Submit your Article: So you are ready to take the HUGE step of launching the business that you have dreamed about for years, you have mapped out a detailed business plan, gotten all legalities in order and now comes the hard part, MARKETING your product and service to the public!! The thought of marketing and the challenges that it holds can send chills down your spine, which may explain why many aspiring entrepreneurs have a well thought out and well drafted business plan that contains a marketing section but have failed to create a separate marketing plan to ensure that they map an effective and economically viable course to reach their target audience. Don’t be fooled, there is a huge difference between a business plan and a marketing plan; both are equally essential to the success of your new business. The sole purpose of marketing is to let your target audience know that you have a product or service that is superior to the competition and to clearly express what makes your company distinct from all others while your business plan is the high level view of how your company will operate. However, more about the importance of marketing and different marketing avenues in a later blog, but for now let’s continue discussing how your new business, can benefit from having an accountability partner and constant encourager at your side.
Anyone who has ever attempted to launch a business knows that going into business alone can be one of the most terrifying undertakings that you may ever face but marketing and networking alone can be down right paralyzing! So how do you get over your fear of public speaking and networking with complete strangers? How do you shake the feelings of inadequacy when you are introduced to seemingly successful entrepreneurs? I recommend that you find an accountability partner who can act as a cheerleader and encourager for you. Your accountability partner should commit to attending networking and vendor events with you, which will help put you at ease as you work the room and advertise your business. Also, your accountability partner should be focused on the task at hand; up lifting you and providing moral support…imagine someone chanting to you over and over….’you can do it, you are awesome, you were amazing!’. You should already have this chant running through your mind on repeat but to have someone else join your chant makes for a beautiful and inspirational choir! A clever trick of public speaking is to find a point of comfort, that is, someone or something in the audience that makes you comfortable, and while speaking you visually scan the room, settling your eye contact back on your point of comfort every few minutes; having someone who is 100% for you at any networking or marketing event is your constant point of comfort because you know that this person is there for you and you alone! In addition, this person should play the role of an encourager – someone who believes that there are no limits to your success and that all of your dreams are absolutely achievable, they should carry the air of expectancy because every event that you attend and every connection that you make has the potential to change your life, forever! Treat the position of accountability partner as a paid role within your company, which means, that you should not be afraid to interview people for the position, do not automatically assign this role to a family member or longtime friend unless he or she meets ALL of the requirements of the position. As an entrepreneur you are now a leader and must think and act as a leader at all times. Effective leaders know how to separate business relationships from personal relationships and have the ability to make the hard decisions for the success of their business and the protection of their dreams. I would argue that if a particular person ran across your mind as you were reading this and you thought back to a time when they didn’t seem so supportive or the time when you thought that there was a hint of envy but you shook the feeling and continued on, then listen closely, THAT PERSON IS NOT QUALIFIED for the position. In order to be the best you must surround yourself with the best and refuse to settle for those that you feel a loyalty towards because “they’ve been around through it all”. As an aspiring entrepreneur you must understand that everyone from your past is not destined to walk into your future; if you are not already OK with this truth then this is now the season to reflect and accept this, for your personal growth and for the success of your future.
Now for the million dollar question, how do I find an accountability partner? First, understand that this will take time and a commit from yourself to yourself to thoroughly interview anyone that you are considering for the role and you must not be afraid to approach someone who you think may be a viable partner. Use social media to post a wanted ad for a dedicated accountability partner. Is there someone on your job or at church who may fit the bill? If so, invite them to lunch and have the conversation explaining what you are looking for. Get involved with business and networking groups such as Kings & Priest Unlimited (www.kpunlimited.com), Association of Professional Women (www.napw.com), Color Me Organized (www.colormeorganizedtour.com) Lady University (www.ladyuniversity.org), Real Sisters Rising (www.realsistersrising.com), there are literally hundreds of groups and organizations that will allow you to connect with like-minded people who are willing to stand by your side and cheer you on as you celebrate your creativity and build a successful business.
In our next article we’ll review marketing strategies and share lessons from established entrepreneurs and serial entrepreneurs who have started multiple businesses that did not do as well as the owners would have liked, yet they reorganized and kept marching towards their destiny. Until next time, remember THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO LIMITS TO YOUR DESTINY!!
Written By: Ashantia Vice