Every entrepreneur starts with a spark; like a novelist or scriptwriter, a thread of a problem appears in their mind’s eye and they just can’t shake it. This is it – the idea. The one that is going to change things for them (and, if they’re thinking right, their customers).
The problem is from there, things quickly run away from us. We start thinking about our products, pricing, marketing, social media, logos and branding, ideal customer avatars, and more. Before we know it, we’re elbows deep in designing our own website and we’ve really forgotten about serving our customers at all.
The problem is while we may end up with a beautiful website, logo, and social media pages… we’ve not actually sold a thing.
And no sales = no business.
No Sales = No Business
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being prepared and branding is important, even the best branding in the world won’t sell a product no one wants. When you’re starting a new business, releasing a new product, or a new service, the most important factor is to take what you’ve got to market as soon as possible.
Why Take Your Product or Service to Market Before You’re “Ready”
“But… don’t I need a website, and business cards, and social media profiles?” Well, sure you do, but you can start without them, especially if you’re a service-based business. When you’re just testing the market you can easily reach out to potential customers or use online marketplaces to share your offering and gauge interest.
Don’t Stall Out
Too many business ideas stall out in the early stages, either because their founders don’t know how to take their idea to market, they don’t know how to market (and run out of money quickly), they’re too scared to take the next steps, or they discover there is no market for their offering.
So, how do you avoid this for your own business? Take your new product or service to market quickly and start getting sales. If you don’t get any sales even after offering it to your ideal customers, you know it’s an idea you’ll have to ditch – at least for now. You’ll also quickly discover your own shortcomings and can learn what you need to move forward or outsource the problem to someone who is equipped to deal with it.
And, if you find there is interest, you can start learning how to deliver your product or service and tweak it to be even more marketable.
Your Sales are the Beating Heart of Your Business
As Mark Cuban wrote way back in 2012, “No sales, no company.” While it’s not a revolutionary statement, it is one that too many new business owners seem to forget. If you don’t get sales, there is no blood pumping in your business. With no blood (aka money) there is no way to grow. Often, we like to think of business as a piece of us, or as a noble cause, but we’ve got to understand that at the core of it all a business is supposed to do is generate revenue.
Your business is a vehicle to do bigger and better things, but there’s no gas if you’re not generating income. It’s great to have goals bigger than simply making as much money as possible, and all great businesses have a “why”, but we can’t overlook that all that matters is that there are enough sales to sustain and grow the business. No sales means your business dies.
So how can you generate sales quickly? Here are 3 quick tips to take your new product or service to market quickly.
3 Tips to Take Your Product to Market ASAP
- Get Comfortable with Good Enough
Do you know why some entrepreneurs have created and sold three businesses while another has yet to take their first to market? Without getting into arguments about the definition of an entrepreneur, the reason is because person-A has become comfortable with achieving “good enough”, while the other is looking for perfect.
Is a free Shopify layout as “perfect” as a custom one? No, but it works. Whatever it is in your business, you just need to take it to the point where it functions – a bad sales email won’t do anyone any favors, but revising and revising until it is perfect doesn’t work either. Get used to “good enough”.
- Find a Few Ideal Customers and Market to Them
You don’t need to perfect Facebook ads or afford a national marketing campaign when you’re first taking something to market – find where your ideal customers are hanging out (if you’re doing your research right you should know this anyway) and ask them about whether or not they’re interested, or advertise to them there directly. A handful of ideal customers will let you know if your product or service is worth pursuing further without the costly time and money investment ads and other marketing channels involve.
- Don’t Get Hung Up on Aesthetics
In our modern age aesthetics are important, but only because it is so fast and easy to whip up something that looks pretty good. The crutch of the wantrepreneur is that they forever dabble and play with updating their logos, fonts, branding, and website. For most businesses, you can set aside a day or two at the most to whip up a website and logo that communicates what you do to anyone who needs to know.
If you’re spending more than that, it must be because your website is your product. If you’re struggling with the tech stuff, outsource the build to someone else (Jarhead Consulting for Instance ;-)) or use an easy website platform like Wix [link: www.wix.com] or Squarespace [link: www.squarespace.com] and upgrade to a custom WordPress design later when the sales you’ve generated can pay for it.
Sales should be the lifeblood of your business – when you focus on sales, your business will grow naturally.