In Good Company Blog
4 Essential Business Lessons Not Just Learned But Incorporated: Lesson 1 – Focus
The learning curve for all entrepreneurs is a steep one that never quite flattens or slows. While it’s great to learn a lot, the pace and intensity makes it hard to absorb, never mind implement, the lessons learned. Kind of like when you used to cram for an exam. You knew the information really, really well for about a day before it became lost in the deep recesses of your brain. That’s why, at the end of the year, it’s really important to reflect on what you’ve already learned before you outline what else you want to accomplish. This is especially important when you are a very small business as you probably don’t have the resources to learn expensive lessons over and over again.
I asked a few entrepreneurs to share their best business lesson of 2012 as well as how they’ve changed their business. The lessons are nothing new. We’ve all learned them – probably several times over. But what’s really compelling is how these entrepreneurs incorporated these lessons into their business practice. They spent time digesting before reaching for more. As a result, their businesses have evolved and improved considerably. Use their example as motivation to do the same!
Lesson 1: Focus
Nicole McCullum, Captivate Designs
Website Design, Branding & Internet Marketing
Like many entrepreneurs Nicole was spending a lot of time and money on marketing her business, particularly online. Why? To get new clients of course! And it seemed like it was working. After all, the more she put out, the more came in. Nevertheless things felt scattered and reactive. She was too busy, often with work she didn’t love. She began to wonder whether these marketing initiatives were a wise investment of her time and resources. Despite the steady interest from new clients, her business was not becoming easier or more streamlined.
So Nicole decided to change her approach. Instead of adding more to the marketing mix, she decided focus on what was right in front of her – her existing client base. She determined that she could influence her existing customer base (and thereby her sales and level of business) by doing three things: Further honing her area of expertise by defining her niche (not only by industry but business size as well); reinvesting time in customer service improving the overall customer experience and turnaround time; and educating her existing customers on other products that her firm offered.
The results have been terrific. Being more deliberate and discriminating with her marketing activities makes it easier to only working with the kinds of clients she absolutely loves. Further, by focusing more on the service she is providing (instead of relentlessly looking for anyone who wants to be a client) and narrowing her niche, she has been able to raise her prices and hone her value proposition even more. Her business is stronger, her clients are getting more, and she is happier. What a coup.