Opening a business isn’t easy, but if you’re truly passionate about it, there’s no time like the present. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: about 20% fail in their first year, and about 50% of small businesses fail in their fifth year. Given these statistics, you need to be smart in your decision making. With wisdom and common sense, you can increase your chances of success. Here are some tips for you to get started!
Choose The Right Path
When starting your business, make sure it is the right one. How do you know? Use the 5 P’s of Purpose to help you find what you were meant to do. This is important because if you “know your why”, then you can overcome “any how” and “any what.”
Find an industry or sector or skillset that you are:
- Passionate About – You feel guilty for being paid because you love doing it so much!
- Personality Fit – Some jobs require different types of personality, although tests aren’t full-proof, they can help guide you.
- Pre-eminent – Do something you know you are good at and what others say you are good at. I wish I could be an NBA player, and even if the other traits may fit, without this one, unfortunately will be difficult to pursue!
- Profitable – You have to survive! You don’t want to be a starving artist forever. Find some way to monetize what you are good at, you are passionate at, and fits your personality!
- Pleasing to God/Your Values/Your Beliefs – Do what is right and according to your belief system. Don’t do anything illegal!
Once you know what field you want to get into, there are a number of things you’ll need to do before you serve your first customer.
Starting a business is long-term thing. You might have seen stories about people coming up with an idea and cashing in quickly. They’re big stories for a reason: they don’t happen all that often.
You’ve got to be prepared to face the ups and downs. Luck and talent help, but it comes down to pure grit. Being able to push through the good and the bad. If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.
Do Your Research
When you have a little idea of what you want to pursue, you’ll need to take the time to do your homework in regards to the market you want to pursue. What do people want? What do they need? Will your product or service meet that need?
No matter what you do or sell, it’s crucial to work out if there’s a market for what you’re offering. You might think your business is the best thing since sliced bread but if others don’t agree then you wont make a profit. Market research could give you insights into whether you should tweak your product or sell something else entirely. It will let you know what kind of price point people would be looking to pay for a product like yours. It can save a lot of heartache later down the line, if you mass produce a product no one wants for example then it’s going to be the end of your venture.
Make A Plan
You can’t go into the world of business without first creating a plan. Nobody got anywhere without being organized and having a clear idea of how to operate. Another reason to have a well-written business plan is so that potential investors and loans will be easier to acquire should you need them.
When you have a written plan, you have a much easier view of how things should go. It should contain at a minimum information on the most important aspects regarding the business. The more that you plan your business, the more likely it is that you will see it through to completion. A well-researched and adaptive business plan is often the difference between success and failure in business. See https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281416 for more information on business plans.
If there’s an urgent need that you can fill, then you might be onto a winner. Take time to research your competitors, best practices, and get a mentor. A mentor’s hindsight can be your foresight! While you don’t want to be prepared, make sure you don’t deal with “paralysis by analysis.” Perfect is the enemy of the good, so often the best thing you can do is get started, get feedback, improve your product or service, and iterate!
Funding And Budgeting
You need a little capital to get off of the ground. Whether you borrow money from friends and family, get a loan, or bring on investors, managing your cash flow in the early stages of a business is crucial to future success.
Learn to do your books, read financial statements, and create a budget. Not good with numbers? Then you can outsource, however make sure that you verify and have an overall understanding of your profit margins, break-even point, and other financial numbers that serve as your dashboard on how you are doing.
Acquiring the necessary funding can seem like a challenge, but fortunately, there are plenty of options available. Some of the most common funding sources are borrowing from friends and family or going to your local bank for a traditional loan.
Getting your brand out there for people to remember is so important if you want to thrive. Building a good relationship between yourself and your customer is important. In today’s market, customer engagement is very important.
There’s an easy and simple way of getting your name out there these days: social media. Not only can you reach a large group of people, it is free and a easy way of promoting. If you want to reach the right people, you can pay to place ads for your target market. Traditional methods still can be effective. You can place ads with radio, newspaper and if your budget permits, TV.
Protect Your Idea!
It is a competitive market, and people are always looking to find out what their competitors are doing. If your idea is unique, consider patenting or trademarking it. If an extremely complex service or product, contact a trademark attorney.
While it may cost a little at first, in the long-run it could save you quite a bit in of heartache in the long-run. Apple sued Samsung based on trademark infringement. The cost? $539 billion dollars that Samsung was ordered to pay!
Who you hire is going to be one of the most important decisions you will make. You need to make sure you hire the right people and make sure the right people are in the right seat. This is both for full-time employees, contractors, and freelancers that you outsource too.
Few things will be more important than the people you have in your employment. In fact, you are going to need to make sure that you are aware of exactly the kind of people you want to employ before you start your business. There will likely be a number of qualities which you want in your staff, and knowing those from the start will mean that you can approach your recruitment process in a much more sensible and logical manner.
You can’t replicate yourself and you certainly don’t want to burn yourself out! There is much that needs to be done in running a business. Focus on the tasks that only you and do, and outsource the rest!