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Be systematic when setting up a business 15 Nov 2018

You need a systematic approach if you are setting up a new business.

Jack had been made redundant and decided to have a go by himself but wasn’t sure where to start.

We suggest this sequence:

  1. Make a list of all the products or services you could sell and then prioritise them. There’s not much point in starting to look for customers if you haven’t a clear idea of what you want to sell.
  2. You now need to work out who your potential customers are (your target markets). Are they builders, diners at a restaurant, people who need their computer fixed or what?
  3. You will find you can group your potential customers. In the case of a person supplying the building industry, they might be builders, architects, developers and individuals altering or building their own homes.
  4. Knowing who your potential customers are, you now need to work out how to make contact with them. Where would you find them? Is there a trade organisation they might belong to? Maybe some of them belong to a yacht club, golf club or the local chamber of commerce, which is a great resource for networking. Networking is about getting known and that’s what you need. Prioritise the ways in which you would be making contact with them.
  5. Finally, you need action plans. The four elements are:
  • What are you going to do?
  • How much are you going to do?
  • Who will have the responsibility for doing this?
  • By when will it be done?

We suggest you set the plan for a week and at the weekend you do two things:

  • Review the past week to see how well you did.
  • Set your plan for the coming week

More tips:                                                                          

  • Get your partner or spouse involved, particularly with the weekly review and setting of next week’s plan. This will help make you accountable.
  • Put important work ahead of urgent work, which is not necessarily important. For example, it is going to be much more important to work on developing your sales than working out what your letterhead is going to look like. Leave the latter to be done outside normal working hours.
  • It is no good waiting for sales to come to you. You must go out and get them. You might wish to go and see your most important potential customers face-to-face. This is the most expensive way of marketing, assuming you put a reasonable value on your time. If you ring for an appointment, don’t ask them if you can come and see them because you could get a no answer. Say “when would it be convenient for me to come and see you”?
  • One contact is never enough. Devise ways of keeping in touch, particularly with those people who look like they will be good for your business. One point of contact would be to send a follow-up email or letter thanking them for seeing you. A newsletter, however brief, is a great way to keep in touch. Make sure you put something of value in it for the reader. There is no reason why you shouldn’t send very regular newsletters. One every two weeks would be fine.
  • When you have ideas, write them down immediately.

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