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Startups are just like Baking an Apple Pie

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They’re all about knowing 2 things: what you want to bake? and what is the recipe to get there?

If you search the web for material on startups and small business, you will find lots on setting goals, creating strategies, forecasting the financials, making marketing plans, finding your niche, and on and on and on. You get what I mean. There’s a surplus of startup tips and suggestions.

However, these tips, suggestions, and reminders are nothing, really, without a step by step guide. For example, say you envision the best apple pie there is. You know you have to use flour, water, eggs, milk, and, oh yes, the apples, but if you don’t have the recipe, the idea of a pie stays just that, an idea of a pie. Will you ever be able to taste the apple pie if you don’t find out how much of each ingredient you need, or how long it needs to stay in the oven? Not likely.

Will you ever see your startup if you don’t create the step by step recipe for your business?No.

Below are KEY actionable ideas (or recipe starters) that business owners need to consider when developing their business idea. And I mean it. These are absolutely key:

  • Create a goal, and then a strategy to meet it.
  • You need to EXCEED – not just meet — the needs of your customers.
  • Create a great product and sell it at a competitive price.
  • Ask yourself: Why should a customer buy your product? How is it different from anything else out there? Why would they care about it?
  • Ninety percent of first impressions are made in the first 30 seconds. Make those 30 seconds count. Less is always more.
  • Your business must have an internet presence. Internet retailing is growing 15-20 % per year while brick and mortar retail is only growing 1-3 %. No explanation needed.
  • Empower your staff and management to fix customer problems whether your company is right or wrong.
  • Follow the 80-20 rule with forecasting profits: 80 percent of sales come from 20 percent of a company’s products or services.
  • Measure and adapt. Measure and adapt. Measure and adapt.
  • “The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.” What we mean is that great ideas or products don’t offset bad pricing, marketing programs, forecasting or customer service.
     

I’ve saved clients over $1 million last year by advising them on managing inventory and stock; focusing on winners; and eliminating the 80% that doesn’t sell. Similarly, the best and cheapest marketing strategy is satisfied and repeat customers who provide great word of mouth referrals.

Want a quick road to failure? Remain uncompetitive… forget to satisfy your customer.

There’s a great quote from the classic, “Alice in Wonderland.” It goes like this:

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road can you get you there.”

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