John Savignano is an experienced New York financial services executive who has held senior administrative posts with global industry leaders such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Carl Zeiss AG, and MasterCard. He also has a broad history as an educator who regularly taught at the college level while he served as an active executive and continues to teach as an adjunct professor with the Fordham University School of Business in New York. John Savignano recently shared his expertise, offering seven tips for people who are considering starting a new business in 2022.
1. Develop a Forward-Looking Business Plan
The first thing on John Savignano’s business startup to-do list is to create a business plan that goes far beyond a general revenue strategy and action plan. You must look far ahead to create a plan that is strong enough to drive business operations far into the future, yet versatile enough to adjust to current realities with immediate responsiveness. After you have outlined your company framework with an eye on growth, you should vet your business plan by conducting market research, product testing, and other methods of generating helpful feedback.
2. Keep a Narrow Focus
While large companies can afford to sell a broad spectrum of products in multiple markets, small startups should concentrate only on what they do the very best. In fact, the more hyper-focused you can be, the greater your chances of success. Want to sell women’s fashion? Consider narrowing your purview to a single clothing item, such as dresses or shoes. John Savignano recommends the same narrowing of focus for business owners. “In your 30s, you should start focusing on what you like to do and getting better at it, and really do not contemplate making any serious money until you’re in your late 30s or 40s,” he says. “I find that that formula usually works, and if you build up your skills and you learn from making mistakes … and if you repeat it enough, you’ll get good at it, but you have to focus.”
3. Simplify the Buying Process
The modern consumer is incredibly busy and constantly responding to a wide range of demands. Therefore, business owners who make sales transactions as fast and easy as possible are bound to capture more of the market share. In terms of eCommerce platforms, this means limiting the extent of online forms and eliminating unnecessary steps during the order, review, checkout, and payment process. You also want to incorporate eye-catching clickable buttons and other general website navigation improvements.
4. Focus on Networking
Like all professionals, business owners must develop a sizable network of contacts and partnerships if they want to build effective teams, generate sales leads, and establish productive industry relationships. It is important to begin this process well in advance of your initial business launch. While you can certainly work to improve your networking skills, it helps considerably if you have a natural affinity for people. As John Savignano puts it, “I always like to interact with people, whether it be socially or creating business opportunities or different ideas, but I’ve been doing this since I graduated college.”
5. Build a Consumer Email List
As social media marketing has been all the rage in recent years, you might assume that reaching out to consumer audiences through email is out of style and no longer effective. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, studies have shown that the average person spends more time on email than social media each day. Furthermore, if consumers are going to receive a message from a business, most prefer email to any other form of communication. For these reasons, you should collect email addresses through a variety of outreach methods, both online and in the real world.
6. Leverage the Power of Digital Automation
In the modern business environment, leveraging the power of the latest technology is an absolute must. Across market sectors and industries, much of this tech is geared toward automating repetitive business activities and processes. By allowing computers to handle the mind-numbing, routine things you constantly do on repeat, you can concentrate on the things you are truly passionate about. The digital automation tools on the market today can do everything from generating and sending AI marketing emails to tracking billing, profits, and expenses.
7. Avoid Distractions
Whether you are working from home or have moved into a professional office space, distractions abound in the modern business environment. Rather than letting a constant stream of text alerts, family intrusions, and other factors interrupt your workflow, you must develop guidelines and methods to minimize if not eliminate them. After all, the financial impact of constant distractions can be devastating to a new business that is struggling to find its footing. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t begin a business in your free time while concurrently working a full-time position. “If I had to give someone a business thought,” says John Savignano, “I would basically tell them to create what you refer to as a side hustle — I like that terminology.” From this position, you are in a prime spot to begin narrowing your focus and considering a jump to full-time business ownership. “Because if you’re locked in a day job, if that’s what you like, it pretty much limits you in terms of what you can do,” says John Savignano. “But if you can step out of the box and take control over your life, it makes it No. 1, a little bit more interesting, and it gives you more opportunities.”
While most of the preceding tips are great to keep in mind no matter when you choose to start a company, all are particularly relevant at the present time. Looking forward to the general business and larger societal landscape throughout 2022 and beyond, these tips will help new business owners and managers navigate complex times while capitalizing on the broad spectrum of highly profitable market opportunities that rapid change and uncertainty offer.