One of the advantages of being a business coach is the opportunity to work with a lot of different businesses and business concepts, seeing what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been involved in a lot of different, unique and unconventional businesses from ladies fashion to premium dog food.
One of the more unconventional businesses we’ve worked with lately has been a South African company called the Liza Clifford Bra Fitting Studio — a niche company that addresses a need many women have: To find the perfect-fitting bra.
While Liza’s concept was an immediate success with customers, her issue, like that of most idea-driven business owners, was finding a way to make her idea commercially viable and sustainable, shifting responses to it from “That’s a great idea. I’d buy that!” to “That’s a great idea. Here’s my money!”
Related: 10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!
A Systemised Model
Once that happens, you need to organise your entrepreneurial undertaking into a systemised model that gives you predictable results.
What does that mean? The business can run without you. This simply means there are systems and processes that drive the business, and if anything were to happen to the owner, the business could continue to grow because the business plan, growth strategies and day-to-day ‘default activities’ are on paper and shared with a team, not in the owner’s head.
This also helps deliver the concept consistently to create personalised customer experiences.
Systemisation doesn’t stifle personal creativity or service; it helps define and give parameters for the team to treat every client individually within the context of the company’s values and culture.
In Liza’s case, while each one of her customers is treated to the same private-fitting process that is consistent and repeatable, it is in reality an individualised experience for her clientele.
Focus On What’s Measurable
Ideas can be nebulous and fuzzy. Numbers, meanwhile, are objective. How many customers at what price points produce profit? What profit margins are needed to sustain growth? How much business can be referral-based to reduce outside marketing spend?
Once those numbers are known, you can be very clear about what you need to do and what you need to pass on every day to be successful. For example, the proper training around a simple retail script can increase daily sales exponentially. Not buying the online discounted ad programme could save resources you need to buy new products. You can only manage what you know in order to measure for the results you need.
Growth Is A Must
Room for growth is built into the company’s structure. Growth isn’t an option for being in business. It’s a necessity. Even if your goal is to be a home-based consultant or you want to manage and control your growth, you will need to get new customers to replace those who move on.
However, if your goal is loftier — such as multiple units, national expansion, franchising — you’ll need to document your processes to multiply and leverage your business concept.
The biggest reason businesses fail isn’t lack of capital, but rather lack of knowledge. Having an idea for a business is great, but knowing the difference between a good idea and a good commercial idea is literally money in the bank.