by Karen Jensen | Featured Contributor
In a perfect world, customers and clients would be lined up outside your door, your email Inbox would be overflowing, and your website would consistently be number one in SEO.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs have changes in their business models. No one has represented this better than Oprah. She fearlessly left a successful television show to start her own channel. She has continued that pioneer spirit by diversifying her brand even further with Weight Watchers, movies, etc.
Diversification should be part of every small business strategy. Just because your market is flowing a certain way NOW, that doesn’t mean it will continue.
How to stay on top of your business? As the founder and president of my own company, I’ve learned the importance of benchmarking and measuring how well my strategies are performing.
In marketing and advertising, there are any number of free tools that have been a part of my strategy since early on. I may never get to page one for a search (that really can be ok), but I know exactly how many visitors go to my site, which one of my posts is doing well (and which one’s aren’t) on every social media outlet I have.
Staying connected is critical. Decide what you believe in as a company. I consider every post, every blog and every interview a chance to portray my company in a good (or terrible) way. At networking events, I put aside personal concerns and focus on who I want to connect with and making sure I’m never dismissive of people who come up and speak to me.
What are my financial metrics and how are they performing based on historical data? I know exactly how much I’ve spent on supplies for the last seven years! I think of this as the “Prius Effect”, where having access to data changes how you behave. I’ve watched incidental spending decline as my business has grown. In the beginning, I wasted a lot of money buying things I thought I should have, or things other people told me I absolutely needed.
Stay current in your industry and see how you can expand your business to new industries. Over the last several years, I’ve expanded outside of my core business of technology solutions to smarter city solutions and workforce solutions. Technology is impacting literally every aspect of business, creating opportunities and making some things obsolete.
Become your own subject matter expert – about your industry and your company. People respect knowledge and well thought out ideas. I have an opinion on frontier technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence that isn’t what most people are talking about. The truth is – implementing blockchain at this point is at best, theoretical, and artificial intelligence doesn’t really exist right now. A more accurate term for today’s artificial intelligence would be data and/or predictive analytics. There aren’t any machines making human decisions – it’s going to take a long time for us to feed all the data into the machines that they would need to know. There are also ethical considerations that aren’t getting the attention they deserve.
You won’t be an entrepreneur until YOU think you are. If you are still searching “how to be an entrepreneur”, you probably aren’t quite there yet. But you can get there.
All the best to small businesses and entrepreneurs everywhere!
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