It’s OK to not know everything. No one is expecting you to. Now, there are a few folks out there who think they know everything — and I’m sure we all know some — but, really, they don’t.
You Know your Business
Whatever your business is, you are the expert. You know your product or service. You have knowledge, skill or talent that others don’t have. It’s sellable. It’s easy for you to explain why a potential customer can benefit from what you have to offer. Or so you think.
There are so many factors in running a business. It’s way more than just hanging up a sign or making a website.
If you build it, will they come?
Furthermore, you need to ask yourself…
- What’s your unique selling proposition? What makes you better, faster, cooler, more efficient, more economical, etc. than whatever else is out there?
- What type of business are you going to be? Corporation? LLC? Partnership? Do you need to talk to a lawyer?
- What's your brand going to be? Do you need a trademark? What about a logo?
- Where are you going to get funding? Banks? SBA loan? Friends and family? Credit cards? Mortgage your house?
- Who is your target market? Who will benefit from your product or service? Who are they? Young, old? What are their likes and dislikes?
- What is the best way to reach them? Social media, paid ads, email marketing, traditional, print advertising or direct mail? How much should you budget for marketing, a logo or website? How much of the marketing can I do myself organically (without spending money)?
- How are you going to attract them to your website? What kind of content (blog articles, videos, podcasts, graphics) are you going to use to catch their attention, educate them and/or demonstrate your product or service?
- How are you going to convert a visitor into a lead? What enticing call-to-action will you have so they’ll give you their name and email address? Is it visible on your website? Does everything work right through the customer experience?
- How are you going to convert the lead into a sale? What follow-up email messages will you send them to nurture them into a sale? Will they include videos? Who will produce the videos? (Hint: You can automate all this!)
- If you’re an ecommerce site, are your product descriptions attractive enough? How are you going to convert visitors into paying customers?
- How are you going to collect payment? What are the best payment gateways for you?
- How are you going to deliver on the sale? Is it a service you’re going to provide yourself or do you have employees or subcontractors? How are you going to ship a product?
- Is there potential for upselling or repeat sales?
- Have you turned your customers into advocates who will tell their friends about you? Do you have a referral program? Have your asked your happy camper customer to recommend you on social media, Google or Yelp? Have you asked them to create user-generated-content?
- Have you got the answers to all these questions written down in a business plan?
If you don’t, then you need to create one now.
Click here for a free business plan template from SCORE.
Now let’s go back to not knowing what you don’t know…
Now, I’m no brain expert, but I firmly believe that there’s something to the Right-Brain, Left-Brain functions and that one usually is more dominant than the other. Personally, I'm definitely more right-brained. I can sit for hours brainstorming with clients and coming up with creative ideas to market their businesses, but I get a headache when I have think of accounting or bookkeeping.
- linear thinking
- thinking in words
For instance, an accountant would be a left-brain person. Usually accountants are not very good at marketing, which is a right-brain function
- holistic thinking
- nonverbal cues
This is me — creative. I’m bad at math. Always have been. How I passed college accounting and calculus is beyond me. However, I do like facts and logical thinking, so the right-brain, left-brain line is sometimes blurry.
Since I’m bad at math, doing my taxes each year, though I am capable of doing them — gave me the worst headache ever. Thus, I outsource that to a friend who’s way better at math and understanding the tax code than I could ever be.
Now it’s time for you to admit which side of your brain is more dominant — Right or Left.
Once you’ve determined if you’re more creative than logical or the other way around, you need to admit…
- What can you do? What are you good at? What comes naturally?
- What are you capable of doing — without getting a headache?
- What are you able to learn?
- Do you have the time to learn?
- Then, do you have the time to do the task-at-hand?
So, you’ve decided that you’re going to tackle some tasks yourself and you need to learn how to do it. Sometimes, you start learning how something works and then you realize that even though you are capable of doing it, it makes more sense to hire someone who can do it better or faster than you.
That happened to a contractor who took my social media marketing bootcamp a few years ago. About 4 sessions into the bootcamp, he realized that he didn’t have the time or “bandwidth” to market his business properly and effectively. There was more to it than just posting on Facebook. Thus, he hired me for a while, then hired an in-house person, whom I trained.
- Start with the business plan template and the SWOT analysis
- Schedule a free business mentoring appointment with a SCORE Mentor.
- Take the ABC of Starting Your Own Business Class. It’s usually offered at least once a month. Then take any classes which will help you learn what you need to learn. Click here for the calendar of workshops.
- If you haven’t looked at your business plan in over a year, it’s time to dig it up and dust it off.
- Schedule a free business mentoring appointment with a SCORE Mentor to review it and discuss what your needs, goals and problems are and how best to meet and overcome them.
- Sign up for the classes that you need to fill in the areas where you lack knowledge or you need to understand how it works to be able to hire someone who knows their stuff.
See, it’s OK to not know what you don’t know! You just have to admit it and be willing to learn and understand what your capabilities are and when you need to outsource tasks.