Starting a business…I am sure that most of us have thought about it once or twice in our lives. The thought of following your passion and being your own boss is something many dream of while grinding away at their nine to five. While it is risky, having the flexibility of creating your own schedule and making your own decisions can be worth it to many. According to as survey done by Cox Business, nearly two-thirds of respondents said that freedom and passion are the main motivators to start a business with just 8% saying money was their main motivation.
But is it right for you? Could you make your passion and dream a reality? There are certain factors to consider when thinking about starting a small business.
Analyze Your Finances and Motivation
There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself if you are going to start a business. Mostly, it revolves around how badly you want a business and how much you are willing to invest in it. Money can be a major issue in starting a business. You’ll have to evaluate how much money you have to risk or how you will come up with the money needed.
Most importantly, do you have the time? Time to spend preparing and getting your business going. To do research on what you are selling and your target audience. Time spent managing finances, marketing, and streamlining your business. It may take a lot more time than you think, so be prepared.
Get an Idea then Research, Research, Research
First, you need to decide what product or service you are going to base your business around. “That’s a good idea” is not enough to make money as a small business. You need to find a demand for a product/service and see how likely it is to sell. Ask around in the business community and ask as many potential target customers as possible.
One of the most important next steps is to do even more research. Some things you need to research includes:
- Your target customer base. Learn as much as you can about them, what they want, and what they are willing to spend.
- Research your competitors. Figure out what part of their business makes them successful and how you can distinguish your company.
- Consider how to leverage technology and data to make your business more successful. It may be costly but it will be worth it in the long run.
- How are you going to market your business? Research the best ways to market your business and get the word out.
Once all of this research is done, you’ll want to start your business plan. Check out the Small Business Association’s website for examples of what this business plan might look like. A business plan adds structure and organization to the start of your business. It can also be the key to getting the capital you need to actually get the ball rolling.
Start Small and Focus on Customer Satisfaction
The key to success in a small business is to take it one step at a time. With each step, analyze what is working and what is not and make adjustments as you go. Small steps means less risk for complete failure, if you decide to go all in you may lose it all. Not all strategies work in different situations, so be flexible and responsive.
Speaking of being responsive, you need to be focus on customer feedback and satisfaction. Word of mouth, positive reviews, and repeat sales are all contingent on how you treat your customers.
- Be prompt when responding to customer’s requests via email, phone or social media.
- Make it a point to assess your customer service standard and improve it regularly.
- Word of mouth is important. Try your best to go above and beyond at every point in your customer’s buying journey. Be responsive and professional and you will build a solid reputation and customer base.