So, you’re thinking about taking the plunge and starting your own business.
You have thoughts of being in control of your own time, finally being recognised for your hard work, running a business that meets your own values, and making a great living. It all sounds amazing. Just occasionally, your rational brain kicks in with a “what if it doesn’t work,” but positive thoughts and excitement quickly drown them out.
You know what, you’re right to be excited about starting your own business.
It can be amazing, but the fact is that depending on what statistics you believe, anywhere between 40% and 60% of new businesses fail within 5 years. These figures are not designed to put you off, just to make you aware that you need to plan carefully and avoid these 5 pitfalls at all costs.
Having opened new Physio clinics for the last 13 years, I have made lots of mistakes, so you don’t have to.
Here are my top 5 pitfalls to avoid when taking the plunge with a startup:
Making your website, logo, Facebook, Twitter, business cards and basically everything else before you work out where you’re going to find clients.
This is deliberately top of the list. It’s so easy to fall into this trap. Everywhere you look, there are companies with nice websites, great social media, and cool advertising, and you think you have to do all those things in order to start your business. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are important, but they get in the way of the absolute number one priority for a new business, and that’s finding paying clients. Without paying clients, you don’t have a business.
So, ignore all your friends and family who are telling you to get a fancy website or post videos on YouTube. Instead use the people you know as a source of clients: Friends, family, work colleagues, teammates, or people you’re already connected with on social media. Find your first clients, then add everything else once the money has started to come in.
Pricing too low.
This stems from a lack of confidence in your ability when you start. You’re not sure that people are going to want your service, or you might be relatively inexperienced, so you position your price below the competition. This might attract some clients, but they are not the clients you really want. Anyone who chooses the lowest price, ahead of quality, is unlikely to be a loyal customer. Have a look at what your competitors are charging, and charge broadly the same amount. Once you have experience, or if you already do and you think you offer amazing quality, then price a bit above the competition to make yourself stand out as the quality offering in the marketplace.
Focusing totally on getting new clients and not looking after your actual clients.
Following on from pitfall one, this again is a very common trap to fall into. I’ve just said you have to find clients before you do anything else, and this focus often takes hold. You are so focused on getting people through the door in the first place, that you very quickly neglect them because you’re still focused on trying to find more new clients. Your first few clients are like gold. They are the people who can tell the world about how good you are. Work hard to get clients, work much harder to keep them!
Trying to appeal to everybody.
Common pitfall number 4 is trying to appeal to absolutely everybody in an effort to get clients to buy your services. The problem is, you can’t appeal to everyone, and if you try, you’ll spread yourself too thinly and any marketing you do will not be focused enough. Instead, really try and identify exactly the type of people you want to attract as clients and then try and get inside their head to really understand them and how you can help them so that you can avoid pitfall 5.
Focusing on features, not benefits.
Healthcare and wellness professionals are brilliant at focusing on the features of the services they provide. What I mean by a feature is something like “Reduce pain” or “Improve sleep” or things like that. Benefits are just that, what benefit does the feature give? For example, “Reduce pain so that you can play with your grandson” or “Improve sleep so that you can nail that weekly meeting.” People buy benefits; they don’t tend to buy features. Make sure that any marketing you do focuses on the benefits of your service. If you don’t, then you’ll miss out on a lot of potential clients.
I hope these help, please get in touch if you have any questions! For more information and help check out my website.