Guest Post by: Karen Wessels, co-founder and COO of VA Connect
“Fortune always favours the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself.”
- PT Barnum
P.T. Barnum was an entrepreneur in the 19th century and his quote stands true to this day, for both men and women entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs bravely forge forward and will dare to go where no man (or woman) has gone before. We know the countless hours you’ve put into growing your business - the thankless menial tasks you’ve conquered - the sweat and tears shed to make this venture a success. As an aspiring entrepreneur you may wonder at times what are the missing links to transition from your business’s current state to success? We may look at other successful entrepreneurs and feel that they make the leap look quite easy.
I have listed some of the arenas below that I believe we as entrepreneurs need support with in order to become successful.
Find a mentor.
Who better to learn from than someone who has been there before? You may seek a mentor who has been in your shoes in your industry or a business person that you feel you can relate to and learn from. A great mentor will help you keep the bigger picture at the forefront of your mind whilst you build your business from the ground up.
By this I mean understand where your strengths lie and be willing to delegate the rest. Focus on the tasks that will directly impact on growing your business and offer your team the opportunity to shine by supporting you with the rest of your workload.
Understand the Power of Selling Skills.
So you may come from a technical or admin background, however, I cannot state strongly enough how important selling skills are. You will be using these skills not only to negotiate with clients, but also to persuade and motivate staff, drive better bargains with suppliers, and so on.
Get to grips with your USP.
In order to bring your product/service to market, you need to understand your Unique Selling Proposition. What value does your product or service offer? Of what benefit will it be to the buyer? How will the buyer’s life (business or otherwise) improve once they have signed up with you? Harness this and the world is your oyster!
Have a marketing strategy.
It is highly recommended to draw up a client avatar. Write down all the attributes of what your ideal client will look like, everything from an alias, to hair colour, education level and geographic location. Once you’ve completed this, plan your marketing strategy. What channels will you use to showcase your product or services? How will you increase sales? What is your competitive advantage?
Hiring the right Talent.
Instead of using the typical avenues to employ support staff, why not gain better insight into potential employees’ psyche by asking them questions like “If you didn’t have to work, why come into the office?” or “Why do you do what you do?” The way they answer will help you understand their motivation and interests better, and this will show you whether they are a great fit for your team, and ensure that they share the long-term vision of your business.
Stop overthinking everything and take action! I’m sure you’ve heard of the expression “Paralysis by Analysis”. By the time you’ve thought about how to take things to market, thought about your strategy and the 9 million other things that entrepreneurs need to take into consideration, the ship has sailed. Take immediate action. Just know, it’s okay to fail, we all have. The important part to keep in mind is to learn from these failures and do it even better the next time!
Karen Wessels is the co-founder and COO of VA Connect, a South African virtual assistant platform that provides outsourced administrative support. Prior to establishing VA Connect, Karen spent over 10 years in different sales, marketing & admin support roles. Having worked with MDs, SMEs and professionals, she is very familiar with managing different workloads within tight deadlines. This has equipped her with the invaluable skills required to run a successful VA business. Follow Karen on her Personal Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+
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