On the latest episode of Full Production, I spoke to Luke Buckland. For more than 12 years Luke’s been general manager of PJL Group, a massive mining engineering company that started as a homegrown operation with one underground concrete truck.
Luke’s story is one of phenomenal growth. This week I wanted to provide some tips for anyone out there who is interested in turning their big idea into a big business.
Prove Product Market Fit
Here’s one that’s overlooked: know that there are people out there who want to buy what you’re selling.
It’s really easy to get wrapped up in your idea and forget to prove that there is actually a market for it. You love your idea, you’ve been thinking about it for years. But if nobody out there wants to buy it, you’re kind of screwed.
Run some focus groups, speak to peers that you admire who can give you a no-BS assessment of the market.
Make a Business Plan
Be concise with everything you do when it comes to your new business.
Where do you want to be in 2 months, 6 months? What does your budget look like? Business plans should have a financial plan which will include balance sheets, sales forecasts, cash-flow statements and anything else you need.
A lot of businesses fail due to cash-flow issues. They don’t allocate for the inevitable hiccups that come when starting a new business.
Be Careful With Your Spending
New startups will blow a lot of money on worthless things — like booking a fancy conference room for a client meeting.
I’ll tell you this, that client you’re meeting with doesn’t care what kind of paninis you have at your meeting. They want to see that you’ve got a good idea and have the passion and intelligence to carry it out.
The worst thing that can happen is you lose sight of your budget and blow all your money on extraneous expenses. Exercise some restraint here.
Get Your Network to Help You
Hopefully you’re a social creature with some good contacts. If so, utilise your connections. When you’re promoting your new idea or business, use your friends, family and colleagues to spread the word. If possible, give them promotion codes so they can try your product out for free.
For those of us in the mining industry, reach out to the close friends and mentors you’ve made at your job sites. Offer them deals that are too good to pass up if they help you out in the beginning.
Look, taking your daydream to a profitable business is a terrifying venture: trust me, I’ve been there. But I’ll tell you now, you will regret not giving it a shot if you’re too afraid to fail.
Listen to my entire conversation with Luke here.