Are you starting a business? It’s not the daunting task it once was in the past.
The advances of the 21st century have made product advertising and information sharing easier than ever.
Aspiring entrepreneurs can locate and access business advice at their fingertips. Business blogs and articles providing valuable advice present themselves all over the web — consider this post one of them. In fact, with the right idea and implementation, only a few reasons explain why a burgeoning business balks after its launch.
When starting a business, ask yourself the following questions to prevent an unfortunate outcome:
1. Your Business Overall
A simple statement with great significance.
Do you list as a limited company or sole trader? Either choice comes with different tax requirements and liabilities. Does your business need special licenses or permits? What other aspects of the law do you need to know? Should you use the same bank for your business as your consumer account?
These represent a few underlying questions you need to ask yourself when beginning to consider going into business by yourself or with a partner. Even your business plan and model will need a clear outline of its purpose and primary functions.
2. Your Audience
There’s no way to know how popular, or in demand, your product or service will become. You have to start your business focused on a specific target audience or demographic.
The aspects of your business should focus on a specific demographic. Your business website, your advertising strategy and your starting collateral need a market to focus on. Identifying your audience provides many opportunities for the business to grow.
A big opportunity will include maximizing your professional exposure as well as evaluating your audience with surveys and feedback. You will also receive opportunities to gain insight on the popular and upcoming trends of your market. You can use these to identify your business’s route to market – which means where you base your business and services.
3. Are You an Entrepreneur?
It may seem like a rude question to ask yourself, but an honest answer can become vital to your success.
Can you handle the demands, disappointments, discouragements and deadlines that starting a business entails? Do you possess the patience to establish the foundation your startup needs? Can you encourage success and anticipate expansion? Do you possess leadership skills? Can you take criticism or instruction?
While it’s true that virtually anyone can start their own business, there’s a reason three-quarters of start-ups fail within the first three years. Perhaps you’d do better with a group or with a partner? Choose someone reliable in the areas that you’re deficient. Or maybe if something similar to your idea already exists, you would do better joining what’s already in motion?
4. Know Your Competition
Innovation, it’s vital to success, but every new car uses the wheel. You can have the greatest idea for a product or service, but in the end you’re joining an industry. Do you know your competition? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen industry? Do you know what your contemporaries have tried or tested?
In business, mistakes can become million dollar lessons. If someone else has already made similar mistakes, why repeat those headaches? A missed opportunity for one established company can become a gold mine for your new business. Read up on your competition, research your market and the major players within. You never know what you can take away.
5. Your Financial Plan?
Starting your own business means figuring out what to sell, how to sell and where to sell it. Have you thought about the financial undertaking?
This question pertains to not only investment funds but relates to how much revenue goes back into the company. Do your initial employees or partners earn a percentage? Do you know how much you need to earn to quit your day job or pay your rent? What are the financial goals for your first, three or ten-year projection?
Running a business consists of more than supply and demand. You need to have a plan for everything you earn, as well as everything invested.
6. The Importance of Customer Service
Customer service does not mean you need a room or full blown operation in the traditional sense. As an entrepreneur, you have a limited amount of manpower at your disposal. You cannot let this deficiency affect your customer interactions.
A single client or customer’s feedback can help your business in tremendous ways. A single bad review can serve as a body blow to an emerging business. Set a high enough standard in customer service and word-of-mouth will become your ally. Even if you do not have the best prices or product available, solid customer service will serve as an overwhelmingly attractive quality. Also, it can serve as a base for networking opportunities.
People want to work with likable people. The same goes in the business world. Positive attention on your business will create opportunities for valuable collaboration with bigger companies. Collaborating with a bigger organization opens the door for advantages such as partnerships, a larger investment and even a potential buyout. All this stems from implementing solid communication with your customers and clients.
7. The Limit of Your Expertise
If starting your own business, it’s typically a venture you’re passionate about. Something complimentary to the skills or knowledge you already possess.
But passion and talent can only go so far, especially in the business world. At some point, you have to show expertise. Your clients and customers will value your services or products if they know you know what you’re doing. Investors will feel more comfortable taking a chance on your startup if they see your passion tempered with expert knowledge.
If your level of expertise is not impressive enough to attract attention, you need to supplement it somehow. Find a partner that can speak to the more complex areas of your business. Carve out time to educate yourself in those areas, either online or in some academic course. You don’t need to have a big office, a full staff or a multitude of product options. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll make progress regardless of inventory or manpower. Expertise can become a valuable currency.