Differentiate !? First, apply it internally!

Author: Mihai Uzum

Let’s be honest, businesses are not easy to handle. Especially small ones, that cater all your attention in order to function. Keep your feet on the ground and do not presume that there is no other business out there that is already doing what you are planning to do. Instead, think about the means through which you can differentiate your business.

1. Think internally

While branding, corporate identity or the quality of your products or services might improve your survival chances in the business world, consistency and optimized processes will separate you from the dead. One might invest millions in marketing, while neglecting the sales funnel. The end result will be a well known product or a widely recognizable brand with too little or no income. Dead, or better, shot in front of thousands of prospects.

2. Cash is king

Develop your business model and try to improve it from the early stages. Think about cash flow, capitalization and find the best means through which you can lower your monetary risks. While you might get tempted to immediately serve every single customer, take a moment and evaluate the flow of capital.

Closing a six-figure deal with a business customer looks delicious at first, but is there a chance you survive the 180 days term of payment? Is there enough capital left in your bank account so you can serve other customers as well? Sometimes, serving individual clients is a winner: early capitalization, shorter feedback loop, easy pivoting and most important: high cash flow!

3. Process, process, process

Optimize your processes and always keep in mind how long should one last. Develop procedures and externalize all but the core of your business. Why would you mind with accounting, marketing and sales, when your main concern is creating the perfect product for your customers?

4. Aim for floating not for bloating

Profit margins will disappoint you, so you better disappoint them first. Do not aim high in terms of profitability, as you might find yourself exhausted by the end of round 2. Get your minimum viable product done and launch it.

Conserve your energy and only focus on the most important decisions. Let time run by, keep your business above floating, and you will then have all the data and the energy you need in order to quickly scale.

Therefore, keep cash flow in mind, fight for process optimization and keep your head above the water as long as you need to gather data and validate your minimum viable product. Then go out there and conquer the world through outstanding marketing efforts. At least you’ll know how to dodge the bullets.