Pursuing Entrepreneurial Excellence
Eau Claire consultant Dawn Garcia has tips for turning your idea into a profitable business
There is little doubt about the entrepreneurial passion in the Chippewa Valley, and with that comes the need for local consulting expertise. Dawn Garcia, founder and principal of Pursuit of Excellence in Eau Claire, has more than a few tips for local businesses. Dawn started her career as a critical care nurse, then advanced into healthcare leadership, achieving her masters of science and certification as a Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence. She loves being able to assist small local businesses to the next level, and she has a wealth of knowledge. Here are some of her top tips!
Have a vision, a mission, and a values statement to correlate with a sound business plan. This is the track that your metaphorical business train is going to ride. (Unless you want to be involved in the railroad industry – then the business train would be quite literal.) It is critical to know where you want to lay your tracks, and the direction they are headed.
Turning an Initial Profit
Make a plan that establishes cash flow in order to make the business sustainable to keep things rolling.
If people don’t know about you, how are they going to use your product or service? Many new business owners forget the importance of building awareness of their new business as their focus in the first one to two years. Establish a customer base starting with friends and neighbors, and build customer loyalty. Repeat customers are the lifeblood of a healthy business, especially in local markets.
Know Your Customers
The Chippewa Valley has a population that holds a high standard of service and reliability, demands value-based solutions, and prefers to shop local if value options are available. A lower price point is another draw that steers competition away from larger metropolitan areas and makes it easier for customers to buy locally. Networking can be a great way to build customer awareness regionally, to open doors in a profound way for business-to-business and business-to-consumer services.
Know Your Competitors
How can you give your business an edge in the market, how do you stand out? Where can you innovate? Answering these questions helps your business to remain interesting, and thriving for the future.
Build Great Talent
Look for employee potential during the hiring process. Ensure the candidate is able to grow with the business and develop new skills; employee turnover is very expensive to the culture and the bottom line.
As a business grows, the owner must transition from being a “doer” to a “leader.” The stereotypical Midwestern work habits may limit this transition because owners may resist help when it’s needed. Every business needs help now and then in the first few years from mentors, advisors, business professionals, and consultants. This help is often avoided because of a “do-it-yourself” mentality, or a perceived stigma to getting assistance. The best business owners focus on what they do best and hire for the rest. Help from people who have the experience can be a catalyst to realizing the best potential for the business. Leadership of employees is essential, and these tips can help prevent derailment:
• Create trust by demonstrating that your words and actions are in harmony.
• Communicate interests, capabilities, and concerns.
• Never sweep mistakes under the rug. Acknowledge and address them quickly.
• Ask for feedback, and never assume that the other party sees things the same as you.
Identifying the steps to success, areas of opportunity/growth, and waste are the keys when it comes managing the logistics and processes. Technology has enabled small businesses in unprecedented ways. Using technological resources can put a small business on the express track, and preventing problems before they become problems is as smart as it gets.
What is your locomotive? What feeds your fire? To get any small business out of the station, the entrepreneur has to be excited about it, and believe in it. An often-missed component is support. Every entrepreneur needs emotional support for the highs and lows of building a business – it’s very hard work. A key test of true business success is whether or not a significant other believes in the owner’s skill set, concept, and passion. If this isn’t the case, the owner should revisit the concept, timing, or plan before issues and losses mount.
The last success tip is to work with what you have, and we have a lot here in the Chippewa Valley. Already mentioned is the awesome customer base here that prefers local business. Customers are just one of the many ingredients to the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well here. The Midwestern work ethic keeps steam in the engine. The many local universities and colleges bring a palpable level of energy to the area in addition to tailored entrepreneurial programs and access to state-of-the-art educational resources to inspire innovation. Knowledge is power, and the Valley certainly packs a punch.
Learn more about Dawn Garcia and her business, Pursuit of Excellence, by visiting pursuit-excellence.com, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (715) 828-7390 or (855) 837-7200.