Before contemplating any business venture it is very important to be true in assessing yourself. Do you have it in you to really get into business or is it because of the bad economy that no one is hiring you therefore you think business is a good option. In your working life what were the major challenges you faced and how did you overcome them more importantly what did you learn from the mistakes your CEO made and what insight you got from it. Were you a good “man manager”? The list of questions is endless but it is important to mull over each of them.
Know your market?
There is a difference in knowing your market and perceived knowledge of the market. While the former stems from being a realist the latter stems from over confidence. Meet as many people as you can and analyze what they feel about your business. Encourage people, who are highly critical of you, to provide you feedback; they are the ones who often give great insight. Assess what type of support you will need to make your business successful and how many people will support you.
What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
Now that you have tried to understand the market and your competition it is essential to know that what you feel will set you apart from the rest in terms of product and service or for that matter price. Do you feel you have that “hook” which will make clients gravitate towards your product/service offering? Remember the cardinal rule in business is to always present an offering based on what the customer needs not what you perceive their needs are.
This is often the key to learning; test marketing your product will help you start thinking about improving your offering. Try to sell the product rather than giving it away for free. A paying customer will be most demanding. As a business owner you will also benefit by learning about the challenges and opportunities you face in the market place.
Do a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat (SWOT) Analysis
Some authors would recommend you do that first but I suggest you do it after your test marketing. This will give you a lot of reality checks and your assessment will be far more accurate.
This by far is the most important ingredient in setting up shop and needs to be taken very seriously. Any back of the envelope calculations are a recipe for disaster. Utilize the services of an Accountant, they will not only be able to provide you insight but also help to provide you with more accurate numbers required to make a decision. They can also prepare a Business Plan, which will not only be limited to forecasting your Return on Investment (ROI) based on the market study you did, but also help you to price products, buy/ rent or lease assets and help you get necessary governmental approvals to start a business. A solid accounting and financial foundation will help you in your decision making and make you insulated against financial risk.
Prepare a Time Frame
Every small detail must be listed and a time frame needs to be set. Result mile stones need to be achieved. Remember as a nascent business owner, capital is scarce and you don’t want to increase your cost due to time overruns.
Be a Great Story Teller
You must have the passion and ability to sell your story, be it to your bank, customer, future employee or to the public at large. Very often people buy into the person who is selling the product rather than the product itself. Often great products are lost due to bad marketing strategies.