Many of us entrepreneurs and solopreneurs get gung-ho on the gazillion ideas that we have. Our brains function double, triple, or even more in overtime drive in coming up with new items for our businesses. We think ‘Oh wow, this product or service is going to be epic.’ Well, our products or services may be epic, but do our businesses have the internal support and systems needed to accommodate those epic products or services?
We’ve all seen it. Those few lucky entrepreneurial souls that get their big break of exposure on reality television. Shows like Shark Tank and The Profit are the wishful places where many of us would like to be. Deep down many entrepreneurs and solopreneurs have this covetous part in us where we think ‘Wow if I had exposure like that for my business, running my business would be easy sailing. I’d make a butt load of money and live my dreams on the sandy shores of Bali.’ But would we really?
Because of the “Oprah Effect” influence, people would cling to her every word and run to buy whatever she suggested.
Everyone loves Oprah (or at least a lot of people do). During her television series, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah would feature amazing products and services from entrepreneurs or business owners. Because of the “Oprah Effect” influence, people would cling to her every word and run to buy whatever she suggested. The “Oprah Effect” has been coined as an expression in which Oprah “endorses” a product or service. Businesses endorsed by her would then experience a huge increase in the demand for their product or service. Due to the high demand for these businesses’ products or services, I’ve seen some of them that were featured on her show go out of business. Why?
The same thing happened to a particular business on ABC’s Shark Tank. Yesterday I caught the very last part of a previously run show that originally aired in January of this year. At the end of this couple’s pitch to the “sharks” (or investors), they caught the attention of the sharks and finally chose to accept a deal with one of them. The idea that these two entrepreneurs had was so needed in the world and obviously, many of Shark Tank‘s audience felt the same way. Curious as to the outcome of their company and the investment that this “shark” made with them, I immediately did what any nosy person would do. I did a Google® search to see where their business stood today. After all, it is 11 months after they were featured on the popular television show so surely they must be rolling in the dough! I landed on the company’s website to find that the company only had four products available and they were all on sale! When I saw their website, I was trying to find out more about what happened to their company.
I. Was. Dumbfounded. During my search for the company on Google®, I saw on The Better Business Bureau’s website that they had an “F” rating. I read the reviews. The underlying problem was that they couldn’t meet the demand that was placed on their business—even before being seen on Shark Tank. Due to the exposure on Shark Tank, it was hard for the entrepreneurs to fill the orders. I’m not even sure what happened to the shark that had invested in their products.
Unfortunately, I have seen this happen a lot with many entrepreneurs including people that I know personally as well. Many entrepreneurs start off with an amazingly awesome product and or service and they ended up going out of business because they didn’t prepare properly for growth. Their businesses didn’t possess the capacity (scalable business models and systems in place) that success would bring them.
Are you ready to expand, entrepreneur or solopreneur?
The business world screams “Oh, I need more traffic to my business, I need more traffic to my blog, I need more traffic to my website, I need more traffic to my landing page, I need more people in my group.” The list can go on and on. And, of course, the gurus out there will certainly tell you how to buy ads and boost your posts to get more traffic, but do they tell you what to do once you have all that traffic?
While traffic and being seen and heard is important, it’s not the only thing to focus on. What will you do with the traffic that you’ve conjured up? Where do the customers go once they go through your sales funnel? Do you have delivery systems in place to deliver your product or service to them? If you have products, what about your customer service policy? Do you have enough inventory to cover the demand for your product? Do you have systems in place when a customer has a problem? Do you have support or additional hands on deck to help you with your membership community? If you offer services, do you have systems in place for when a client signs on with you? Seriously, as an entrepreneur or solopreneur, there are so many questions and aspects to think about that building the empire that you thought once was really fun and exciting, has now become overwhelming and a bit of a nightmare.
Instead of grabbing for more, what are you doing now with what you have? Develop and tighten the systems needed to allow for growth in your business first.
Wish and hope for the exposure, the money, and the influence in your business, but make sure you prep for it before it happens.
Unless you’re a geek like I am regarding systems development, you may find this very boring and unsexy. And although it may be boring and unsexy, it is a necessity. If you want a business that has a legacy, you’ll need to focus, have a strategy, and possess a system(s) to execute those plans. Below are 4 things to focus on as you build your empire so you don’t get caught up in a rollercoaster that never stops.
- Your vision and your brand. It all starts here. Where are you going? What do your business and life look like? I always start every consultation off with the “Vision and the Journey Blueprint” (See post BL106: Why You’ll Be Mediocre In Your Business and Brand to grab a copy of your blueprint) because you’ll need to know what you want in order to take proper action to get to your ultimate goal. You need to envision and know where you’re going first before you start creating strategies and tactics. Don’t underestimate the power your brand has on EVERYTHING inside and outside your business. People tend to think that the brand is just having consistent colors, imagery, typography, and a cool logo, but the brand goes much deeper than that.
- A solid business model. How do you plan to make money? What value will you offer? What does your money map look like? How will you determine your pricing strategy? What will you need immediately and for the future to deliver value and nurture your customers as you grow?
- Strong, laser-targeted marketing. Marketing is not just about creating brand awareness but also about helping your customers move succinctly through the customer journey process. Remember, you’re giving value as well as receiving value. Your marketing needs to serve as a two-way street.
- Systems. Systems are what have helped build the mega brands like McDonald’s®, Starbucks®, Apple®, and Amazon® into what they are today. You best believe those companies didn’t impulsively “wing it”. They may have “winged it” in the very early stages of their businesses but they had to build strategically to handle their capacity for growth. If the mega brands were impulsive or reactive, they wouldn’t be able to grow to the proportion of what they are today. Think about the following questions. What do you need now to operate effectively with the traffic that you currently have? When you receive more traffic in your business, what will you do to handle that traffic? How and what do you need to support growth and take care of your customers? Will you need to hire people? What system will you use or develop the customer intake process so that your customers will have a consistent experience with your brand each time he or she interacts with it? How do you plan to take care of collecting money, recording accounts payable and receivables, handle overdue invoices, etc.? I understand hustle, but hustle without strategy and a system(s) to back that strategy up, is a surefire way to burn out and go completely belly up (out of business). You don’t want to keep spinning your wheels with little or no progress towards where you want to go with your empire.
In order to expand successfully and efficiently, as I mentioned in post BL110 The Entrepreneur and Burnout Part 1. you, the entrepreneur or solopreneur, need to expand within yourself (mindset and out of comfort zones) as well as in the business. Expansion requires you to think differently (new mindset) and execute differently. What got you to this point in your business, I guarantee, will not get you to the next level. You’ll have to play a different game which requires a different strategy, a different set of systems, and a different set of tactics each time you expand.
Hustle without strategy and a system(s) to back that strategy up is a surefire way to burn out and go completely belly up (out of business).
Recently, I was presented an opportunity for my business. I had to decline because that opportunity didn’t line up with my brand’s values. Your brand is one of the first steps you need to take in building your empire. And no, I’m not referring to you getting a logo done or spending an arm and leg to understand your brand, especially if you don’t have the funds for it. What I’m referring to is discovering and expressing more of who you are and what you stand for. It is possible to D.I.Y. your brand if you take the time to do so. It’s more important to develop the framework for your brand first than to rush to get a logo professionally done without having a stable foundation in place first. Taking the time to develop this can keep you from spinning your wheels unnecessarily (which is why I was able to turn that opportunity down) and can help you avoid falling for the shiny tactic syndrome. Don’t underestimate the power of planning and delving deep into your brand. Planning and following through with strategy allows you to focus solely on only those things that will lead your business forward instead of backward or stagnant.
Our The Busy Entrepreneur’s Guide To Developing A Brand In 60 Days Or Less (TBEG for Branding) helps you to delve deeper into your brand’s identity. I always tell people that branding and design agencies are not supposed to tell you who you are. They’re supposed to help you uncover or enhance more of who you are. TBEG for Branding is an entrepreneur or solopreneur’s 114-page planning guide with 33 templates to help you develop the inner (your vision, your core values, your messaging, your brand story, your brand personality and voice, your customers) and the outer (how your brand looks) aspects of your brand at a deeper level. Click the image or the big red button below to check out what’s in the guide.
If you need help walking through the process of developing and or defining systems for your brand, click here to schedule an appointment to speak with us.