The newbies in every business are known for their desperation to make sales at all cost. But the truth is that no business is sustained by being desperate. It is the meticulous understanding of the industry and sector you've chosen to operate in and the market that brings profitability, sustainability and scalability.
I can relate to the newbie desperation because it happened to me in my early years in the accounting service industry. Just like most startups, there was this push to make sales even at cost price provided there is cash flow.
There is no substitution for understanding your industry as an entrepreneur. It is a critical element in the life of every business.
Tips on how to Understand Your Industry
Be Ready to Learn
Having a natural ability, does not take the place of learning in the life of an entrepreneur. The business terrain is filled with twists and turns and with the continuous improvement of technology, it is very important that you continuously learn about your industry so that your ideas don't become obsolete. It is like a man peddling bicycle up hill, he has to be intentional in every act. There are free courses online even with the lean budget or no budget at all there is always a way out.
Note: As an entrepreneur, you have to be ready to continually learn, unlearn and relearn.
The Ideal or Minimum Range Philosophy
Every entrepreneur has to fight the battle of ideal or minimum range philosophy. We live in a society where the odds are stacked against an entrepreneur especially at the startup phase. As the odds are stacked so are, the opportunities stacked for the eyes that can see and perceive. Yes, there is an ideal situation for in fact, every entrepreneur that has the passion for the offerings to the target market has got the minimum range for a start already. Once, the little at hand is well utilized, doors will be opened for greater things. The problem is the ability to win the battle of ideal or minimum range philosophy. The society itself is not ideal. Therefore, you have to make use of the minimum range of resources in your hands to sustain your idea beyond the minimum range.
Determine Your Target Market
Hello entrepreneur! It is not everyone that is your customer. Every segment of the market requires a certain capacity to meet the needs of that segment. Hence, you have to define the segment you want to play in and try to become a master in that segment. Remember, there are giants in every sector so you have to identify the gap in your sector where the giants are probably not playing in yet and plug that gap.
Keep Proper Records of Transactions
You cannot grow your business without a defined system of tracking your progress and the application of lessons learnt in every transaction. Lessons can only be applied when proper records are kept especially as it regards to financial activities since cash is the lifeblood of every business. In addition, if you keep proper records, you can develop a very strong database of customers for effective and efficient marketing resulting in increased volume of sales.
Ask for Customer Feedback
Criticism hits differently depending on who receives it. An employee might not attach any emotion to customer's negative feedback but the business owner sometimes take it to heart. The purpose of feedback is to help an entrepreneur continually improve his/her products and services. Customer feedback should also be used as a learning tool and if implemented it can keep existing customers and attract potential customers.
Finally, understanding your industry/sector has no close substitute no matter the amount of resources at the disposal of an entrepreneur. It is an ongoing exercise to help businesses meet customers' needs, increase sales volume, create more niches and beat competition.