As a beginner business owner, it’s natural to feel like there’s a million things you have to do at any given moment.
From operations to marketing, and finance to legal matters, it can get overwhelming extremely fast especially if you’re not sure where to concentrate your efforts to generate maximum impact.
In fact, one of the biggest mistakes beginner business owners make is to complete task after task simply to get things done without first forming a big picture strategy.
Instead of wasting time and energy working on small things that don’t move the needle, the solution is to do the opposite:
Think big first and then break down what you need to do in order to move your business forward.
Here are the five main areas to focus on as a beginner business owner:
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Business Focus #1: Clarity
Whether you’re a beginner business owner or a serial entrepreneur, a lot of your success will come from clarity. If you’re clear about fundamental aspects of business such as what you sell and who you sell it to, then you can more efficiently and effectively get things done and get to where you want to be.
You can better communicate with others (your target audience, your team, your partners, etc.). You can implement the right strategies, tools, and systems that align with your goals. You can differentiate yourself from other businesses. You can even overcome obstacles a bit easier because you’re more focused on the outcome that you’re striving to accomplish.
On the other hand, a lack of clarity will make you waste time, energy, and resources on all the wrong things. You’ll be moving an inch in a hundred different directions. You’ll find it easier to give up once something doesn’t go as planned.
In short, focusing on clarity will significantly increase the chances your business will succeed.
To help you get clarity in terms of your business, here are 12 basic questions to consider:
Why are you starting your business?
What do you sell?
Who do you sell it to?
How do you reach and connect with them?
What problem do you help them solve or what goal do you help them accomplish?
How do you make your product or service available?
How do your customers learn about your business, product, or service?
What do you charge for your product and/or service and how do you get paid?
How do you differentiate yourself from the competition? How do you build your brand?
What does success look like for your business in one month, quarter, and year?
What tools and systems do you need to start, build, and scale your business?
What business stage are you in right now and what do you need to do in order to reach the next stage?
Business Focus #2: Customer
As you gain clarity in terms of your business, you also need to focus on understanding your target customer on a deeper level.
Without customers or clients, your business will cease to exist and without a thorough understanding of who they really are, you won’t be able to connect with them, engage with them, or convert them into paying customers.
This is most evident when aspiring entrepreneurs try to make their business cater to just anyone and everyone. This is a mistake because everyone does not like, buy, or support the same things so if you’re attempting to sell to everyone, then you’ll end up selling to no one.
What you can do, therefore, is to niche down. A niche is a subset of a larger group of people with specific, highly targeted needs and wants. If you focus on a specific niche, you can more productively (and profitably!) direct all your efforts towards serving them and solving their specific problems.
This strategy is so effective that most marketers even suggest creating an Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA)—a fictional but detailed profile of your perfect buyer persona including his or her name, demographics, characteristics, and behavior.
Here are 12 questions to help you identify and understand your target customer:
Who are they and what are their demographic traits?
What’s their story and background?
What are their values, priorities, wants, and needs?
What are their problems, obstacles, and fears?
What are their roles, goals, and desired results?
What kind of words, phrases, or language do they use?
What stories or anecdotes do they tell themselves?
How would you describe them and how do they describe or see themselves?
What do they want right now, within the next month, in the next year, and in life?
Where do they hang out online and offline? What do they do there and how long do they stay there?
What products and services have they bought? Why did they buy those?
What are they looking for in the brands, products, and services they consider?
Business Focus #3: Conversion
At the end of the day, your business’ main goal is to generate profits and this means you need to focus on conversion.
In this case, there are two aspects of conversion that need to be optimized:
01. Your conversion process - the step-by-step process required to attract a target customer and convert them into a paying customer. While this aspect includes a lot of factors and may look different for each business, here’s a broad overview:
Converting leads into prospects, and prospects into clients
Converting site visitors into subscribers, and subscribers into customers
Converting one-time customers into repeat customers
Converting customers into referrers/affiliate partners
02. Your conversion platform - where you intend the conversion to take place, usually on your website (the main hub of your online business) but it could also be through:
a discovery call
an email sequence
and many others
Remember that when you complete that first exchange of value for money, your business becomes an actual business. It’s definitely an exciting and validating experience when you’ve not only found the right people to serve but you’ve also been compensated for your products/services in exchange. In fact, some business owners would even celebrate this achievement by keeping and framing the first dollar they ever made!
Business Focus #4: Content
At this point, you've gotten clarity in terms of your business, you've identified the customer you intend to sell to, and you've successfully converted that person into a paying customer.
You now need to focus on driving consistent conversions by producing valuable and strategic content.
Rather than going to each prospect one by one yourself and selling to them one at a time, it’ll be more productive of you to find a way for them to go to you instead. This is where Content Marketing comes in.
According to the Content Marketing Institute:
Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Here’s another definition from Copyblogger:
Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
And one more from marketer Neil Patel:
It means that content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.
Notice the common key phrases used:
To attract and convert
While there are many types of content (blog posts, videos, live videos, podcast episodes, infographics, checklists, worksheets, case studies, interviews, white papers, and eBooks), here are three of the most effective ways to distribute your content:
Blogging (on your own website or on others’ as a guest)
Business Focus #5: Community
The fifth aspect you need to focus on as a beginner business owner is community.
Your community consists of your target customers of course, but more specifically everyone who engages with your brand directly or indirectly. These include your customers, clients, email subscribers, social media followers, website visitors, webinar attendees, fans, etc.
It’s worth noting that humans have this innate need to belong to a group. And since we're all part of communities in one way or another, there’s no doubt in the power this sense of belonging has, especially when it comes to marketing.
In fact, in the bestselling book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, marketer Seth Godin explains the power of community and describes a tribe as:
“…a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea… A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
What this means for you as a business owner is that you should consider uniting your community, communicating with them consistently, and possibly providing them with a way to connect with one another.
You can do this by:
sending email newsletters
enabling and responding to comments on your blog
starting a Facebook group
engaging with them through social media
streaming live video
facilitating in-person meet ups
and many more.
Even if you’re still a beginner business owner, it’s best to lay the groundwork as early as possible because it’ll be extremely helpful to stay in touch with your community on a consistent and ongoing basis. While there are numerous benefits, here are three of them:
01. Your community can be your source of inspiration from coming up with blog post ideas to creating products or service packages that they’ll be interested in. They are the exact people you intend to serve so it only makes sense to touch base with them regularly, meet them where they are on their journey, and get their input as you create solutions for them.
02. Your community can increase your brand awareness. Whether you realize it or not, your business is also your brand—how strong it is can depend on how connected and united your community is, and how they view or talk about you with others. Don’t forget that this also adds to your “know, like, and trust” factor and social proof.
03. You community can be a form of support system. Your tribe will no doubt share common struggles and problems, and having a community allows them to turn to you for advice (while cementing you as the leader and expert) and to each other for help (allowing them to make real connections). This process will then strengthen your group even more while keeping you and your community top of mind (thus increasing your competitive advantage).
Now that you’ve identified the five main areas to focus on, you can break down the steps, projects, and tasks you need to complete in order to move your business forward. All your efforts can be spent on the right strategies and systems, and you’ll have a reference of where you should (and should not) direct your time, energy, and other resources.
As a beginner business owner, you most likely have a lot on your plate at any given moment. While it may seem like you have unlimited tasks, you still need to make do with limited time, energy, and other resources.
Instead of spreading yourself too thin and simply completing task after task with no big picture strategy in place, consider focusing on these five main areas: clarity, customer, conversion, content, and community in order to productively (and profitably!) move your business forward.
Share in the comments below: Are you a beginner business owner? Which areas have you already been focusing on? Which areas do you still need to work on?
It’s time to take action!
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