Once you’re confident about your reasons for starting your own business, it’s tempting to charge ahead with your exciting new venture. But before you do, you need to understand some fundamental principles of good business.
When you’re starting out, it may seem like a good idea to make what you do appealing to everyone. After all, if everyone likes your products or services, then you’ll have plenty of potential customers, right?
Wrong. Unfortunately, this is a classic mistake.
Despite your urge to please, you should never try to sell to everybody, for a simple reason: nothing appeals to everyone.
Consider your shopping tastes, for example. You likely have particular stores or brands that you like and to which you tend to return, and others you’re totally allergic to. All the people you know have their own tastes too, from your parents to your friends; you’d be hard-pressed to find a single product that appeals to all of them. If you try to create one, you’ll likely end up with a generic, bland offering that no one wants. So don’t be afraid to tailor your business to the desires of a particular group of people – that’s how a product ends up with enthusiastic customers.
Another common business mistake is to assume that your customers will buy things they need.
It might seem like a no-brainer to offer your customers things they need, or to market your products according to their necessity. But our consumerist society doesn’t work that way – in the real world, people buy what they want, rather than what they need. In fact, we even put off buying things we need simply because they seem unexciting.
As an example, consider the last few things you bought. Did you really need them, or did you just want them? That’s why, as a business owner, your challenge is to make your products or services not just necessary, but as desirable as possible.
Lastly, don’t assume you can rely on a loyal customer base to keep your enterprise afloat, even if you build a legion of devoted fans. This is because not all businesses are repeat businesses. If you’re selling something that people buy on a regular basis, like food or beauty products, then you’ll be able to develop loyal customers who keep coming back. However, if you’re offering something that is a much less frequent purchase – a wedding planning service, for example – you’ll routinely need to find new customers.