It starts with you - and your customers

If you’ve never done it before, starting a business is overwhelming. There’s so much to learn and so much to do. How do you know where to start?

Start with you, your brand and your customers.

Image of a woman at a desk thinking with coffee and a pastry
Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

It’s all so exciting! You’ve got this amazing idea you want to share. You know it could change your life – it could even change the lives of others. You want to get started. You want to get out there, you want to start the ball rolling, serve your first customer and get that sense of achievement from a job well done.

But wait – you need to write your business plan first, so that you can open a bank account, apply for funding, claim your New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) and make sure you’ve got a strategy in place for the first year of your business.

And then your marketing plan.

Then content for your website – oh, and your emails, social media, …

Create the products or services that you’re actually going to be providing.

And before you know it, you’re juggling setting up, marketing, finances, meetings, networking, learning and the time you’re supposed to be spending on working with your customers feels like it’s being squeezed.

That lack of time means that you need to get what you do as right as possible because you don’t know when you’ll have the chance to re-do it.

It all feels a little frantic and it’s easy to forget why you were doing this in the first place.

It was for you and it was for your customers.

What if you started there – with you? Did you ever write down why you wanted to start this business?

What about your brand – did you get the logo, the colour palette and maybe a tagline? Did you write a vision statement – or mission statement? Did you set out your values?

Who are your customers – really? What do you know about them? Why are they looking for what you’re offering?

Starting with these things are the first steps to creating a customer centric business.

Why’s that important?

Customer centricity means you’re building your company around your customer – by focussing on who they are, what they need and what they like, you’re going to create an experience that generates high levels of satisfaction. If you build real relationships with your customers, both before and after the sale, you’ll drive repeat business, encourage loyalty and increase your profits.

Loyal customers buy more often and are more likely to buy across your range. If you can increase your customer retention by 2%, it’s the same as decreasing costs by 10% (from ‘Leading on the Edge of Chaos’ by Emmet C Murphy).

By taking the time to create customer personas for your business, you’ll get a document that you can use to bring your customer to life, reference as you create your plans, your content and your products and services.

By fully documenting your brand, you can stay focussed on what really matters. And as your business grows, you have something to give those working with you to make sure they know what they’re working towards and keep your branding consistent.