Over the next several weeks we will be publishing extracts from:
Take The Plunge – 101 things you need to know before starting your own business
by Michael Carter
This week: Enthusiasm and selling
Look in the mirror. And if like us you’d prefer not to, find yourself a true friend – one who would tell you to your face that: ‘you look fat in that!’
The single most important part about going into business for yourself, is your enthusiasm. The mirror test (even based on cowardly reflections gleaned from your friend) is simply to confirm you are genuinely excited about the prospect ahead of you.
How do we know? We’ve done a hugely unscientific straw poll of entrepreneurs, each of whom when asked for the one thing that is responsible for their success has invariably given us several answers. ‘Hard work’ is almost always uttered first but then as the entrepreneur’s brain kicks into gear, ‘luck’ or ‘support of the family’ is unfailingly added. Then the entrepreneur’s alter ego kicks in, the one that knows most entrepreneurship is actually about selling, and therefore replays the question internally and remembers you wanted a single answer. In the spirit of ‘the customer is always right’ you are then given the single answer of ‘enthusiasm’.
Reading a biography of a successful business person might kindle a spark of enthusiasm but no book is going to give you the kind of dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasm you need to sustain you through some of the darker hours of the road ahead of you. (We know we keep mentioning ‘dark days’ but you wouldn’t want every day to be a perfect spring morning, would you?) Not even this book, full as it is of top tips to get ahead, is actually about charting a route to the promised land. Actually, it’s a lot more about helping you navigate away from the reefs of destruction.
We have also managed to sneak in the word ‘selling’. Almost every aspect of almost every business is about selling. If you make something or provide a service you’ll need to sell your product/service to would-be customers. You will possibly have to sell yourself to a landlord to be able to rent a property to operate from when cautiousness would make him want a more established tenant. The same applies to obtaining supplies and best prices.
But do we detect a triumphant grin on your face? Perhaps you think your web venture means the web will do your selling for you? Think again. Your website will only sell for you if you can convincingly ‘sell’ the site’s designer on your concepts – otherwise it will be a ‘me too’ site. Then you need to ‘sell’ your audience on visiting the site. And really good sites succeed by linking with other sites, which needs you to ’sell’ other site owners on the concept of linking to yours.
Top tip: Do it because you want to do it.
Useful website: www.amazon.co.uk for books while you are still in preparation mode