This past week I had the privilege to be around the world’s most innovated Internet entrepreneurs – Matt Clark, the founder of the event is phenomenal. The people who were there make hundreds of thousands and even millions every month. They were all so helpful to us newcomers and they shared their seemingly infinite knowledge of e-commerce. The abundance of information at this event was unparalleled – but the one aspect that stood out from the rest was the overarching idea that you have to have a long-term mindset and you need to think of yourself as a Big Business.
Too many of us small entrepreneurs are building the groundwork for our companies with the mindset of whatever our position is right now. For instance, I am at the beginning of my physical products business, and before this event I was thinking in terms of how to maximize the here and now and taking small steps in order to do so.
This thinking stems from my past experiences, where I just want to get my foot in the door and then work slowly up from there with minimum foresight in mind. But if we want to be successful more quickly, we need to think of ourselves as an already established big business.
You Are In This For The Long-Term
What we need to do, as a group of entrepreneurs with regards to our businesses is to think that we are bigger than we are now. We must harness our ability to see the big picture; we have to tell ourselves we are in this for the long-term. We are developing a brand. Whether our objective is to have our own brand for life or to sell it later on – the mindset of longevity will be more lucrative no matter our outlook.
The array of speakers kept repeating “ask yourself, if you were in this for the long haul, what would you do now that will help you in the future?” For instance, we should all trademark our name, buy extra inventory, have a website, establish good relations with our suppliers, customers and freight forwarders, etc. We also should not limit ourselves to one platform to sell (amazon for example) – have your own online domain and sell on different venues.
Now if you do not have a physical product business skip over the part about inventory and focus on the relationship and marketing advice in this article.
Service-based businesses are successful solely on their ability to market and form good relationships with others.
Buy More Inventory
Something I just touched on was buying more initial inventory. This is something every beginning entrepreneur struggles with because we have limited capital and or we do not have full confidence in our brand or products.
Regardless of what you think, you should always buy more inventory; this will help when you do free promotions to get your name out there and it will ensure you will not run out when you pick up momentum. You should always have a plan to buy more of your products so that when you do run out, your next shipment is here and ready to be shipped to your customers.
Relationships Are Most Important
Perhaps the most salient aspect of business, something that is so obvious but nevertheless needs to be said: relationships are everything. You have to build a relationship with your customers, suppliers and shippers – this will help you in all your endeavors.
Treat everyone with respect and do things out of the ordinary. Many times we are frustrated with someone (either that be a Chinese supplier or an American customer) that we let our feelings of anger take over. In hindsight, nothing good comes out of this. This will only cause friction and it will be a time lapse on your relationship – avoid letting your emotions take over and always be respectful.
Personally, I have fallen victim to this and I vowed to never let this happen again. I was thinking in the present without actually taking into account on how this would affect the future relationships with the people I deal with. When you are nice to others and go above and beyond, you will inevitable get the better deals and more privileges than if you otherwise acted on your emotions.
Business is relationships. Life is relationships. Many people believe they have the right people skills and when they cannot connect with others they disregard their skills are inferior. The reality is we all need to work on these skills daily.
We should be reading books that promote a better overall mindset. More important than reading – you should get out there and form concrete relations with others and learn from them.
Another big thing with starting entrepreneurs is that we do not want to spend a lot of money up front. But in reality, this is paramount to our survival – if we do not spend aggressively at the beginning, we will never take off and be able to compete with the already pervasive brands out there. That is why it is folly to be timid in the primordial stages of your enterprise.
Spend money on inventory – as much as you need to sustain sales and then spend a lot on marketing. Marketing is the key to the enigma that is success. You can have the best product in the world, but if you never share your product through different mediums you will not be able to joust with the established brands.
I didn’t know what I was doing at the beginning. I had a very rough idea about where I wanted to go and how to get there, so what I did was try everything. From Google adWords, to Facebook ads, to Amazon pay-per-click to see what works and what doesn’t. There are so many strategies that may work; you just need to be willing to figure out which ones have the highest conversations for your business.
Realize This and You Will Flourish
Realize you are not a small business. No matter your present state – you should be in the mindset of BIG BUSINESS; you make decisions that a BIG BUSINESS would. There is no time to be timid in this world, you need to take action and be aggressive.
Remember, big businesses all started from nothing. They spent a lot at the beginning, often being spotted as being ‘over-aggressive’ – but this is paramount for survival while in the fight for market share.