After I sold my Charleston Home Staging company, it took me a little while to decide to restart a new home staging company in Jacksonville, FL. When I started laying out the ground work, I realized that I had an opportunity that few people ever get. I had the opportunity to think about what I would do, if I had it to do all over again, you know, since I had it to do all over again.
This morning reading, Eric Wagners, 18 Entrepreneurs share their top 20 Tips, I decided that this might be the right topic for a blog. I’m hoping that some of my entrepreneur friends will chime in, when they do, I’ll adjust the blog accordingly.
Tips for starting a new business
My favorite tips featured in Eric Wagner’s blog were,
#1) The power of connections
It’s funny but I started my last business with almost no connections, actually it might even be said that I had negative connections at the time. I was fighting an uphill battle, one that eventually, after overcoming it, became one of my biggest points of pride of success. As I start my new business here in Jacksonville, shifting from home staging, to real estate, one of my biggest strengths is actually the network I’m building up. It is ironic given the fact that I’ve lived in the city for only about a year. I have much better connections here than I ever did in Charleston. I also seem to be understanding more fully on how to best utilize them.
#2) Focus, focus, focus.
I was excited to read this in Eric’s blog. This is one of the tips that I’ve taught in my home staging classes for years. Knowing what your niche is will help you save time and money, as well as helping you narrow and focus your marketing. When you know more about anyone else in that niche then you are bound to do well. As an example, when I moved from home staging to real estate, I specifically decided to focus on new construction. I’m constantly learning and writing about building new homes, understanding new smart home technology, interviewing the various builders, touring the models, etc. I even have a preferred price point that I’m focusing on ($300,000 – $750,000). This way I’ll be clear on what buyers shopping in that range will expect in the various areas.
For me as I start off a new business that, I think my top tips would include
#3) Study up on what those who have been successful have done.
Unless you are creating a whole new industry, which I actually was doing when I started my home staging business last time, then there are probably others who’ve already been successful. Find them and ask questions. Be mindful of their time, and don’t look for things that are proprietary. If you ask for those, then you may burn that bridge. If you do this part well, then you may be back to Eric’s #1 suggestion – networking.
#4) Figure out what you can do to improve on the current model
Most major successes don’t come from completely new ideas, they come from building a better mouse trap. You don’t need to completely innovate for success, just figure out what you can do that will add more value than everyone else currently doing it can/will. In my case, I own a lot of home staging inventory and want to work with home builders. I’m offering to stage their models free of charge, and in the process, I pick up multiple listings at a time. The value is something that virtually no one else in my area can offer. The customer saves tens of thousands of dollars at the beginning of the process and I get listings that normally do not end up in the hands of other Realtors. This is a win-win situation.
#5) Plan for busy while you are slow
One of the hardest things to do when you get busy is figure out how you are going to do everything yourself. Sure, you want to hire an assistant now that you are busy, but honestly you don’t have time to figure out what you can give to them, train them, and create a policy manual. What if you had done that when you were still slow? What if you developed your policies and procedures manual as you were creating them. Sure, you might have to make some adjustments as you went along, but when you need them, you have them.
Top tips from other Entrepreneurs
I love this one submitted by Elias Nathaniel, a Real Estate investor and promoter with Royal Lepage Commercial. I couldn’t agree more. Things don’t usually happen quickly with new businesses. Sometimes, with luck (and a little bit of skill, but really almost more luck) you’ll take off quickly. In the end, new business owners and entrepreneurs need to remember that persistence is one of the big keys to success.
So, what is your best advice? What would you do now if you had it to do all over again? What would you tell those who are starting a new business to do?