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Starting a business

How many times have you wondered or debated with friends how to run a successful business? From experience I today know that talking about it and doing it is significantly different.

It is exciting and scary at the same time and every single day is a battlefield on its own. Even though we are a very young business (started in May 2013, with our first product launch in March 2014) I thought that there is no better time to reflect on what I have learned about running a business.

Here are 6 of the most important aspects to me to run a successful business:
1. Vision
The world is a complex place and you can quickly lose direction. A well-defined and strong vision will help you guide your way to your goals and aspirations.

2. Focus
One of the most difficult things for me has been to identify my target market. In the start of a business you do not want to limit your potential customer base. I often found myself saying: “Everybody is my customer.”. Everybody can be your customer, but then you have to service and market to everybody, which takes a lot of money. In the beginning when you have small budgets focus your attention on a smaller group of individuals.

3. Passion
Being an entrepreneurial business is lonely in the beginning. Nobody really knows you and many times do not get you. You are that new kid on the block who sits in the corner at the parties. But if you are passionate about what you do you will not be demotivated by this.

4. Teamwork and relationships
We sometimes feel we can do everything or say: “If I don’t do it, nobody will!”, but the reality is that you cannot do everything. There simply is not enough time in a day. For this reason teamwork is vital, as is the relationships within a team. Treat your customers, employees and suppliers with respect, but hold them accountable.

5. Honesty
As an entrepreneur it is very tough to accept that your ideas aren’t always great, but be open to feedback. Ask people you trust to give you honest feedback. And then comes the difficult part, if the feedback is negative, swallow your pride and move on. Scrap the product, idea or project, learn from it and make it better next time.

6. Listen
Some of our best products have come from sources outside of our business, like our customers, suppliers, family or friends. This is because all these people are independent from your business and can see things from a different angle. They can also see how your offering can fit into their lives and will then give you an idea you never thought of. Listen to them, because ultimately it is to them you want to sell your products or services.

The above is not an exhaustive list of how to run a business, but it is what keeps me going and the business growing.

Please send me your comments to alec@cactic.co.za or fitness@cactic.co.za.

Have a fun and fit day!

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