This episode is a little bit different – a little bit of a rant, if you like!
Starting a business is often a minefield in terms of your self belief and it’s very easy to get seduced by a lot of the quick-fix messaging that we’re exposed to on social media. We’ve all seen them – the Facebook ads promising you a roadmap to a six-figure business, promoted content that claims to guarantee you eye-watering profits in just a few weeks or months. I’m certainly not immune to these tactics, and it’s not to say that every one of these offerings is nefarious or that they don’t offer something valuable, but on the whole these schemes or courses won’t actually deliver on what they promise.
Every business is different – they each grow and evolve at a different rate and much of that is down to you, your tenacity and the quality of of your products, so in episode 13 of The Resilient Retail Game Plan, I’m going to run through the reasons why these buy-in blueprints and masterclasses are fundamentally flawed and how, with a little support and personal persistence, you can get to where you want to be without searching for silver bullet.
Not a fan of podcasts? You can find the episode written in a blog post below – enjoy!
Why I don’t believe in promising you a 6-figure business
I confess as I write this blog I am wondering if it’s more of a rant – either way I think it will be useful to you as independent product business owners – especially those just starting out.
It’s clearly on my mind because I did an Instagram Live on this topic a couple of weeks ago (it was really well received) and my latest Resilient Retail Game Plan podcast (see above) is on the subject too!
It’s also cathartic as I know how seductive and persuasive that messaging can be – I wasn’t immune myself. When I initially began exploring ideas to start my own business, I got hooked into a very expensive mastermind, that was built around this premise. So, in making a bad and costly decision myself I learnt a lot and as I’ve built my own offering I’ve deliberately avoid these kinds of ‘hooks’ and promises.
That’s not to say that everyone who makes the 6-figure type claims are doing it for nefarious reasons or not offering something valuable but even then I still believe there are flaws.
When you’re first starting out running a business or even if you’ve been going for a while – your self-belief can be fragile. It’s hard to resist comparing your business with others and thinking – maybe I’m missing something. When somebody comes along claiming they can give you that one thing “you’re missing” to get you to six figures it’s very temping.
We’re all different
Every six-figure business that I’ve ever worked with was built in a completely different way. Some were built through organic Instagram traction which they then leveraged to start selling their products. I’ve worked with businesses that had virtually no social media presence, but hit six figures through wholesaling. I have worked with businesses that have very small social media presences, but have really leveraged email marketing and paid advertising and that’s how they hit six figures.
There are many, many more examples because there are so many different ways of becoming a six-figure business. I struggle to believe there is one ‘must know’ formula that a business owner could apply time after time to hit that six-figure number.
If you had to pin me down I’d say the most common reason for ‘success’ is a fantastic product. A product that their customer really loved and desired.
Often the difference between somebody who hits a six-figure business and somebody who doesn’t is tenacity. Despite all the setbacks, tough times and challenges – they’ve kept going whilst others have decided enough is enough and gone and done something else.
Be persistent, show up, do the work, create things that people really love, learn from your mistakes, keep moving on, keep doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t work – that’s how you will eventually over time (if that’s what you want!) get your business to be six-figures.
There are obviously ways to improve your chances – a good sales strategy is one – but ultimately you are going to have to find what works and do more of that and what doesn’t work and do less of that.
Turnover is irrelevant
There’s a saying ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is reality’. Remember a multimillion-pound business can be running at a huge loss, compare that to a small business that’s been going for a year or so, they grown slowly and steadily. They’ve paid themselves nicely from their business and there’s cash put aside to one side for a rainy day. Those turnovers look completely different
You could build a six-figure business and be making no profit.
It’s down to you
If somebody creates a six-figure business – they will have created it – it will have come from them. It comes from the founder. There’s lots of things that I can do. I can support you. I can encourage you. I can give you advice specific to your sales strategy, to your stock management, I can look at your numbers and help understand whether or not you’re on the right track. I can make suggestions, give you industry best practice, I can share ideas from the retail industry as a whole, I can give you the benefit of my experience, I can do all of these things.
But ultimately, the person responsible for making these things happen – for making a six-figure business a reality – is going to be you.
Many pieces to the puzzle
There’s many pieces of the puzzle that go into building a business. I’m afraid I believe there’s no silver bullet. It’s much more nuanced than that. It’s much messier than that, to be honest. No businesses that I’ve come across have had a smooth, singular upward path to ‘success’, a lot of them have had setbacks and things they’ve had to work around, or pivot from or change direction before they’ve hit on the formula that has worked for them.
For example, in my business, I’ve taken many different courses that have covered a whole myriad of different things, from running Facebook groups, to Pinterest, to help with digital marketing, PR, help with mindset, taking courses on copywriting, or email marketing – I learnt so much in my quest to build my business. And the chances are, it’s going to be the same for you too.
I believe that the information I’m giving through my business is a piece of the puzzle. An important piece but there are many others you have to fit together.
There are many other useful skills to learn – perhaps a coach on mindset, or courses on SEO or paid advertising. A lot of what I do is education on understanding what the puzzle is, what do the pieces of a profitable product business look like? also understanding the fundamentals that underpin your product business.
What is success?
The best definition of success for your business is what you want it to be – it should be very personal. That might be a 6-figure business or that might be a ‘lifestyle business’ where you’re the person who makes everything. Also, many people start their own business to fit around other roles they have in their lives and leave highly paid jobs to do it – it can be much less about huge profits for many, many product businesses. There are also personal motivations for starting your own business that are not based around monetary value – it might be about you expressing your creativity or the impact that you have on the world.
Define what success means to you – it’s liberating!
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