14 years ago when we founded Isolta, we faced more challenges than expected. Learning step by step we’d love to share important tips and our little secrets in our “From founder to founder” series.
"I want to manage my own time". "I have a lot of knowledge about entrepreneurship". "I have had bad luck with previous bosses" are common answers when asked "Why did you start your business?". But the road to success is not short.
In previous articles in the series "From Founder to Founder", we have provided you with many useful tips. How to use them in practice? Let's take a little peek behind the curtains.
Acquiring is a hard job - be even harder
Someone once in asked a networking event "Do you already know my product?" after which most of the people in the group moved to the bar. The newsletter has a fairly small chance that it will ever be opened by anyone. Especially if it's about a boring topic. Even letters sent by regular mail have a 2 percent chance that they will be opened at all.
Calls to customers are also not a sure way to go. The question that every entrepreneur asks: "How to get a good balance and make it useful?" It's not easy to answer because there are no specific numbers or battle strategy for that. It all depends on your product and your personal strength. What do we mean by that?
- What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your product? Is it understandable? No? Get started and get as much feedback as possible. Talk to as many customers as possible, introducing them how your product works.
Show your skills! Confident people stand out from others.
- Do you express yourself better orally or in writing?
- Do you like talking to potential customers?
- Can you express yourself well? Do you feel sympathetic and friendly to others?
You have found interested people - what to do next?
You've made it! Your messages, emails, or messages have a positive feedback! Congratulations! Be proud of yourself.
However, be careful, feedback doesn't necessary means a consent to cooperation. Keep few things in mind:
- Add terms with every offer. For example, ask the trade unions whether there are any standard terms that might apply.
- Set a deadline for the offer. Example: "This offer is valid for 14 days." In determining the time limit, it will slightly pressure the decision maker.
- Offer a discount to a new customer and be as clear as possible. Anyone who buys a new service will secretly expect a little extra. After time, of course, you will also have the option of cancelling the offer if the customers doesn't reply.
- Create a requirement that the offer has to be confirmed in writing upon receipt of the order. Even if you are sure that the potential customer does not accept the offer, you should always take into account the fact that somebody may come across. According to the written agreement a client has come from a potential client. This means that your co-operation becomes binding.
Being an entrepreneur, how does it change you as a person?
What if a potential customer still cancels their order? It can cause some frustration, because your company's future depends on you. With great freedom, there comes great responsibility! You can plan your time freely and, if necessary, go for a swim in the afternoon or a museum, and work on Sundays, for instance. This is a great temptation, especially in the creative industry. After all, inspiration does not come from a simple push on a button.
Great freedom entails great responsibility. You are fully responsible for your own business! What exactly does it mean?
- Add sick leave compensation and holiday pay into your salary!
- Be prepared to work several nights in terms of project deadlines.
- Find other freelancers or self-employed entrepreneurs who can help you.
Why a little fear is not bad at all?
You definitely have the pressure and a great amount of emotional load, especially in the creation of a company. The fact that you have some doubts from time to time is perfectly normal. That is why exchanging ideas with others is important. It's completely normal to feel a little scared. Find people of similar thinking - other freelancers and entrepreneurs. Do not be afraid of competition or false pride - every business has a challenge with potential customers. Get valuable tips by asking "Tell me how you do it?"
Therefore, in order to get the necessary inspiration, there is no need to invent a bicycle.
Regardless of how long your nights are before the deadline, how much money you have in your account, and regardless of how much doubts you have, stick by your own company. Entrepreneurship needs persistence - so just start! And if it seems that everything is starting to fail, walk in a city during typical working time. It freshens your mind and reminds you how much freedom you actually have.
We wish you great success!