10 Important Insights

Will Your business last 10 years?  These 10 insights were shared by my good friends at Gateway Financial Marketing (www.gatewayfinancial.com.au), on the topic of the 10 most important insights they have garnered over the 10 years they have been in business.  Whilst Gateway Financial serves a niche market, I have modified these insights to make them applicable to all businesses, so that you too may still be in business 10 years from now.

1. It's all about relationships. Building relationships is one of the most important aspects of any business, whether these relationships are with clients, intermediaries, or suppliers. Good relationships take time to cultivate, so take the time to develop good relationships by networking, producing captivating, clear, concise and consistent communication, having great brand management, and by good public relations.

2. Don't rely on your product – build credibility instead. In a competitive market you can't rely on your product to sell itself. Competitor products will be superior to your product sooner or later. To create a loyal following amongst existing and potential clients you need to build credibility in your business by:

  • Striving for persistently good to excellent quality in everything you do;
  • Being transparent;
  • Quickly owning up to your mistakes; and
  • Telling people about your successes.

3. Build a strong brand. To build a strong brand you need to own the marketing high ground that supports your product. To do so requires you to always seek to reinforce the reasons why your clients purchased from you by reminding them of those key reasons – this is your marketing high ground. Activities that support your brand include:

  • Providing timely and effective follow up;
  • Focusing on your clients and prospects and getting to understand their needs; and
  • Producing professional and regular informative communication that is distributed creatively through a variety of channels.

4. Art and science. Most of the activities in your business will be process orientated, which is the "science" part of your business and should be undertaken as efficiently as possible. However, some parts of your business will be unique to you; that's the "art" part of your business. Embrace the artistry as it is this element that sets you apart from your competition.

5. Be client focused. Make clients the centre of all your endeavours; focus on their needs and requirements by:

  • Communicating with your clients in a way that interests them, not you;
  • Frequently reaching out to your clients and prospects;
  • Knowing that relationships are built over time and that your actions will speak louder than your words; and
  • Leaving a good impression. Much of your future business will be generated through referrals, and not necessarily from those who are clients.

6. It's a business. Remember that you are running a business. It is not a hobby! Therefore, you need to maintain focus and be as efficient and professional as possible in everything you do by:

  • Acknowledging that you require capital. Be appropriately capitalised and when assessing your capital requirements consider that it will take twice as long as you expect to be successful;
  • Valuing your staff. Train, support, encourage, and appropriately incentivise your staff to deliver their best;
  • Investing in the future. Today's success is no guarantee of future success. Enhance your product and look for the next strategic direction of your business;
  • Planning for growth and change. Be prepared for success with plans for growth of your business, and also be prepared for changes in; the market; your clients and competitors; and regulations, amongst others.

7. Find your niche. You can't reach everyone but you can reach a niche! Carve out your niche and become an expert in it. Make your niche; specific (an inch wide) and rich in prospects (a mile deep). To determine your niche, you'll need to be aware of the niches of your competitors.

8. Effective marketing is a game changer. No matter how good your product or service if prospects haven't heard about you they won't buy from you. You need to get your message to your niche often as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. To do so will require a marketing plan that is implemented effectively.

9. Move with the times. Whilst time marches on, your; documentation, technology, products, and knowledge of the industry will stagnate if you are not proactive. To be at the forefront, consider:

  • When preparing documents that will be made public, be aware that they will date and think about the terms used. For example; "recently in 2004..." in 2005 might have been recent, but in 2014 is ancient history and suggests sloppiness. Also, consider reviewing documents at least annually to ensure they remain current;
  • Your technology will become obsolete sooner than you think. Be mindful of the latest innovations and embrace new technology;
  • Innovate with your products to ensure that as your product evolves that your business remains at its peak; and
  • Keep abreast of industry trends; by taking a step back and thinking about how your industry is evolving so that you can position your business for the next evolution in your industry.

10. Low hanging fruit occurs in orchards, not in business. In a competitive market there is no low hanging fruit because your competitors have already knocked on that door. Understand the time it will take to build your business and treat each prospect as if it were your most important and cater to their individual needs.


In this Inspirations I have provided 10 important insights that my good friends at Gateway Financial penned when they reached their first 10 year milestone. These insights were garnered from the major mistakes their clients made. By keeping these insights top of mind you can be confident that you might avoid many of the major common mistakes and reach your 10 year milestone.

To ensure your business makes it to 10 years too, contact Inspirational Leaders (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).