Seven Strategies Helpful in Building a New Business
This month marks the fifth anniversary running my own business. Given the failure rates of new businesses in the first three-to-five years, that’s worth celebrating.
Five years ago, I left the corporate world to start my own executive coaching practice. I desired to fully align my purpose and passion for coaching with my own business. Perhaps I was an early statistic of the Great Resignation, leaving an employer to do something of my own choosing.
Prior to launching, I interviewed people who ran their own successful coaching practices (and other small businesses) and asked them how long it took to get established. Three years was a typical answer. They weren’t trying to discourage me; they just honestly answered my question. Undaunted with this information, I proceeded, confident that I could get where I wanted faster than what they told me.
It took three years! It was worth it.
Like many entrepreneurs, I had a vision for what success would look like before I started. However, once I stepped into the arena, I learned quickly that some things work, some don’t. Perseverance and agility are key to achieving goals. After all, who even heard of COVID three years ago?
I’ve found the following seven strategies to be critical in building a business, becoming known in a new industry and stepping into entrepreneurship:
- Immediately establish your new identity. Distinguish between your then and now. Previous experiences may help you in your new endeavor, but you must establish your new value proposition and identity with your network and potential customers from day one. Enlist the services of branding experts, if possible, to help you.
- Invest in your new industry. Casual involvement is not enough, you must be committed. Join local and national groups in your new industry. Volunteer or join boards or associations. Build your network in your new work world and keep your former network informed about your new endeavor.
- Find your voice. Set yourself apart by articulating your unique point of view and sharing your perspective with others. Blogging, being on or hosting podcasts, expanding your LinkedIn and other social media presence, speaking, writing articles or books all become vital for becoming known in your new industry and getting referrals or business. This is an area where many people initially struggle, including me. I was extremely nervous when I shared my first blog post on LinkedIn. As with most things, it gets easier the more you do.
- Partnerships are critical. It’s tough to break into any industry on your own, despite credentials, qualifications or desire. Partnerships are critical to growing credibility, gaining industry mentorship and seeing other methods of operating. When you help partners succeed, you build capability in your chosen field.
- Continue learning and growing. Starting a new business requires constant learning and expanding on your capabilities in business related matters, social media, software, etc., while continuing to grow in the craft you’ve chosen.
- Sharpen your focus. As you gain experience you may find that focusing on fewer core offerings leads to more success. Initially, I offered both coaching and HR consulting. In my third year, I narrowed my focus solely on coaching. Identify the top areas of your expertise that attract customers and align with your goals. Know why they come to you. Focusing more energy into these areas can accelerate success.
- Help others. Not everyone you encounter will be customers or people in your network. Striving to make each interaction positive and using your experience and referral network to help others, however, often pays positive dividends.
Other new business leaders may wish to edit the list above and emphasize different aspects that they’ve found essential on the entrepreneurship journey. Finding what works in the industry you’ve chosen is different for everyone. The key is to keep moving forward and discovering what works for you.
How can coaching help you get to the place you want to be?
Lance Hazzard, PCC, CPCC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations achieve success. Lance and Eric T. Hicks, Ph.D., co-authored Accelerating Leadership, published in June 2019. Lance is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. More information on the book, Lance and Oppnå® Coaching can be found at the links below: