By Ron Ben-Zeev
Launching your own business can be stressful and exhausting, leading many to wonder what they should be doing and where they could have gone wrong. There’s no right or wrong way to become successful but there are ways to make sure you’re doing all you can to reach your businesses full potential.
- Chase the sale, not the investor. How does a pizzeria make it? They don’t go out and try to find investors – they start selling pizzas, that’s how they stay in business. Too many focus on investors, and sometimes your story won’t resonate with the investor but it will with the buyer, and ultimately the buyer keeps you in business. If your business has no cash flow then you can’t stay alive, no matter who your investors are. Sales are essential to growth, if you focus on the sale and you can drive revenue then the investors will come to you.
- Pinpoint who cares. Pinpoint the people who care about your idea, who need your product, and ask them what you should be doing. When you ask, the customer will tell you what needs to be fixed and give you options to solve it. In the end, not only will they appreciate your concern, but if you successfully solve their problem then they are going to keep coming back.
- Don’t let the dark side keep you down. Unless there’s a team around you, you can’t succeed – someone always has to push you out or pull you up. You can’t be a giver all the time and you can’t be a taker all the time – finding balance is essential to being successful. The dark side happens when people don’t care about what they’re doing and when they don’t ask for help. Entrepreneurs are the best liars, they always say everything is going great but startup and entrepreneurial depression is a real thing – it’s not if it will happen, it’s when. Being an entrepreneur isn’t a happy life all the time, but if you surround yourself with people that can help it’s a much easier ride.
- Test the product. Sometimes we get too hung up on the product being right – better is the enemy of good. Get the product out there and let people test it, let them break it, have them come back with feedback and then do it again. Your product is good enough, push it out there and get people to see it. If you wait for it to be perfect that time will never come.
- Get out there and meet your customers. Phone calls and emails are not good enough. You need to be able to see someone and have them hold, touch and play with your product. You won’t really know what their blind spot is, what they’re looking for, what problems they need to fix, until you interact with them in person. Nothing compares to face to face interaction.
- Everything is human to human. Whether your business is B2B or B2C you are always working with other people. Treat people as people, not as a business, a job role or a client. Until you can connect on that personal level it’s not going to work.
- Always listen. If you keep quiet and listen, the customer will tell you what they need. That’s the problem – we get into so much of a hurry to tell them what we think they want to hear, to tell them our vision, that we forget to ask them what they need. Ask them what keeps them up at night, how can you make an impact? Stop listening just to prepare your own answer, listen to what they are saying so you can address their questions.
Ron Ben-Zeev is the CEO and President of World Housing Solution Inc., a company that focuses on building sustainable structures for the U.S. military. Ron is also very active in the Central Florida community – where he organizes local TEDx events, is an adjunct professor at Rollins College and is the founder of several entrepreneurial groups. You can find him on Twitter at @Rbenzeev.