Entrepreneurs need a strong network to get to the next level. Mastermind groups, teams comprised of business owners at different levels and mentors, are a great way to build a village that can help owners and their businesses grow. Why? Insight is an invaluable resource when it comes to growth of every kind, but when it comes to brand building, it can be the difference between balling and bankruptcy.
Mentorship groups create forums that allow others to share experiences and share top shelf practices. Dezmon Landers, start-up advisor at The Partner Program (dezmonlanders.com), serves as a coach for budding entrepreneurs. Through his groups he helps entrepreneurs connect, maximize revenue and minimize stress and anxiety via education and planning.
Here are 10 of Landers’ top tips to navigate the rough terrain of entrepreneurship and help any business grow.
1. Focus on Revenue Early. Avoid relying on credit, loans, or even borrowing money, because money simply placed into the company’s account will run out. Instead, focus on getting more and more customers to spend with your brand from the start. Creating a revenue stream is the ultimate test of business’ viability. When you are ready to access financing, checkout the many resources found on Wells Fargo Works for Small Business online portal. There are educational resources from top finical experts and tools to help you determine the best financing options for you and your business.
2. Spend Money on Advertising. Word of mouth isn’t necessarily the most efficient way of ensuring that your company’s brand and message is being shared with potential customers in a consistent and positive way. Create a monthly budget solely for promoting your business.
3. Invest in Industry-Appropriate Social Media. While social media is helpful, it can also drain your time or resources. Be strategic about targeting 2-3 mediums that will be most impactful based on your company’s target demographic focus and push energies in that direction.
4. Plan for Pitfalls With a Financial Plan. There will be successes and failures. The setbacks are easier when you have a cache or resource to help the business —and your pockets — cope until the next upswing. Create a financial plan that includes saving for issues that will realistically occur.
5. Invest in Insurance. Don’t skimp on spending the dollars it will take to protect your business in cases of a lawsuit, fire, or other disaster/issue. Research the types of protections you and your business should have based on industry standards and insulate yourself from personal loss and liability.
6. Identify Strategic Partnerships. Align with individuals that offer complementary skill sets, resources, and perspectives to up the ante on what your brand can offer. Pooling assets increases the likelihood of success for all parties involved.
7. Look for Experts. You can’t be the accountant,the attorney, the consultant, the marketing executive, and the public relations pro at your company forever. Identify the expertise that can dramatically increase your company’s bottom line and spend, or barter, for the services. Most importantly, identify professionals that you trust and follow their guidance.
8. Listen to Your Customers. Be open to modifying products or services based on client demand. For example, if you envisioned having a bakery known for its delectable cakes but realize that cookies are what’s really moving, be open to revamping your strategy and focusing on cookies to maximize financial returns.
9. Look for Creative Financial Solutions. Banks and credit unions offer targeted programs for small business owners—but that doesn’t mean they should be your only resource. Don’t borrow money or spend savings on issues, or opportunities, as soon as they arise. Take time to brainstorm about additional options, such as bartering, or instituting best practices for sourcing. If a loan is necessary, do your due diligence to ensure the new streams of revenue will generate enough extra income to merit taking on the debt.
10. Wait for Revenue. Try out new ideas on a small scale before blowing money on something you think is great. This allows you time to get the kinks out of the execution process and determine whether your service addresses a real or imagined need in the market.
Information and views provided by Wells Fargo is general in nature for your consideration and are not legal, tax, or investment advice. Wells Fargo makes no warranties as to accuracy or completeness of information, including but not limited to information provided by third parties, does not endorse any non-Wells Fargo companies, products, or services described here, and takes no liability for your use of this information. Information and suggestions regarding business risk management and safeguards do not necessarily represent Wells Fargo’s business practices or experience. Please contact your own legal, tax, or financial advisors regarding your specific business needs before taking any action based upon this information.