More or less everything we do here at AIS Solutions, whether it be providing bookkeeping, part-time conrollership or converting a business over to Quickbooks, is related to the SMB market in some way.
So I thought it would be good to step back a bit with this installment of our blog and take a clear look at the most challenging aspect of running your own small business, the part that makes most stop short of following through with any plans they may have for being their own boss: getting it off the ground.
This is the phase where, for one reason or another, things get delayed and eventually fall apart, and this knowledge – combined with the sheer amount of things to juggle at the beginning of a brand new business – can be the main factor that contributes to a failed start-up.
Over at About.com’s Small Business Canada website, author Susan Ward has posted an article that addresses these issues, entitled Top 10 Business Mistakes When Starting a Business. Rife with content regarding how to avoid some of the pitfalls that prevent small businesses from getting their start, the article offers a wide range of tips, from the take-a-look-at-yourself-first category (the personal) to a more business and competition-centric approach (the professional). Here’s a look at one:
4) Ignoring the competition.
Ignoring the competition won’t make it go away – and can be fatal to your new business. Simple question #1: If you’re selling your thingamabobs for $10 apiece and Vera down the street is selling her thingamabobs for $6 apiece, how many thingamabobs are you going to sell?
And what if Vera’s thingamabobs look/smell/feel/taste better than yours? 6 Ways to Find Out What the Competition is Up To will show you how to keep tabs on the competition that matters.
Another aspect of competition you need to understand is market saturation. The pie is only so big, so to speak, for every product or service. So, for instance, if you want to open a dog grooming business, there may not be any “room” left in your local area to do so because of the number of dog grooming businesses that already exist.
Understanding and analyzing the competition can be a full-time job in and of itself, even in the small business market. It would be a crucial mistake to move forward before knowing everything you can about your competitors, what they’ve done to succeed, how they compete with you geographically and on price or service offerings, and many other factors. It’s been over twelve years since I began my business and I still consider competitor analysis one of the most important facets of my job.
It is, however, just one aspect of starting a business, and there are several more that are just as important for consideration. Luckily, Miss Ward does an excellent job of outlining what many of these are in her article; if you’re still in the early stages of your small business, we’d recommend giving it a read. You’ll find value in all of these tips; we still do, and I’m sure several entrepreneurs that have been at it even longer do as well.
What did you think? Up-and-coming business owners, did you find these tips valuable? Do you think they placed you on the right track? Do you plan on making any changes to your plan now that you’ve read these? Your thoughts are always welcome, so let us know!