Written by Paul Smith
Are you considering starting your own business this year? If so, you’re not alone. According to a report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), nearly 14 percent of Americans are starting or running new businesses.
What’s more, 51 percent of the working population believes there exist good opportunities for starting businesses, according to the aforementioned report. There are many advantages to starting your own business, and I enjoy all of them myself as a business owner and consultant.
While starting your own business has its advantages, like being your own boss, it also has its fair share of challenges. In order to make sure you’re ready, you need to answer three important questions below.
1. Am I a hundred percent committed?
While starting your own business does take a hundred percent commitment, that doesn’t have to mean leaving your current job or working long nights and weekends. Juggling a career and a business on the side is challenging, but not impossible. If this is the route you’ll take, do a bandwidth check and create a rough timeline to help you stay on track.
- January: Meet with five successful entrepreneurs in the industry or find a mentor.
- February: Create a Lean Action Plan: a quick, one-page marketing plan.
- March: Get a website and social media set up—start posting regularly.
- April: Find a marketing partner or freelancer to install e-commerce software and get product listings right.
Ultimately, you’re working toward starting your business with each passing month—without driving yourself crazy in the meantime.
Leaving your job and relying solely on income from your business before you’re ready to do so may leave you struggling to make ends meet, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. If you wait until you’re 100 percent committed (and financially ready), it will be easier to take the hiccups and roadblocks in stride.
2. What’s my niche?
You’re entering a market that has existing competitors, more than likely. To ensure that your product or service stands out amongst the crowd—making the sacrifice in time, money and sanity worth it—you must differentiate.
This is where your niche comes into play. A niche is a specific segment of a market or particular qualities of your own product or service that narrow down who you’re trying to sell to, and what exactly you’re selling. For example, the plus size category is a niche market within the larger fashion industry because it’s catering to a very specific audience, not just shoppers.
As you determine your niche, remember that “the smaller the niche, the less competition, which means you have more chance of the buyer finding you. But be warned—it also means less potential buyers. So you need to balance the level of competition with the size of the market.
The key is making your niche clear to anyone who comes across your website or social accounts. I consider my niche to be high-quality content and great communication, and I actively work to make sure that remains true of all my work.
3. What tools and resources do I need to start?
Before you take the first step toward starting your own business, make a list of what you need to get going.
This list may be as simple as:
Knowing what you need from the get-go will allow you to slowly assemble what you need as you prepare to get started—if you need a lot of money, you’ll need time to find it, whether you take out a bank loan or find an angel investor.
In either case, when you know what you need, break the list into two columns: “Must Haves” and “Would Be Nice.” Prioritize the items and then determine the costs of all of it, and where you should splurge versus pinching pennies. Consider creating a list like this one in order to prioritize what you actually need to get your new business up and running.
- Posted by admin
- On January 29, 2018