There are five critical steps every entrepreneur should follow to take their businesses to the next level. These steps are essential to providing a clear vision for building a highly effective and profitable business, and for identifying and satisfying customers' needs and desires.
Entrepreneurs are inspired and highly motivated people who have a clear sense of who they are and what they want. By following these steps, you can gain the clarity necessary to push their business in the right direction for long-term success.
1. Create a mission
A mission statement ultimately determines the direction a company will go, and it plays a significant role in that company's future success. Consider it a beacon of light--your North Star--to keep your company and its employees on the same track. It's a constant reminder of where the company is headed day to day, and provides a way for the public--including customers and industry partners--to understand the company's ultimate direction. When creating a mission, the company's core goals should be taken into account, in addition to why these goals are important. The mission should be professional, clear, and concisely written.
2. Figure out who your customers are
You need to consider what kinds of customers you are aiming for based on the product or service you will be offering. You also need to consider what kinds of customers they are likely to attract and ask questions like, "What is the typical age range and income level?" "Will my customers be more responsive to television or radio commercials, emails, flyers, social media, or apps?" Once you are able to figure out who your primary customer base will be, then you will be better prepared to develop a successful marketing campaign that will reach out to and resonate with your targeted customers.
3. Offer amazing customer service
A customer is the most fundamental asset of a company. Your next step is to create a strategy that will keep customers coming back again and again. With the addition of very public customer reviews on websites and apps such as Yelp and Angie's List, superior customer service is more important than ever. Those five stars can make a BIG difference. You need to consider such things as whether they will have a live person answering phones, a protocol for listening to customers needs and dealing with any complaints, creating a pleasant environment and experience for customers, and, most important, hiring staff capable of providing top-notch customer service.
4. Define what success will look like
The next step is defining what true success will look like. The mission will provide measurable results through the critical question, "Is the company staying on track with the mission?" Profit is an obvious measurement of success, but entrepreneurs can dig deeper. Success can be defined by how satisfied customers are. Is the company racking up those five-star reviews? Is the customer base growing or is it expanding out to other markets never considered before? And probably one of the most overlooked considerations when defining what success will look like is your own personal satisfaction. .
Once a mission has been written, a customer base determined, amazing customer service mapped out, and a way to measure success defined, the final step is coming up with an action plan and executing it. This requires summarizing the organization's purpose and future direction. This summary will not only include steps 1-4 above, but also the goals and actual action steps required. But then, once these pieces are in place, it's time to execute. The only way you can move from good to great is to put all of these pieces into action--as soon as you possibly can.