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Brick and mortar or Internet-based, it does not matter where do you do your business. The important thing is by what rules are you playing. There are many people who want to start their own business, have their own five minutes of fame, so to speak. However, if you are serious about starting your own business, you should build it on more solid foundation than just desire for fame or money. Those of you with clear reasons will find eleven rules or strategies to help you accelerate your business and shortcut the success.
Read the rest of the rules in part 2.
Business of the 21st century
Before moving on to individual rules, you need to understand that while some old school business rules like–respect the customer, over-promise (no, it’s not a typo) and over-deliver, honor the deal–are still valid and should be remembered, there are also new rules brought by the speed of technology and globalization. It is choice of every businessman to either acknowledge them, learn from them and thrive or ignore them and put the business in risk. This is not a negotiation. It is plain simple take-it or leave-it situation.
Quick note on freelancing and “passive income”
Even though this post is focused on business, no matter how big or small, freelancers, too, can learn a lot from these eleven rules and apply them to their work. However, for those of you working as a freelancers or wanting to try it, I have an piece of advice. Don’t do that. It is pretty damn hard. If you want to do it as a side project, be it and have fun (a bit of sarcasm). If you want to do freelancing as a full-time job, you should reconsider all your options again.
What are the reasons behind your desires to be a freelancer? Think about it before you answer this question. Freelancing is tough and time-consuming kind of job. If you bought the illusion of passive income preached by dozens of “solopreneurs”, you will quickly find how cold the truth is. Income, yes. Passive? No way! You will have to work your ass off first couple of months and then continue doing it for another few years before just to see the first letter of that word.
The truth is that people preaching the freelancing paradise and passive income are often the ones working from morning to evening, five to seven days a week. What’s more, these people make their passive income from money you pay them for listening to their tips and advice. In majority, they are being paid for talking about this kinds of stuff. So, if you are serious about what you want to do, forget the freelancing and start a business right away. Today, you can start a small company while waiting for your salad delivery, coding your MVPor reading about lean startup.
Devero Business School
Since you are reading this part of the post, I guess, you are determined to do whatever it takes to either accelerate your business or start it as soon as possible (or sooner). That is great to hear and I wish you luck on your journey. It will be pretty long, tough, painful and bloody. Use the rules below to leverage everything you can and gain maximum advantage. See you at the finish line.
1. Own your product
When you start your business you should already be sure about whether it is viable or not. You know … Lean startup and product market fit part. In case of product, in the early stage you should remain focused and fast iteration and stick with simplicity. This will often mean using third party framework. In this stage of business, this approach is right. Later on, when you will get your first customers and finally reach the break-even point, you should switch your approach and start developing your own framework or technology.
Why? You, your business, need to become independent. The problem with third party frameworks is that you have little to no control over it. Since you don’t control it, you cannot predict where it is heading and influence this direction later on. Imagine this scenario … Your product has feature x. It is the main feature of the product and makes it profitable. One day, people behind the framework will decide to drop technology crucial for this feature. In other words, upgrading the framework to the latest version will make your product unusable.
You can also take the second path, ignore the upgrade and stay with older version. Now, you are putting yourself, your business and your customers in risk of possible issues with security, stability, etc. It can also mean possibility of being removed from marketplace.
Less serious situation can be when creator of the framework will, for example, change the syntax. Something similar happened with AngularJS. Now, you have to completely recode all the parts of your product that will be influenced by this change. You have no other choice. Otherwise, it will not be compatible. What is the lesson here? As soon as you can, do what it takes to your product independent on external technologies. You need to take complete control over it.
2. Divide and dominate
Think big and go big, right? Not exactly. In the early stage of business development you should think big–have the big picture in mind–but go small. Meaning, focus on small market segment instead of big one. This may sound like a paradox from such a megalomaniac like me, but there is a logic behind it. Smaller market segment is easier to dominate–control the majority of the market, create a monopoly. This is what you should aim for–creating monopoly and dominating the business.
Smaller market segment also often means either lower number of competitors or at least smaller-sized competitors. Remember, the less competition in the segment, the less dangerous and hostile it will be for your company. In the beginning, you cannot afford to chase the customers while keeping an eye on your competition at the same time, not without additional costs. Going for the low-hanging fruit–smaller market segment–will allow you to avoid unnecessary competition and use your resources to grow your business in silent.
3. Change the game
In the business, you will not always have the luxury to avoid competition. So, what can you do to differentiate your business from others and get the attention of customers? The answer is simple … You have to change the game. Every time someone will challenge you, you have to find a way to change the game. Never accept the challenge if you are not able to alter the game or its rules. Otherwise, the odds will probably against you. Remember, nobody will challenge you if you are the favorite.
When you find yourself in situation some competitor is threatening you and your business, i.e. calls on you, you have to understand that he probably has some advantage you don’t know about. Your position is, therefore, weaker than his. In chess, you are the white, the one who moves first. Find the way you can change the situation or environment. However, you should still play fair. Try some of the growth hacking tacticsor guerilla marketing to get more customers. Implement new groundbreaking feature to your product. Create a win-win partnership with another company. Pivot if you have to, but make sure to change the game.
4. Move fast
It was long a credo of Facebook to: “Move fast and break things.” In 2014 they changed it to: “Move Fast With Stable Infra.” It does not matter if you agree with it or not. The most important part of it and what you should apply to your business is the first part: “Move fast.” Today, the world is changing in such a high-speed that your business cannot afford to remain slow or even steady. To stay on top, you have to keep moving and innovating. Don’t wait for customers to tell you what’s the next thing they want. You tell them.
Moving fast and innovating will also keep you ahead of your competition, leaving them guessing what your next steps will be. This strategy will require you to spend more resources on research and development, but it will result in stronger and better position on the market which means more customers and higher profits. Are you willing to take the risk of additional expenses to get more in the end?
Closing thoughts on business rules for 21st century
Let’s end it up here today covering the first four rules of business for 21st century and leave the rest for the next post. The world is changing and your business should adapt to it. Otherwise, you might wake up one day and find your company in ruins. Take this rapid rate of change as an opportunity to grow your business unprecedented scale. Remember, learn the rules before you break them.
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