A company starts with an idea. It could be something that popped into your mind during a late Friday night that became a huge success, or it could be an idea that you’ve been playing with in your mind for the past few years. Whatever your claim to fame, it’s not luck that brought you to the position you are in. Whether you’re just a simple at-home business that trades from a residential address, or if you’ve taken steps to start up a physical location and have hired several employees, you need to start taking your business seriously if you want to capitalise on your idea.
Failing to capitalise
Most businesses fail—that’s just how it is. Either the product wasn’t suitable for the market, the service wasn’t needed, or the business owner neglected too many things that ultimately spelt death for the business. This kind of attitude towards business isn’t desirable. If you’re going to start a business and recruit several employees to assist you, then you need to take your business seriously and capitalise on your success.
If your product is selling like hot cakes to your audience and you’re being forced to close orders due to the demand, then you clearly have a winner on your hands and you’d be wise to do your best and ensure you can capitalise on this sudden burst of success. If you fail to diversify your product, fail to protect your brand because you neglected the importance of a lawyer, or simply just failed to invest your profits back into your business, then you could be throwing away the opportunity of a lifetime.
However, it’s understandable that you may be in a rough situation due to how sudden your success has been. Perhaps you’re just a humble business owner that never planned to get famous for their product, or maybe your first business was just a test that you wanted to capitalise on in the future. Either way, you’re in the fast lane now and you need to take your business seriously unless you want someone to come along and steal your idea.
Protecting your intellectual property
If your claim to fame is based on a design like a character, logo or a video game, then make sure that you’re protecting your property. Be it a trademark, copyright or anything similar, ensure you have lawyers on deck to give you advice on how to shut down copycats and imitations. The earlier you get in contact with a lawyer, the more likely you’ll be able to protect your brand in the future and the quicker you’ll be able to shut down imitations.
If you aren’t protecting anything, then someone could steal your brand name or product right underneath your nose and there is absolutely nothing you could do about it. There are always opportunists looking for a way to make a quick buck off of someone else’s misfortune. Don’t let those leeches steal your hard work. Hire a lawyer, seek legal advice, and do it as early as possible to avoid future disappointment.
Seeking other professional help
You’re not a professional business owner and you aren’t an entrepreneur. At least, not yet. If you want to become a successful business owner, then you need to seek professional help and be willing to open up to a mentor. Some of these services can be outsourced. For instance, you might need hedge fund IT support if you have investors knocking at your door every few days, you could hire a specialist accountant to help you manage your inflated books and you could even do with a receptionist that is capable of handling your calls and leaving you messages of the most important ones.
Time is money, but time is sadly something that a lone business owner doesn’t have. In order to capitalise on your growth and take your business more seriously, you’re going to need to shape up and seek professional help so you can learn as you run your business. If you’re unwilling to learn or you’re too stubborn to see that you are still very inexperienced, then your business might collapse overnight and you’ll be left with nothing but a useless and failed business that couldn’t deliver. Your idea will then be picked up by someone with more experience and they’ll capitalise on your hard work, leaving you in the dirt with regrets.
Leave no stone left unturned
One of the most important things about running a business is monitoring everything. Don’t let something happen for no reason. If there is an employee that is being disruptive, remove them before they poison the well and negatively affect those around them. If your customer service has received an appalling review with some very worrying claims, then investigate and get to the bottom of the issue. Don’t leave these issues unresolved, because the worst thing that can happen is that you neglect the finer details in your business and they grow to become large problems that are impossible to remove.
Take responsibility as a budding entrepreneur and stick your nose into every aspect of your business. Make sure you know exactly what is going on, where your money is going, and how customers are being treated. Don’t micromanage your employees and give them specific orders, but don’t neglect them and allow them to work however they want without consequence or worry.
Slowing down your growth
It sounds completely counter-intuitive to slow down your business growth. After all, why would you want to slow down if you’re gaining success? Shouldn’t you be capitalising on it?
While it’s true that business growth is usually a good thing, there is such a thing as growing too fast. You have to keep in mind that markets can fluctuate incredibly quickly. One minute a product will be the hottest holiday item and the next minute it might end up in bargain bins. The media has a funny way of generating excitement around products and then completely trashing on them once it’s revealed the product didn’t meet their expectations.
Just because your product or service is selling incredibly well during the first week, it doesn’t mean you can suddenly move into a new office and hire 10 more employees to cope with the growth. A sudden boost in sales doesn’t mean that you can afford to hire another dozen employees. Let the excitement fade away and give it some time before you make drastic changes. One of the biggest business killers is when a company hires too many employees or buys too many new appliances and technology to cope with a demand that isn’t there. You’ll end up firing employees early and selling off your new equipment before they can even be used. This is why it’s important to slow down your business growth and manage it properly instead of getting too far ahead of yourself.
Forgetting to diversify
Even Apple, the company famous for bringing the iPhone and iPad to the world, still has a market for older devices like the iPod. Apple diversifies their products to match different consumer needs. Aside from their standard iPhone, they have the iPhone plus which offers better performance and a larger screen, aimed at people who want a different experience to the standard iPhone.
Giving consumers choice like this is a fantastic way to continue growing your business and take it seriously. If you’re sitting on a single product because it sells well, then you’re neglecting the opportunities you have to market the same product towards a different audience or change the product slightly to match a different crowd’s needs. Listen to your customers, take their feedback into consideration, and don’t forget to diversify your products to get more attention.