Even though I’m starting this new business you are currently enjoying, I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than 18 years and managed up to 12 employees. And if I learnt anything it’s how to grow a sustainable business from scratch. You absolutely have to keep in mind some crucial factors if you want this idea to grow into something that will bring you some benefits. Some are practical like the fact that you have to grow your email list, some are more about a state of mind like finding your core values.
1- Never say, “it’s not a business”
At least don’t try to tell yourself this absolute nonsense. Few are the ones who can afford to dedicate their whole life to charity work or leisure. If you are reading this you are not one of them. You can tell your family and friends whatever you want so that they leave you in peace and don’t assault you with any annoying judgement, but be clear to yourself. Remember you are working on your future business, and if it’s not bringing any benefits, for now, you definitely want it to grow in that direction.
You must envision the project with the milestones and end in mind.
2- Find your core value and use it to serve your clients
You have to serve your clients or future clients. That means whatever your business is about, if you think about what you can give, chances are you’ll catch no one’s attention. This would be like bragging. I’m sorry to use that harsh word, but if you make your business about yourself, don’t ask anyone to be interested in it. We are all interested in one person: ourselves. Or our loved ones, but anyway not in a complete stranger’s desire to earn money, even worse from you.
Maybe you’ll find some of your relatives or friends who will praise your offer just because they love you, but I believe you don’t want to rely on them to build your clientele.
Then there is the core value point. You can’t get noticed by being a pale copy of what many others are already doing. You are merely starting, there’s no way you will stand out and be seen by potential clients if you are a fish in the middle of the ocean. On the over hand, if you use your core values and gifts to shine like no other can except yourself, then you are interesting.
I think that the term for combining what you can do, what you love to do (that I call your core values), and what people need and are ready to pay for is “Ikigai“. For my part, I call it “use your core values to serve”.
3- Get organized!
Please don’t start without knowing where you are going. Even if you need to readjust your direction from time to time, and you absolutely will, you must know where you want to go. Don’t drive blind, don’t expect to go anywhere if you can’t put an address on your GPS.
When you know where you are going, you plan the route to get there. You must build your business keeping that image in mind. It’s crucial to make a plan. Without a plan, you’ll keep going one step forward two steps backward, at the very least you’ll be going in circles.
You want to build something. Make some blueprints and refer to them or correct them as often as needed.
4- You are first and foremost a CEO
You are in it to build a business, not to play around, so you have to keep in mind that your first task is to run a business. Then you can work on your content, being creative or not, and do the job. But first, you are a CEO and you want your business to be successful, so this must remain your first goal.
You can’t merely do what pleases you, you do what’s needed for your business to actually be a business.
5- Don’t build your business or brand on your name.
This one is not compulsory, but I definitely want you to consider it and reflect on it.
Sometimes in business just like in life, things go wrong, you make mistakes, or simply everything slows down. You also need to take some distances regarding your work. You need time to rest, time to reflect. Sometimes you want to change directions.
I find it really helpful to grow my business with a name that is not mine. It definitely helps me dissociated its difficulties from mine. Being a homepreneur, it also helps to dissociate my business life from my personal life.
I don’t say that you have to change your business name, or that you are doomed if you use your name for your business, I’m giving you a little tip that really made a difference for me.
6- Do what you love when you share your work
Sharing definitely is overwhelming for me. Maybe that’s because I’m in my forties, and I grew up without the internet, not to mention social media. Maybe that’s because I’m an introvert and I need some quiet time to rest. Scrolling on social media can easily be taken as a resting time, but that ends up ruining my introversion needs. Or maybe that’s because I’m having so much empathy that I can have my heart broken by others’ problems even if I’ve never met them in real life.
Whatever it is, sharing on the internet and social media is not natural to me. At least, I’ve learnt that some ways suit me well, while others are just plain pain. I love writing some blog posts, but not too often. Recently I discovered that despite my fears, I enjoy creating videos for YouTube. I thought I loved Instagram but I eventually need to take some distances because it brings me more distraction and negativity than it serves me.
Try it and then sort and keep it simple. Delegate and keep to the basics for what you don’t love, and be consistent and share quality for what you choose to really use.
7- Grow your email list
This is my last point but it’s really the biggest one! Any followers you have on any platform except yours are not your followers, but the ones of the platform. Your people are the ones that entrust you with their email address. Only they are really worth your attention and sweat if I dare say.
You can definitely grow your email list and start to build your audience, and your future clientele without the hassle of a website. This could be the subject of another post, but for now, think email. It’s not the logo, the blog or having some beautiful design on a page that has your name on it that matters. What really matters is your email list.
There are various ways to grow your email list. But in the end, there is only one thing that will catch people’s attention: how you serve them. You’ve got it, to grow your email list or to grow your business, two things: core values and service!
There we are, 7 things you must do to grow your business from scratch. One thing I want to add is it can take some time. If everything is brand new for you and you have to learn a lot on the way, it can take even longer. But by all means, be patient and never quit! Only the ones that don’t quit can succeed.
Have a great day!
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