I work with a lot of new entrepreneurs, because I love their passion and enthusiasm! I also want to see them succeed. They generally have a great idea about their products and/or services, but they don’t always know how to put the building blocks in place to get their business off to the best start.
Some of the most basic considerations are:
- Know your target customer group.
What is their “pain point” (or opportunity), and how are you trying to solve it?
- Know your value proposition.
What can you do better than others to address their pain point or opportunity?
- Know your addressable market.
How many target customers are there, and are they willing to pay for your products and/or services? Is the market big enough for you to have a viable business? How/where does your market get most of its information about products and/or services like yours?
- Know your competition.
What are others doing to address this target customer group? What products/services do they offer? How do they market and sell their goods?
- Know your business model.
How will you structure your business? How will you find and obtain customers? What channels will you use to sell and market: Online? Location-based? Hybrid approach?
- Know your finances.
What cash do you need to get started? When do you project your first sale? How will you manage expenses? What amount of working capital will you need to remain viable?
One of the first things new entrepreneurs should do is keep track of key contacts they make: investors, suppliers, strategic alliance partners, prospective clients, referral partners, etc. Names, phone numbers and emails should be collected and organized. Often folks resort to a spreadsheet when they first get started.
Rather than using a spreadsheet, there are some free Customer Relationship Management platforms (CRMs) out there (Zoho CRM, for example) that can help track and categorize not only contact details, but also activities and follow-ups. With a very small upcharge ($20/user/month for Zoho CRM Professional or $25/user/month for Salesforce Essentials) emails can also be tracked and linked to the contact record. They even offer free mobile options, so you have everything on your phone! And new card scanner applications – also free for some CRMs – can help you quickly and easily get information into your database without spending tons of time on your PC.
Everything is one place. No need to check emails, calendars, and notebooks to know when you last talked with someone and what the next steps are. Plus, a CRM will give you the reports and pipeline information you need to make better decisions and stay on top of your most pressing need – often that is sales!
They say you have to spend money to make money. A small CRM investment – in time and money – can make a world of difference when you have a million things on your plate. Once a CRM is up and running, it will save time and increase your productivity, which leaves more time for you to do the other things needed to build your business successfully.
If you would like help getting started with CRM basics, give us a call at 1-800-880-1960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you get just what you need to start off with a great process along with sales and marketing tools to grow and succeed!