Not Harvard, not Stanford, not Wharton, not Berkeley – no business school in the world can prepare you for the hurricane that will hit you when you enter the real world of business. No wonder then, that the virtual world is chock-a-block with articles about “What they never taught you at business school”. The sterility of the classroom is far removed from the near chaotic landscape that you will be confronted with once you begin your business building journey.
The Product Matters
Venture capital is not the answer to all your prayers for the simple reason that it’s the product that matters not the big bucks. Make sure that your product meets a distinct need of your prospective customers; a need that is not being catered by existing players. If you are making a foray into a crowded market, your product must have features that can convince clientele that it is demonstrably superior to those of your competitors.
There was a time when a big splash advertisement campaign could manufacture demand for an average product that did not really have any lasting calibre. In today’s connected world, it would take mere days for Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter to destroy any semblance of credibility of your company. On the flip side, this very same social media can be harnessed to maximize first hand word-of-mouth feedback regarding the intrinsic worth of your brand.
Stay connected with your customers. Never forget that the time invested in satisfying a customer need will give you unimagined dividend. A satisfied customer is by far the most efficient advertiser for you. Through word-of- mouth and on social media platforms, the happy customer will proclaim the values and virtues of your products. Unimaginable but true – you make a profit out of your business with the customer and, to top it all, he takes pleasure in endorsing your product – and at no charge.
Publicity campaigns, advertising in digital, visual and print media are an integral part of building a business. Institute a system that tracks the number of leads that are being generated from each channel of advertising. Track the actual conversion rate so that you get a clear idea of which are the campaigns that are giving you the biggest bang for your buck. That is where you should be investing your resources.
The people you hire should share your passion and be ready to obsess about their work – ready to ‘work like a beaver, think like a fox, charm like a cat and see their veterinarian twice a year’. Keep in mind that it is only machines that have a limited capacity, human beings have unlimited capacity. Be a friend, philosopher and guide to your people and help them to unleash their potential.
Your money matters and so does that of your investors. Make every cent count but remember that no matter how much money you invest in the business, the road ahead will not change. It will be an uphill struggle but focusing on the resources that matter with the right attitude will get you to your dream destination one day in the not too distant future.