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BUSINESS Building your success

A serial entrepreneur’s “common” sense advice by Victor Green

It’s true that many factors contribute to an organization’s success, but in the end it all comes down to this: how will your business be better, or different, than what is already available? Will you provide a better service than anyone else? Will you offer something that will improve your customers business and make them more money? Te answers to one – prefer- ably both – of these questions should always be a resounding, “Yes!”

Tis article assumes you have done the research and built the product. You have found a gap in the market that you can fill. Now, you’re tasked with building or managing an organization that already exists. You may find the tips below are obvious or “common” sense. I would argue that these days, “common” sense is oſten “rare.”


Promotion Promoting your business: To me, the

first priority is to clearly identify your audience. Who are your prime targets? Once you have determined who they are, then prioritize them in order of importance. Your marketing budget should be spent in accordance with these priorities, rather than choosing advertising and publicity avenues based on price. Consider every marketing resource and evaluate which will give you best value. Seek out promo- tions that enable you to measure response. It is important to know if your marketing expendi- ture is producing results. One way to measure response is by using coupon offers. Another is to unique URLs to measure website traffic from a particular ad.


Service Service is the most important part of


your business. Today, everybody wants to be treated as a “special person.” If you treat your customers well, your reputation will grow. Tis is the cheapest – and most effective – form of advertising. Relationships with repeat custom-

ers are very important. Every effort should be made to make personal contact with your “base,” whenever possible. Be honest, polite, and atten- tive. Don’t rely on e-mails or social media to do this work for you. There is nothing bet- ter than doing business face-to-face.

Your staff will follow your example. If you por- tray professionalism and attentiveness, your staff will see this as the way you want your business to be run. If, however, you have a poor attitude, are a bad timekeeper, take extended breaks during the day, go home early, dress badly, then your staff will assume that this is how you want your business to be run. Never ask your staff to do something that you would not do yourself.


Sales Selling your product at lower prices than

competitors – many new businesspeople think this is the “secret” to business. But undercutting your competitors is only successful if it gives you a sensible return and a significant net profit. I call this “vanity versus sanity.” Vanity is being concerned with your sales figure; sanity is being concerned with your net profit. Build a relation- ship with all customers. You’ve caught me. Tis is a repeat of the advice above. However, it bears repeating. You must develop a loyal cus- tomer base to maintain reoccurring sales revenue. Ten, and only then, can you start to branch out secondary audiences and those far- ther out. If you do not build a strong relationship that produces repeat business, you will effectively have to start your business over and over again every time you sell.


Finances To manage a business successfully it is

essential you have accurate up-to-date financial information. Each month you should produce a profit and loss statement, or a “P&L.” When I mentor people, I always make this a strict requirement. If you don’t have a P&L,

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