I had no idea what I was doing when I first started to build my business. In 1991 I opened GiveAways Plus, a promotional products company. I had two years experience selling promotional products for another company. Like many business owners, I thought that owning your own business was just more of what I was already doing – which was sales – but now I’m in charge. HA!
I learned a lot during the 16 years that I owned and operated GiveAways Plus. It was a million dollar business when I sold it in 2007. Looking back, knowing what I know now, it took way too long to build it into a million dollar business.
So why do some businesses seem to just ‘get by,’ while others seem like an over-night success? Smart business owners develop a system for the following areas:
- Research and Development
- Sales and Marketing
- Distribution and Delivery
- Customer Service
- Tech Support – Warranty and Returns
But how do you figure out what system works? There are a lot of ways to get this information. here’s what worked best for me.
In my first few years in business I asked a very successful realtor in town to be my mentor. She was a woman, a wife and mother, and again very successful. I wanted to understand how to balance each of those roles with grace and style. I learned a lot from her. Now, I’d like to encourage you to take action by sharing the first piece of advice my mentor gave me – in fact she said she would not continue to meet with me unless I did this one thing: Connect with other successful business owners and learn from them.
Try this for yourself. Reach out to successful business owners in your area and ask them what’s made them successful, what’s their ideal referral business, how do they develop new offerings and how do they handle customer service issues? Also, find out if they have special procedures for handling tech support or repairs and always be sure to ask “why.” Asking why will help you discover the thought process behind their policies. Finally, be ready to learn!