There’s an endless stream of business advice out there. The blogs you follow probably have ten daily tips on how you can run your business, much of which was already discussed in business school (if you attended).
All the advice always boils down to the same principles – focus on the product, keep the customer happy, learn from mistakes, persist in your passion and stay consistent.
It’s the same mainstream advice over and over again, in different formats. Perhaps it’s time to dig a bit deeper and uncover some of the unexpected ways you can expand your small business.
Have some fun
The uptight, serious business is a relic of a bygone era. Some massive multinationals like JP Morgan or Dow Chemicals can get away with it, because they’re literally a century old. Newer companies, startups especially, need to connect with people and that isn’t possible if the brand and its founders are taking themselves too seriously. If you truly enjoy your business, it shows and you can probably share it with the world. If you want some examples of how a big brand can be personable, check out Richard Branson’s Twitter handle.
Take a course in journalism
You’re probably wondering why in the world a business leader would need a course in journalism. The thing is, journalists share a lot of traits with successful entrepreneurs. They learn how to research a market, catch trends no one else is noticing and tell a compelling story around it. All these are important skills to have if you want to run a startup. In fact, a lot of journalists start their own business after a little experience. You don’t need a college degree, just a crash course is more than enough.
Experiment with weird ideas
Google sets aside 20% of their employees’ work time for what they call ‘blue sky thinking’. A lot of great ideas came out of this experiment and many of these ideas are now mainstream products offered by the tech giant.
As a startup, your main focus should be on your first product. But after a while when you’ve established yourself, growth may come in unexpected ways. The only way to discover these opportunities is to experiment with seemingly weird, offbeat ideas every once in awhile.
Hire a coach
If you’re following the Olympics, you’ll notice that a lot of the star athletes have coaches. That’s pretty much an individual sport, but business isn’t. Business can get overwhelming and complex. Which makes you wonder why we still treat it as a one-man show. Everyone needs help from time to time, and a business coach could really help push you to your limits and achieve things you couldn’t by yourself. Enterprise is about teamwork, and a team needs a coach.
This is probably the best advice I ever received. When you start a new business, it’s all about you and the general idea is to hire people to help you do more. But to propel your business to the next level, you need to think beyond your abilities. You need to hire your replacement, so you can move onto other things and do something to expand. Hire people better than you and you’ll soon have a team that drives itself to achieve things you would never have dreamt of.
These five simple tips rarely get mentioned in the mainstream, but they’re likely to help your business immensely. Good luck.