My last bit of advice as we enter the new year is to make sure that while you have a solid plan, you also remain flexible enough to address issues as they first arise.
When starting a new company, everyone has an overall idea of what they want out of their business. We typically then sit down and make concrete and somewhat extensive goals and objectives in order to meet our goals and watch our businesses grow.
Over the past year I have worked with several business owners who have run into some problems with their initial plans. The first decided to make some changes as she went along with the development of her business in order to address these issues. The second business owner did not make changes. The first business owner is doing well in obtaining new clients and has seen results by making these changes. Unfortunately, the second business owner has had very few sales because she has not remained flexible in the beginning of the business.
So why is it important to remain flexible when everyone says you should have your business plan and your goals and objectives written out in detailed form?
Because the truth is, even the best planning does not seem to address every single issue that a new business owner may face.
In the case of the first business owner, she found that as the business took flight she needed to make some adjustments to her pricing. So she did. Now her clients are much more satisfied with the pricing and she has seen an increase in sales since changing her prices.
The second business owner ran into the same problem when several people told her that while they loved her products they felt they were too pricey and that they could get something similar somewhere else for much less. She decided to keep the prices that she set on her products in hopes that people would go on and pay them, but unfortunately she has not seen many sales.
As business owners we have to listen to our customers and clients. They can easily tell us what we are doing wrong, what we need to add or delete from our product or service list, and how we can make our companies better. Not only are we in business for ourselves and for our own reasons-to remain at home with the kids, to start something that we want to follow through-but we are really and truly in business for them. We are selling something that we believe in to the public. If we don’t listen to what they have to say, then can we truly succeed?
This isn’t to say that we have to change things everytime someone offers a suggestion. I believe it is important to accumulate advice and suggestions before making any changes. I’ve seen new business owners waffle from one thing to the next, making significant changes after getting the business off the ground. Not only does this waste time, but it also creates additional expense that you will want to avoid in the start up phase.
Yet being flexible is important. So make a plan, but when things arise that might need to be changed, be open to making those changes.