Every leader has stories of failure that ended up teaching them important lessons about their next ventures. Noted confectioner, Milton Hershey, famously failed at chocolate-making for thirteen years before landing on the formula that eventually worked. Throughout history, the number of successful people who learned through failure reads like a whos-who of celebrities: Walt Disney, Stephen King, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, JK Rowling, and even Colonel Sanders. The characteristic that separates them from their peers is that they learned from their mistakes and also taught themselves tricks along the way.
The first step in any industry, whether it’s selling goods or services, is to thoroughly do your market research. Necessity breeds invention, which means something either needs to be improved upon or created. In addition, it’s vital to do your due diligence about any potential or upcoming competition, even by looking at parallel industries. You never know when the next ideas will fuse with existing technologies, rendering one of them null and void. For example, there are countless items that have been phased out by the invention of the smartphone.
Companies can also easily fail for internal reasons. Once your business starts doing well, the worst mistake you can make is by spending any cash. Much like how people are cautioned to save for a rainy day with personal finances, there should always be a buffer in the unlikely event of an emergency with a small business. In addition, keep abreast of the latest technology to ensure you are making the most efficient use of your time and budget. If there are new ways to do things more efficiently, you are only hurting your business by not taking advantage of them.
Even if you have big dreams, start small. Niche marketing is a term that means to focus all your resources on a designated demographic, rather than trying to conquer a larger market. There are many advantages to this approach. By spending all of your efforts on your target market, you can cater to their needs and preferences much better, up to and including designing the most specifically tailored, aesthetically pleasing logo for them. Social media has made it possible to approach a niche in a variety of ways, and by training your staff to work exclusively with your target market, you end up with superior customer relations. Happy customers mean happy employees, which is a great morale boost for any office. In addition, a smaller client base means exclusivity and the power of word-of-mouth reviews.
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