5 Don’ts That Will Create a Successful Business

“I’ll just wing it!” I know some people that seem to live their life by this phrase. It becomes something of a badge of honor that they tout, almost like they’ve cheated the system by avoiding the rules of the game.
 
I’m planning a business trip to Las Vegas next month and I’m all set. I have my plane tickets, my hotel reservation and my schedule of events. I know that I’ll have a shuttle service from the airport to my hotel,  Internet access and no room service and I’ve planned accordingly. Although I’m a pretty good “winger”, when need be, it’s not something I practice regularly. Perhaps this approach to life has been an even deeper asset in the area of my business.  Although “winging it” may work when you’re enjoying a day at the beach, it’s not recommended when running a business and certainly is not a key to starting a business.
 
Mom entrepreneurs often face unique obstacles but also enjoy wonderful benefits by owning their own business. Like many others, being at home with my children was both my motivation and reward to starting something of my own from home. With the surge of the internet, amazing opportunities are now possible that weren’t even an option a generation or two ago.
 
I’m often asked by others, especially women, “What is your secret to having a successful business when so many businesses in your field fail to thrive?” I think what they’re really asking is “Can you tell me how I can have a successful,business?” This is always tricky to answer. After all, as women, we have the ability to birth babies; businesses shouldn’t be too hard, right? How I respond usually depends on how much time we have to talk.
 
The short answer is that I do hundreds of very important things exceptionally well. The long answer is, well, longer. I will outline some of the key things that I suggest avoiding that will help ensure a great start to your business venture.
 
 

1. Don’t go in blind – (AKA “winging it”)

Heavily research the field you’re interested in being a part of before you move forward with your start up plans. Find out what areas are still untapped and what needs are currently unmet. Talk to others in the industry. Find out if there’s a niche within that field that has not yet been dominated or a service that is still needed or could be improved upon.
 

  • Study your competition

What experience, expertise or passion can you contribute that is better or would set you apart from the current choices? How do your competitors get the word out about their product or service? What will you do to advertise or create a buzz about what you have to offer?

  • Locate the pitfalls and make sure you can overcome them

Is this industry seasonal? What can you do in the down time to get ahead of the competition next year or what can you offer during this time to the same target audience? Is your product brand new to the market? How will you get the word out so that those who would benefit by it can find out about it?

  • Have a backup source of income

If you’re not dependant on the instant financial success of your business, you will be able to give it the time it needs to grow without feeling forced to put it too quickly in a certain direction or give up on it too soon.
 
 
 

2. Don’t do it alone

  • Seek out an experienced mentor (better yet, a few people)

 
If you know someone in person that can do this, great! However, it’s not necessary for you to personally know mentors to learn from them–there are a plethora of websites, blogs, internet radio shows, or books that can do just. Some of my best lessons have been taught from people I have never met. Schedule this time into your week to learn and improve.
 
Currently, I have a great business book by my toilet, a fantastic audio CD in my car stereo and have bookmarked a list of favorite websites and blogs to check when I have a few minutes of down time. This makes it easy to stay motivated and inspired because I always have great material close at hand. Being a woman in business is to your advantage in this area, I believe.
 
Women often love to talk and share stories. If you get in with the right crowd of women in business, you have a gold mine of available discussions you can learn from. There are also many online resources specifically geared toward women and moms who are also business owners.
 
 
 

3. Don’t be ordinary

I have enjoyed Seth Godin’s take on the “Purple Cow” approach to business and I wholeheartedly agree.
 

  • Stand out! Find an area (or two or three) where you can really wow your audience. Make your business something worth talking about and people will want to support you. The great thing about this angle is that each field and business has it’s own unique opportunities to stand out. I recently found out about a website that sells shoes. For each pair of shoes they sell, they donate a pair to someone in need. This is exceptional business! After visiting this website, I wanted to buy some shoes. Not because I needed them, but because I got excited about this company’s vision. Not only that, but I shared it with my husband and friends and now I’m mentioning it to you!

 
 
 

4. Don’t stand in the shadows

Be transparent with your customers and your audience. They’ll get to know you and, as a result, will start to trust you.
 

  • If the owner of a business takes an active role in working with their customers, this stands out. When I go out to eat, I enjoy seeing the restaurant owner walking around and talking with their guests. Even if they don’t stop and talk to me, it makes me feel important that they are taking the time to be “among us”. Even if you have an online business, there are still many ways (perhaps more) that you can do this. The great thing about women is that we are relational. This means we are naturally more inclined to do well in this area–draw on this and work it to your advantage.
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  • If you have a website, make your “about us” page as personal as possible. Include a photo of yourself (maybe even with your family). Tell your customers about your passion for the field you are in and why you are so excited about it. On my website, I not only have a photo of myself with my family, but photos of my staff as well. I also have photos of the moms behind the mom-invented products I sell and their story included on the product pages in an effort to make our website as personable as possible.
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  • Keep in contact with your customers. Send out a regular newsletter (written by you). This gives you a voice and helps continue that ongoing relationship that you have started. I recently started using weekly YouTube videos on my blog to connect even further with my customers and allow them to see my personality and identify with me as a person and a mom, rather than just the owner of my business.

 
 
 

5. Don’t be stubborn

If you discover that the road you are going down is not going in the right direction, make a change!

  • Sometimes you will know you are headed down the wrong path or sometimes your customers will let you know (hopefully you have been asking for their feedback and suggestions). Correcting course is normal and expected, not a sign of failure.

 
Owning a business is tough; there is no sugar coating it! As experience has shown the first few years can often be the hardest. The good news is that we often live much longer than a few years so we can take a few rough starts and still have a good chance of coming away with something successful. I challenge you to plan your business, wing your vacations!
 

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Heather Ledeboer

Founder at Mom4Life
Heather is a Christian, wife, mom and the owner of Mom 4 Life. Mom 4 Life is the kind of place your mother wished she had when she was a young mom. All products are unique and useful and best of all, 100% mom invented! Hundreds of products with FREE shipping anywhere in the US.
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17 Comments

  1. Courtney@Booksnboys

    Wow! This post is so full of useful, practical, wise information! I bookmarked it since I have a feeling I’ll be coming back and re-reading it several times – thanks!

    Reply
  2. LeNesha

    Love the critical information for business success shared in this post and admire the friendship between you ladies. Thanks for this post Heather (Mogul Mom)

    What truly stands out about Mom 4 Life is that your online store’s site is personal, shares the stories of each mom inventor of your products, and is all about the greater good for moms and mom business owners. This makes the shopping experience special. Great business Heather (Mom 4 Life).

    Reply
  3. kate

    Great tips!

    Reply
  4. Mom 4 Life

    Hey Carla! Thank you for your kind words. Yes time does fly 🙂 I can still remember my first phone conversation with you as we were discussing WubbaNub details before I placed my first order “back in the day;)”

    Reply
  5. Carla S

    Heather L … words of wisdom 🙂 You write extremely well and is so resourceful, that it makes the reader want to read more. If memory serves me correctly, you introduced me to Heather A. ?! Wow.. time flies.

    carla
    http://www.wubbanub.com

    Reply
  6. Mom 4 Life

    I am so glad that you guys were able to find this article to be helpful. I hope your businesses all continue to grow!

    Reply
  7. Christy

    Heather,

    Thank you for sharing your business insight and expertise! This post and your site offer great tools.

    Christy
    http://www.kidskonserve.com

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Karen,
      I agree–these are great suggestions at any stage of the game. Thanks for your comment!! 🙂

      Heather

      Reply
  8. Stephanie

    Thanks! Words to live by for sure!

    Reply
  9. Ros - Ficklets.com

    Today’s post was enlightening. Thanks Heather L. for sharing your business insight. How can we mom entrepreneurs go wrong when we have smart and business savvy women like yourself and Mogul Mom to learn from. And your mutual respect for each other is a true testament of how a great friendship/mentorship can take you far, personally and professionally.

    Thank you both for being my mentors! =)

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Ros,
      You are just the sweetest! You’re welcome for being your mentor–it’s my pleasure & an honor. Thank YOU for being such a supportive member of The Mogul Mom. 🙂

      Heather

      Reply
  10. katrina Glen

    Thanks for the great advice…I am the Co-Founder of Dare To Be http://www.daretob.ca As 2 stay home moms in business we are learning daily the things it takes to be successful. Thanks for your insight.

    Dare To Be – We don’t just sell shirts, we sell a lifestyle

    Reply
  11. Kathy

    Thank you so much for this. Lots of great, really useful information.

    Reply
  12. Heather Allard

    Heather–you’re quite welcome & deserving! I’ve been blessed by our friendship too and I’ve learned so much from you & the way you live your life & run your business. Thanks for referring people to The Mogul Mom–I really appreciate it! 🙂 Glad you still love the tagline–you know I love coming up with that stuff!!
    Heather

    Reply
  13. Mom 4 Life

    Heather, thank you so much for your really kind words. I have been so blessed by our friendship and have loved seeing how much you have been able to help others (like myself) get closer to reaching our potential. I refer people to your blog all the time. ((hugs))

    P.S. Still loving our tag line, thanks!! 🙂

    Reply

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