It is very unlikely to be of this generation and not have heard of Usain Bolt. The Jamaican athlete, who has carried the Olympic gold medal eight times and is currently holding the world record as the fastest man in history, with a record of both 100 metres (9.58 seconds) and 200 metres (19.19 seconds). Like most sportsmen, Bolt ascended to fame not because of a wealthy family pedigree or coming first in his races but because of years of investing in his craft, training and preparing for that few seconds on the track. Business can be likened to sport. To excel at it you have to apply two core principles, strategy and discipline. Simply setting up a business and expecting it to be successful without properly planning and executing your plan for it is a perfect recipe for failure. Have you recently launched your own business or you have been in business with little success? Then you probably need to apply these simple steps to your business with diligence and experience remarkable results.
- Have an excellent product and invest in your branding: except you are the newest inventor that just returned from Silicon Valley, then its most likely that your product will be something many people are currently doing. So, with many competitors in the market, why should customers buy from you? This is where excellent product with great branding comes in. Your product should be reliable and meet your customers’ needs adequately, as much as possible, way better than your competitors.
Next invest in your brand, let your customers be able to identify your product with a great emotion; class, ease, comfort, luxury, affordability etc.
- Create a marketing strategy and implement it: the assumption most start-ups have is that when they have a great product, customers will come lining up at their doorstep. But that is a major business fallacy. Having a great product is just the first step. Now you need to find out who your customers are, how exactly do they prefer your product, how much are they willing to pay for it, where are they and how can you reach out to them and get their attention. When you have answered all these questions, get radical on putting it out there. Not advertising your business is like winking behind sunshades, you are acting but no one can see you.
- Customer service: this is an extension of your marketing strategy. Without customers there is no business. So, you want to invest time training yourself and your staff on how to attract, satisfy and retain your customers. Let your customers’ experience with you be so amazing that they have to tell their friends about you. Nigeria is still basically communal in their relationships, so if one person enjoys your services, there is a likelihood that they would share it with their friends and family.
- Treat your staff as assets: if your dream is to grow into a big business, it means that at some point you’re going to have to employ more hands to handle responsibilities. This means that your customers will interface with your staff at one time or the other. If you have a great product and a horrible staff, your customers will conclude that your business is horrible. To avoid this, cultivate a team spirit among your staff, let them understand that the success of the company is dependent on everyone’s input. If the success is dependent on everyone, then let some benefits like leave, promotions, bonuses, salary increment etc. also be enjoyed by everyone. If your staff feel appreciated and acknowledged, they will treat your busines with care.
- Be consistent: whatever strategy you adopt for your business if you don’t maintain consistency, growth will elude you. Consistency helps you get better in your trade or services, and builds trust and loyalty among your customers.
With these few points of ours, we hope we have been able to convince you and not confuse you that strategy and discipline are two important ingredients for business growth and viability. Ok, that was on a lighter note, but if you hope for the best in your business then you need to invest the best into it.