Getting a new business off the ground can be a slog but it’s imperative not to lose any early momentum
What is momentum? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process. If you have bought a very roadworthy vehicle in a franchise, it will need you, as the leader, to keep it well-oiled and moving. That’s why it is worth recognising what can help you gain momentum and keep your business going.
The first thing to understand is that getting started is the hardest part. Pushing a big heavy stone up a mountain is tough but, once you get moving, it becomes a lot easier. The second thing to learn is not to stop once you reach the top of the hill but rather to keep on moving. But how do you achieve that?
Certainly you need to be determined and headstrong, clear on your goals for the first week, month, year or five years and apply yourself consistently and daily to those goals. When starting a business in a new area, you need to build trust and reputation. Who are the people that need to trust you? Who are the contacts you need to make and nurture? Go out there every day and, through every medium possible, get in front of your target audience. If you consistently speak to three to five contacts daily over three to five years, you will build your reputation and your presence in an area. And, most importantly, you will be trusted. It is quicker to lose trust than it is to gain it so do not let anything damage your reputation or your trust.
You also need to build loyalty with the people that you attract. You have to build momentum into your sales so that customers want to keep buying from you. This means having special offers for your loyal customers and following up constantly to remind them about what they are missing out on if they don’t buy from you. It is also about giving them extra special treatment even if they complain about something. So make sure you put momentum and energy into building customer loyalty. It may be a loyalty scheme or a surprise thank you gift but don’t just do it once – keep it up. Be consistent and you will gain momentum. You might even look to put a referral scheme in place but don’t just launch it and not follow it up – keep it going.
PR can have a hugely positive effect on how people view you. Someone talking about your business is so much more powerful than you paying for an advert. You need to consistently nurture your relationship with local journalists and the media. That means newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and local agencies. Commit to getting one PR piece out every single week: it doesn’t have to be a news story – it could be a case study, comments on something that is relevant to your industry in the news or an award that you have won. A consistent approach to PR might mean building up a contact list of key journalists in your local area. Your exposure to the wider community will gain momentum and the sales will come in as a result.
Awards are also a great way of building brand awareness and gaining recognition in your local community. However, you need to choose your awards carefully because they need to be relevant to your business. Once you have several relevant nominations under your belt, you will see your reputation as being one of the best in your industry gaining momentum.
Keeping all the cogs turning is not easy. It is tiring as it is hard work but once you have reaped the rewards of your efforts, it will all seem worth it.
So, my word of the month is momentum. Say it to yourself and get your vehicle running at a consistent 80mph every day. It is often you that gets in the way, so put your mind to it, push that stone up and then, when it starts to attract speed and force, keep pushing.