Start-up businesses have never before had so much rich, diverse and useful content and so many tools available online and at their fingertips.
While many of these are excellent resources and readily accessible, they need to be put to good use or you risk being overwhelmed by information overload and a constant stream of distraction.
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For business owners developing their start-up concept, this information can be valuable in forming a breakthrough idea, developing the initial concept, researching the market and determining whether the concept is sufficiently unique and in demand.
Once these ideas are formed, there are a wealth of tools freely available or at minimal cost to help develop your strategy, obtain the support and funding you might need to get your business idea off the ground and deliver it as well.
Once the business is up and running, you’ll be exposed to even more content and tools that can help or hinder your business.
In the helping category are resources that enable you to:
- Be more efficient
- Remain current and relevant to your target market
- Win new business and grow
- Keep ahead of your competition
- Stay motivated and inspired during tough times
- Run a better business
Here are my top five tips for avoiding information overload:
1. Be clear and focused
Be clear and focused on your strategy and what you’re trying to achieve. This means having a clear strategy in the first place, with defined targets and outcomes you’re going to achieve.
Then monitor your progress as a means to track your performance and identify areas to make adjustments, rather than starting again when something that sounds better comes along.
If you’re not focused, you’ll be distracted by the latest craze and be more likely to jump on a bandwagon that isn’t relevant to your business.
2. Don’t obsess over the competition
Don’t be overly influenced by what others have achieved. The thing about all this freely available information is it shortens lead times for start-ups, enables market entry and as a result increases competition.
It also makes your competition more visible. Don’t be overly influenced by this though.
Your competitors’ might be going great guns, but trying to match their activities can mean you miss better opportunities your business can capitalise on like no one else can.
3. Beware of public relations
Don’t believe everything you read. There’s a public relations industry for a reason. Question, question and question some more before you decide to take a course of action that looks like a winner on the surface.
If you decide to pursue that action, test it first and make sure you can achieve the actual results you’re aiming for before investing lots of time and money.
4.Own your information, don’t let your information own you
Make sure the information and tools you adopt are used to support the business’ objectives, and not become the objective that you build the business around. Many innovators fall in love with a product and then waste time and money trying to develop a business around something they can’t actually sell.
The explosion of cloud-based software solutions is the latest phenomenon for SMEs, but bottom line is if the solution isn’t yet as good as traditional methods, or your customer base aren’t the type to adopt these solutions now or in the immediate future, you need to think hard about timing and whether or when it’s going to be right for you. If not, it can become a black hole for time and money.
5. Leave time to focus
Set aside time to focus on developing your business and staying relevant. By factoring this into your leadership responsibilities, you’ll know that you’re investing in your business rather than being reactive to circumstances imposed on you.
Invest this time on building power in your business and sourcing the right resources to support you in that endeavour.
A few weeks ago my blog dealt with the five areas that your business should “power-up” in to support your growth, offer, cash, information and execution needs.
Marc Peskett is a Director of MPR Group, a Melbourne based firm that provides business advisory and finance lending services, as well as tax, outsourced accounting and grants strategies to fast growing small to medium enterprises. You can follow Marc on Twitter @mpeskett