My choice to be an entrepreneur started with me frowning at the word. The reason for this is that I am a marketer and have always only wanted to do marketing. Until recently, I didn't feel like I needed to be anything else. When I fly into a country and the immigration form asks "what do you do" - I always say "marketing". That's what I do and I am so proud to be doing this. It is a career that has given me the best of every world.
I can be a creative, yet a business woman. A strategic thinker, yet a tactical marketing consultant. I can dabble in social media, yet still understand a balance sheet. And I can surround myself with people who inspire me, make me want to be better and that constantly give another perspective to every situation.
It really doesn't get better.
When I first started thinking about Marketing Eye in 2003 and registered the business name in late 2004, I wrote a comprehensive business plan. Today, I am implementing it. Maybe if I had done it sooner, it would not be where it is today, so I have no regrets that I took my time, understood my audience better and came to terms with who I am and what I really want out of life.
Marketing Eye is my dream company
I dabble in many things but where I get the biggest thrill is out of marketing and coming up with innovative ideas. I built Marketing Eye to not just be a marketing consulting firm, but to be a marketing company that is first-in-market to develop new and innovative technologies, processes and systems that take the industry to a new level. The company is also built to educate, communicate, network and provide much needed visibility amongst an industry that still shies away from analtyics and accountability.
Today, I sit here and I have a multi million dollar company in Australia which I am immensely proud of, and I now have a company in the US headed by talented marketers and designers, that will have billings of higher than 1 million dollars in its first year. Not a mean feat for a foreigner who isn't selling a product per se.
25 Ways To Turn a Startup Into A Million Dollar Business in 12 Months
1. Write a plan and stick to it
2. Do market research even if you think your gut tells you that you already know your market
3. Head down, bum up
4. Sacrifice your social life for 12 months and don't regret it
5. Network your arse off! And if you can't or are not inclined to (like me), make sure you have people who will.
6. Keep it real - don't have your head in the clouds
7. Protect your brand with your life
8. Do quality work even if it means that you don't make a lot of money on some projects.
9. Create a "buzz" through word of mouth marketing
10. Make sure you are funded whether its with your own money or someone else's. There is nothing worse than running out of money!
11. Check off your business plan every single week to make sure you are on track.
12. Have daily team meetings and make sure you have enthusiastic, ambitious team members who believe in what you do
13. Set up a plan to reward the people that have started the business with you. For example; ownership in the future, profit share or big bonuses
14. Use the opportunity to create the best company culture possible so that your employees cannot stop talking to others about how good it is to work for your brand
15. Keep an eye on the figures. Focus on making a profit fast and never lose sight of your accounts receivable
16. Put yourself out there; share your story in a blog, in the media, on twitter - wherever you may find others that your story inspires or resonates with
17. Have a sales plan in place and make sure every single person is on-board to delivering upon these goals
18. Automate your sales process and don't shy away from investing in sales automation software
19. Automate your marketing process - a no brainer. Give sales no reason to not succeed!
20. Market your business; don't be a cheap skate and think that you have no budget to market your business. If you have opened the doors, then you cannot afford to not market your business
21. Invest in a good, content rich, visually appealing website that has call to actions throughout and reasons for visitors to come back time and time again
22. There will be good days and bad days. On the good days, go with the flow and enjoy every single moment. On the bad days, cry on someone's shoulder - let it out and then get back to doing business and finding solutions.
23. Wear your best dress / suit every single day. Your personal brand is as important as your company brand particularly in the first year.
24. Do up a plan that has $1 million as your sales target and work back from there. What do you need to have in place to achieve this? Who is your target audience? What is your marketing plan? What will your cash flow look like? Do up a WIP and cross it off every single day when things have been done.
25. Spend time in motivating the people around you and always put on a confident face. People like to be around winners. Don't whine. Don't say a bad word about anyone. Don't bag your competitors. Don't tell people your problems. Instead, focus on positivity and how amazing it is that you are an entrepreneur on track to making your startup a million dollar business.
And last but not least - have some fun!