Be creative, be innovative and listen to your market.
5. Maximise your lead conversion to sales – If you are not converting your leads to sales, then I’d argue you are wasting your resources on marketing. Establish a sales process that matches the customers journey from their initial ‘awareness’ stage, through the ‘consideration’ phase to ‘purchase’. Then bring your hard earned leads into a sales funnel that you continue to tweak until it works like clockwork.
6. Make the financial numbers in your business work for your future success – understand the real numbers in your business, not just those that are shown in your annual financial statements for the tax office. Know your numbers within your balance sheet as much as your profit statement and understand their relationship to impacting your cashflow.
7. Understand your key performance indicators – what are your key success drivers and how do you measure them? These are those activities that drive the outcomes you desire in your business.
8. Create and develop strong relationships with customers, employees and referrers
9. Understand the 7 steps of effective business growth – increase leads, convert more, sell more at the initial point of sale, increase the value of your sales, improve your margin, sell more and retain your customers for longer.
10. Undertake the 8 actions that the UK’s successful businesses do every year – plan, measure, review, evaluate, compare, value, analyse, improve.
11. Know the top 5 numbers in your business – imagine you are the captain of your ship. What are the 5 numbers you are keeping an eye on every day to ensure you are sailing in the right direction.
12. Remember the Work / life balanced approach – get this right from day one and create good habits. Understand what it means for you because it is ok to not want a 4 day week and to work at weekends if there is a purpose and a fit to your ‘why’.
About Mike Foster, The Entrepreneurs Mentor. I was an area manager for Barclays business start up team in Oxfordshire, before joining a leisure start up breaking away from the district council. I have started a few of my own businesses and authored a DVD. To read more about me and my experience with start up businesses, please click here.