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Lessons in Business

Sometimes lessons in business are best learnt through the experience of running a business. Before setting up my own business I attended quite a few courses and although I found these useful, everything I was learning was theoretical because I hadn't taken the step of actually setting up my business.

Once I did start the business I began to see a lot of what I had previously learnt in a different, more logical and more practical light.

Below are some of the lessons I've learnt over the years of running my personal development and life coaching business, Stimulus Development & Training and other businesses. I hope you find some or all of them useful:

  1. Getting the numbers right is crucial. In order to get a regular flow of people through the door you need to think big in terms of your numbers, and get your message in front of as many people as possible. If you're hitting a cold market (eg through flyering) allow for a response rate of around 0.5%. That's 50 responses for every 10,000 flyers you put out. How many people a day are you talking to about your product or service? How many flyers a week are you putting out? How many adverts a month are you placing? How many visitors a year are you driving to your website?
  2. It's important to have a team around you. Getting a business off the ground alone can take a lot out of you. If you have a team that includes, eg marketers, a business mentor, professional advisors etc this can bring you a fresh and valuable perspective, and their contacts can also help you.
  3. You need to invest money to make money. The money comes in on the back end (delayed gratification) and again this is just the nature of business. Sometimes investing money into your business is one of the hardest things to do, but again if there is a definite market and you have confidence in your product it is worth it.
  4. Don't stop! When you stop everything you've done becomes in vain. Have faith in your product and keep going even when things get tough.
  5. Make space for your business to develop. Get rid of extraneous activities and business ventures that soak up your time and give you no personal or financial return. If you are involved in too many things you cannot spend quality time on your business and you risk losing your focus.
  6. Decide what activities are going to produce you revenue or potential revenue and spend the majority of your time on these. These are your developmental activities and are different from your routine tasks such as sorting, filing, checking emails etc.
  7. Do not sell yourself short. Be wary of pricing your product down as you risk losing your credibility - especially in the business world.
  8. Promote the business to existing databases: find organisations and individuals who already have a database of clients. Work out a deal with them whereby you promote your product or service to their database and they take a cut.

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