Build a business after a rough start.
My client was referred to me by another mentor. It was effectively a start up business.
After an initial discussion it was apparent that the business model he had in mind when he bought his ‘licence’ to sell a single narrow range of fires wasn’t going to be able to deliver him a sustainable income.
Let customers know you exist.
It’s fair to say that most start ups are borne from necessity, the mother of invention. My client had a varied background and some experience of manufacturing and installing the product by was dangerously restricted to developing a small number of leads and servicing a list of relatively unhappy customers who had bough the product before he started.
Over the course of four years [yes, see below] we set about;
- Changing the business trading name to one more suited to the local business area.
- Launching a website [later an online marketplace].
- Developing networking skills.
- Adding other products to the range.
- Adding an installation package.
- Employing contracted installers.
- Becoming an approved supplier/installer.
- Negotiating better credit terms with suppliers.
- Installing XERO and employing a book keeper.
- Developing a new fire, including outsourcing manufacture to China.
I will say this more than once….what you think you need is not what you get.
As with all clients, the business relationship runs from month to month and sometimes projects evolve and the projects keep running. Meetings are as formal/infomal as the client needs, as long as we get the results.
From the beginning of an ill conceived business in serious jeopardy, the client has;
- Achieved 4+ successful years trading and built a saleable business that extends beyond himself.
- Built significant working relationships and partnerships with suppliers and business organisations.
- Negotiated through a GFC driven downturn and a major local natural disaster.
- Got a sustainable business model with low overheads, making it very agile.
When our business relationship ended [support no longer required] my client was in good shape and a much different character to the slightly naive new business owner I had first met.