Running a business is so multifaceted, it may start to feel like what you really are is a professional juggler. And though there are just about a thousand things to think about every day as an entrepreneur, there are a few that stand out as being especially important if you want to totally dominate your industry.
1. Have a Great Product
Maybe this seems obvious, but I can’t count how many ventures I’ve seen fail because people weren’t fully committed to their product. With so many sharp competitors to face, there’s just no substitute for being the best at what you do. The most savvy businesswomen and men know that cutting corners is a recipe for the short track. If you’re in the food and beverage industry like I am—put thought into every ingredient, every flavor. Nine times out of ten, the market is saturated with choices—it’s hard for consumers to keep up with all the options they’re given when they’re staring at that shelf. If you want a business that’s still thriving 20, 30, 40 years from now, don’t just be relevant, be exceptional. In the end, it’s more than worth the effort.
2. Let Your Consumer Be Your Guide
The most dominating businesses understand that without the consumer, all you have is a good idea. Customer feedback isn’t just interesting—it’s everything. Find out who your customers are and why they’re your customers. What holds you apart from your competition in their eyes? This information is critical for researching marketing options, brand collaborations, packaging—you name it. The Internet makes interaction incredibly convenient—keep all portals of communication open, and maintain a continued conversation with your clientele. You keep them at the forefront, and they’ll keep you in business.
3. Live the Brand
There’s no room for cynics in a successful business. To keep yourself pushing every day, you have to really believe in your brand. Not just love it—but live it. Here’s what I mean.
My “aha” moment with hint came at a critical time in my life. In order to keep up with my fast-paced career and the demands of family, I’d gotten hooked on Diet Coke. The obvious plus was that the sugar and caffeine would keep me amped up, but I would inevitably crash by the end of the day, and after years of this I was also overweight. With four kids and a husband, I knew I needed to take better care of myself—if not for me, then for them. I committed myself to drinking water instead of soda, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that water is boring—it’s literally flavorless! When I searched the market for healthful flavored water, I found that there were no real options. And soon after, hint was born.
To really dominate your industry, your focus needs to be on investing in a lifestyle you fully believe in. Your brand should be an extension of who you are, what you love, and where your values lie. The more meaningful your brand is to you, the more that sincerity will translate to your customers, and the more success will find you.
Written by: Kara Goldin (Founder and CEO of Hint Water, the fastest growing flavored water in the United States. Kara started Hint when she couldn’t find a healthy water that tasted great without questionable additives like sweeteners. Hint Water has 0 calories, 0 sugar, 0 diet sweeteners and can be purchased online at www.drinkhint.com in a variety of flavors including Blackberry and Watermelon, in both still and sparkling.)