Most of us start our journey of business ownership with a passion and a heart for the pursuit of our own thing, not beholden to anyone else to make decisions for us or supervise our decisions. We love the freedom and the sense of adventure, and the ability to pursue something that enriches our lives and pays for the food on our tables. We believe in finding work that is consistent with who we are, and we also believe that others will want to follow us, buy from us, and also experience all of the value that we can bring to their world.
If you want to have a successful business, though, whether you work for yourself or someone else, you need to know very specifically who you are serving and what makes you uniquely qualified to deliver the value that you say you are offering. You have to understand what risks you are taking and why you are taking them on this specific market segment.
You also need to have the discipline to do the things that you should do even when you don’t want to do them. I think the term today is “adulting” when you make those types of decisions. And in a new business, knowing who you serve, how you will serve them and making the tough decisions each day to spend your time focused there is a very adult decision.
So, while passion and heart goes a long way, building structure and strategy around your passion will help you relate and deliver better to your ideal customer, and support you in taking risks that are more likely to have a reward for you. If you want to improve your success:
- Create a very specific customer profile of the people you serve, and then test your theory. Conduct a survey. Invite some folks to lunch. Ask for feedback from the people you believe that you serve, then listen carefully to what they say. Take appropriate actions based on what you are learning.
- Face your fears and begin doing the things that you don’t like to do, but will bring you success. Prepare for and attend a networking event where you set a goal to meet certain people or a certain number of people. Practice your elevator speech until it begins to feel like it’s consistent with who you are and how you want to be seen by others.
- Get outside of your comfort zone and take action, rather than being paralyzed by analysis and awaiting the “perfect time” to take action. Moving forward fearlessly means having a plan, taking some risks and learning from mistakes.
Your heart is only one of your guides on this journey. Creating strategy and structure in addition to identifying your target market, meeting them and fine-tuning while you are learning about them will require courage, discipline and a positive mindset. Your heart will benefit from having that type of support.