What I didn’t learn at business school (but know now!)

While I did learn a LOT of theory and case studies of big business, and if required I can write out a cashflow forecast and balance sheet by hand, what I didn’t learn was any of the actual practical ‘stuff’ that business owners—especially small owner managing solopreneurs like many of us doing our Thing actually need to know.

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Customers are always right (except when they’re wrong)

The adage is the customer is always right and yes, they are always right in that it’s their decision to buy or not to buy, BUT they might not always ‘be right’ about what they need to buy.

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You wouldn’t serve a bowl of chips

It’s the ‘best dress in the shop window’ scenario, it’s the ‘fire the big guns first’ option. Don’t offer tasters of anything less than what you do that’s brilliant when you’re faced with hungry potential customers. Serve them a little bit of your steak not a bowl of chips.

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Using what you’ve got

When looking to create new products and services, do make sure you’re using what you’ve already got first. The same is true for marketing content and pretty much anything–until you’ve exhausted new markets and new audiences, it’s a really good idea to use what you’ve already got.

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It doesn’t have to be shiny and new

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Having a signature dish or programme gets you noticed and remembered. If you are changing your recipe all the time then how do we know what your brilliant Thing is? Being in your spotlight means being consistent and having a clear signature that we can see. If you are chopping and changing all the time it’s confusing for us and it’s diluting your brilliance.

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Getting your ‘business head’ on (and why you need to keep it on!)

This morning I visited my friend Nicola, who’s just started running her own business (she’s my hairdresser), and it was great to hear that she’s already got her ‘business head’ on, and is busy working out how she’s going to start differentiating and improving her salon.

She’s taken over an existing business, and this of course can have its upsides and downsides — the upsides being that she is making money from day one (quite useful!), but the downside being that there isn’t a blank page to start from to do everything your way from the outset.

But here’s some things that we talked about that made me confident that the salon is only going to get better and more profitable…

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