In my experience, most breakthroughs come from being on the front line, and that means engaging with customers, being hands-on with your clients, establishing a firm connection with them and understanding their needs. Use your daily experiences to constantly refine how you operate as a business to provide better service to your stakeholders. That specific accumulated knowledge will help you when looking to dive into a new venture.
Keep an eye out for any major changes in the field you’re in. If you live and breathe your industry then you’ll have a head start both time-wise and knowledge-wise. You will be in an excellent position to capitalise on any opportunities that changes in the industry will inevitably bring. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients questions, and always be prepared to hear the answers. It may sound obvious but do not fall into the trap of fitting the client to the process rather than the process to the client.
You may soon realise that there is a different market or distinct need that your existing business model is fundamentally unable to address. It took thousands of customers coming through the doors of my business Private Fleet for us to realise potential clients left with unmet needs. After gathering all the data, receiving feedback and measuring outcomes, we identified an opportunity in a gap in the market, and Price My Car was launched.
Hopefully, with one successful business in your pocket, you’ve seen some sort of financial reward which could help fund the new venture. Every business needs capital – normally a lot more than you initially forecast – and don’t be afraid to partly fund this with your previous success. Put aside a war chest from your established business for when you are ready to launch a new endeavour.
Don’t get carried away with one business success and jump into a whole new industry. Sure, some things you’ve learned may be transferable, but you will greatly benefit from remaining broadly in the same field. You can use all your accumulated knowledge to real advantage. And, all industries have particular quirks (and pitfalls) that you may be blissfully unaware of until you have already committed.
Experience and knowledge absolutely should be transferrable from one established business to the next, but be careful of other assets such as your staff. Whilst it might be tempting to transfer your top, trusted staff members in order to be assured of new success, that may be at the expense of your first company. Even worse, you risk losing a happy, settled and successful employee if they do not find enjoyment in the new role. Best to start the recruitment process now!
It could make sense to share some resources like office space and website hosting, but be wary that sharing costs may disguise the true performance of each business. If one business is “carrying” the other, you need to know. If you are using one to prop up the other, both will fall down. Make smart choices with your backend processes and overheads, but keep across what this means when measuring your own success.
David Lye, Founder, www.pricemycar.com.au