Entrepreneurs must focus on a primary mission
Editor’s note: Michelle Stockman works with Little Rock-based Arkansas Capital Corp. to promote entrepreneurship development around the state. Stockman earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University-Chicago in communications and fine arts, and earned a master’s in entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. Her thoughts on business success appear each week on The City Wire.
After sitting in an office or cubicle for the last six to 12 months, the decision to start a business or stay put screams inside your head. You know you can start and grow a business with the best of entrepreneurs, but the shark infested waters awaiting your leap into the world of self employment are enough to force you to think about your move.
Starting a business means creating your own pay check, financing your own retirement and providing your own health care (amongst many other things). Starting a business brings with it the uncertainty of whether you’ll acquire the right amount of customers to break even and make a profit. Leaving the comfort of a daily job will force you to rely on your family for moral and possible financial support. This is a risk, a calculated risk, that all business owners face regularly.
However, in an effort to ease the fear of starting a business while balancing the needs of your personal life, many businesses become distracted from their mission in order to make money. For instance, there is a small technology company in Arkansas that was started by an engineer. This company has created a revolutionary product that has the potential to change its niche market.
This company has participated in classes and training sessions to narrow their vision to a particular market niche. Yet, the business has become distracted in the mere effort to make money and survive. This engineer has developed inventor’s tunnel vision where he continues to make revisions to his product thinking one more change is needed before anyone buys this product.
Yet, the business owner has failed to realize that the market is ready to buy the product now. Sales can lead to future upgrades, yet future upgrades may miss the sale overall.
Start-up companies are prey for wanting to be all things to all businesses. In reality, just as in life, the business needs to be itself and provide the products to its target customers. If you are an accountant, you do not take on law cases, as that is not your expertise. Likewise, if you are a software company in the retail sector, don’t try to be a website designing company. The two do not mix.
The temptation to bring in revenues from any viable angle may seem attractive, but all the business is doing is potentially setting itself up to fail. Open your business within your market, create your business mission, and stay on course. Sales and sustainability will lead to future growth into other sectors, but stay true to the business core.
Stockman can be reached at [email protected]