What The Last 6 Months Of 2019 Look Like For Your Business
Burning Questions To Help Your Business Get Unstuck, Answered.
With 6 months of the year already gone, you have a lot of decisions to make about your business’ last half of the year.
Should we go all in to grow?
Should we coast?
Should we give up?
What’s next for us?
I asked readers of my Weekly Action Plans to give me all of the burning questions they had about the next moves for their business for the last half of 2019. A lot of these questions and answers will be applicable to many of your businesses, which is why I’d like to share them for your benefit here.
Sales Were Amazing The First Half Of The Year, Should I Create A New Product?
Most of the time, my answer to this question is no. You should not create a new product; instead, you should focus on selling your existing product at maximum sales mode.
When sales are good, your business should use it as an opportunity to nail down a sales strategy and benefit from the profit cushion. Once you’ve saved up a pretty healthy amount of profit, only then should you invest in the risk of launching a new product.
Remember that even though you have an established brand, that every new product release is still a risk that your business is investing in. To release a new product, you have to be willing to financially lose all of your investment (hence why you should save a healthy amount of profit to spend on this before doing it).
Sales Were Lackluster The First Half Of The Year, What Can We Do To Improve?
For many startups, the typical issues that hinder their sales are:
- Lack of marketing plan that produces a large pool of customer leads, consistently.
- Operational inefficiencies causing a lack of time spent on sales and growing the business.
- Lack of identification of reliable, consistent revenue sources.
If any of the above problems sound like the culprit of your lackluster sales, it’s time to get some help! There are plenty of books that you can read on any of the above topics to get a crash course on resolving these issues, or you can work with a consultant/fixer to remedy the above problems within a few weeks.
When working with a consultant, have them audit your business and present the problem areas and potential solutions they’re seeing. By receiving this perspective, you can move forward in the last half of the year with a clear roadmap rather than spending more of your money and time flailing.
If you’re on a budget, you can hire a consultant for a 1-hour session and have them fine-tune a marketing plan or action plan you’ve already created.
How Long Should Setting Up My Startup Take Me?
Some common startup set up tasks includes figuring out a name, branding, creating a pitch deck and business plan, getting incorporated, and more.
When it comes to figuring out a business name, branding, and getting incorporated, my best advice is to do it as quickly as possible. I’ve seen entrepreneurs park themselves at this stage for months up to a year, which is a bit silly. You’ll have bigger and more challenging problems beyond your company’s name and branding ahead, so don’t get stuck at this mini-hiccup.
Give your best go at naming your company, but if you still haven’t figured it out after really pushing yourself, hire someone to do it for you and move on!
As far as branding goes, I absolutely always recommend getting a designer on board to help with your branding — I do not care if you dabble with graphic design or have fun messing around on Illustrator, do not do this yourself unless you’re a graphic designer. There is a lot of strategy behind visual language and it’s important to get this right. In this day and age, bad design will reverse a lot of your sales efforts — don’t lose the customer before you even have a chance to talk to them.
The speed of your business plan and pitch deck creation is wholly dependent on when you’ll be able to meet with prospective investors, but it’s always good to get this done as soon as possible so that its incompleteness does not act as a barrier from getting you to network with investors (which is arguably more important).
How Soon Should I Hire Contractors To Help Me?
Unless you’re hiring contractors to help you with the initial business setup and documents you need to get your business off the ground, I do not recommend hiring contractors until you have a clear spillover of work you cannot complete on your own.
So for example, I would not hire a virtual assistant as soon as I open my business’ doors, but wait until I absolutely cannot handle all the administrative tasks I have on my plate.
This may take years, or as soon as next month — this is a scenario where it’s beneficial to be reactive rather than proactive so that you don’t hire someone until you absolutely need it and the cost-benefit makes sense. The added benefit of hiring until you need it is that it allows you to truly understand the ins and outs of the tasks you need to export so that you can properly train your new hire.
What’s The Ideal Distribution Of My Time?
I’m a big fan of auditing how you spend your time when you’re first running your business, and then doing it periodically several times a year. Auditing your time allows you to see how you’re truly spending your time and gives you the data to improve your use of time.
The distribution of your time will vary according to your startup and your industry, but I typically assign 20% or less of my time to administrative and operational tasks and dedicate 80% or more of my time to completing client work and sales.
By personally auditing yourself, you’ll be able to figure out what these specific benchmarks are for you, but using the 80/20 rule is a nice overarching principle to follow. If you’re a product-based business, 80% of your time investment should probably be broken between sales and growth initiatives.
We’re Struggling To Raise Seed Funding For Our Startup, What’s Your Best Advice?
There’s absolutely no magic pill here to speed up how quickly investors will invest in you, or where to meet that one investor who will change everything for your startup.
The only thing you can do that’s within your control is to pump new leads into your pool of potential investors constantly by networking with strategic individuals, asking for referrals, and constantly getting the word out there. Other than that, brush up on your pitch, structure out an investor engagement process that feels good to you, and keep at it with a healthy dose of patience.
If you found this helpful, I send weekly action plans every Friday to help startups like yours grow their business. Sign up here if that’s your jam.