Starting out we all have an idea of how we want our business to be, what it is, and what it is going to become. The funny thing is it never seems to turn out to be exactly what we imagined, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be the best thing that ever happens to you and your business. The truth is businesses, like people, have growing pains, changes, and evolve. In those initial months, or perhaps years, there is absolute need to get to know your business.
Keep an Open Mind
No market or business landscape is stagnant. Consumer wants change, opportunities come and go, and innovation occurs. Naturally your start-up is going to change with these external changes as well. At least it should. Really, we just never know what opportunities may arise. New product possibilities and potential partnerships can happen at any time. These discoveries can lead to fruitful success and are definitely a part of getting to know your business. The bottom line, don’t be afraid to adapt and pursue new opportunities that you may not have planned on originally.
Finding Your Niche
Within your industry there are several strategies to gaining market share. To name a few, you can pursue new technologies and have a first-mover advantage, you could simply do the same thing as others but cheaper, or you could create a specialized product that fills the need of a very specific submarket within your large scale market. All have their advantages and potentially lead to success. Your job is to pick one. This also is a process of simply getting to know your business. What do you do especially well? Are you more cost-efficient? Do you fill a special need somewhere? Or do you have the latest and greatest trend?
Most business professionals will tell you to pick one and run with it. This is great advice whether you are just starting out or are an established business. Don’t try to wear too many hats. But sometimes as your business progresses your niche may not be what you thought it would. This is a process of getting to know your business over time. A few months or years in you will probably have to adjust your niche market in some way.
Hold on Loosely
Your business is your baby. Most entrepreneurs feel this way and have a tight grip on the reins. As cheesy as this may be, I think some great advice for entrepreneurs comes from some old song lyrics, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” In sports you often hear coaches say, “Don’t force it.” This is true in the business world. Often we try to force plans or deals like a quarterback trying to squeeze a pass in a hole that isn’t there or a baseball player trying to hit every pitch out of the park. Every once in a while we need to take a risk but most often it’s best to take what the defense gives us. Sometimes we just need to take a step back, assess the situation for what it is, and then make some objective decisions about where we are and where we are going.
The growing pains of a business can be hard, but if we make an effort to get to know our business as it evolves our chances of success will increase. As you keep an open mind to new opportunities you will be pleasantly surprised as to what you accomplish.