When first contemplating a business idea, what is the best way to evaluate its feasibility? Will it be successful, and what do you need to do in order to make your business a success from the get go. I’m sure you’ve seen (or heard) of entrepreneurs who are successful at launching businesses that reek of feasibility. Are they simply lucky or simply brilliant?
Great business owners are both – luck and brilliant. As a potential small business owner, when you are evaluating what type of business to start, there are dozens of variables to consider, but to keep it simple here, let’s look at 3 basic steps to creating a business that will succeed:
1. Stick To What You Know
One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make is getting into a business that they have limited knowledge about. For example, I’ve heard many stories of an entrepreneur opening up an eatery (restaurant), only to fold up the business six months later, and be out thousands of dollars in debt.One proven fact is that entrepreneurs thrive in businesses when they are emotionally committed to their business. It’s the reason they don’t give up when there are challenges or bumps in the road. A lot of money can be made from one’s passion.
2. Crunch Numbers
You may not be a numbers guy, but crunching numbers before you start is essential. I’m certain that you wouldn’t purchase a new car without crunching the numbers, and knowing what you can afford.There’s no excuse to not do research on other businesses that are similar, and that have been around for years. Use their pricing as an example to establish your own pricing. Take their marketing ideas, and fine tune them for your business. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel, everything is already out there.
You should also figure out your fixed costs—such as rent or utilities like your cell phone—and variable expenses such as inventory and marketing costs.
3. Spread The Word
Spread the word anyway you can. Being a marketing person, I think its very important to market your small business effectively, but marketing does not have to cost a lot of money. Talk to people about your business by showing your passion for your business. Hand our business cards at will, and create an online presence. Identify your target market, determine how you will reach them, and test your marketing messages over and over until you nail down the one that gets them to respond and buy.
All of the above three are important, but knowing the type of business/industry you’re getting into is a very important key point. Far too many entrepreneurs pick the wrong industry to start their business, and therefore end up on the wrong side.
Readers, can you suggest any other important variables to consider when evaluating a businesses feasibility?
Photo Credit – Artnoose
How did you become an entrepreneur? Was it something you always wanted to do or did you have an ‘ah ha’ moment that propelled you into a new career path?
For my self was it was a comfort level I already knew existed. Having been employed full-time out of school for nearly five years, deep down I had an itch to become my own boss. That’s how I imagined it growing up as a kid with dreams of business ownership and the ability to create something out of nothing.
Despite the failure rates surrounding any start-up business, I wanted to give my business idea a go, and succeed while avoiding to become another negative statistic.
Almost four years later after the launch of my commercial cleaning business, the drive to continue being a business owner still exists within me, and the business its self is thriving. That’s why I wanted to take a minute today, and share with you 6 tips when starting your own small business.
1. Research Ahead
Research is typically dull and boring, but researching your market, competition, industry trends, target market is essential to inform you on what steps you need to take to make your business a success.
2. What makes your different?
Every industry has its big players, and the bottom feeders that get a bone thrown their way. In order for your business to succeed you need to have a clear idea about what problem your business is solving, and how are you going to do it differently than your predecessors
Ask your self: What am I going to do in order to do things better than my competition?
3. Listen & Accept Feedback
You’d be surprised at how many people have poor listening skills. They let their egos get in the way. Rather than being students of the business, they throw their half-ass knowledge out. You can be different though, by simply listening, asking and accepting feedback. Trust me, this is where you’ll learn a lot about your business and possibly about your self as well.
You’re probably thinking now; “This is so obvious.” However, you’d be surprised at how many new small business owners forget about basics like this.
4.Try to Have a Debt Free Start-up
Poor cash-flow is one of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail to make it to the next level. Failing to manage money properly in the early stages of your business can make the numbers hard to stack up. One sure way to avoid cash-flow pitfalls is to have a debt free start-up or with little debt as possible. Maxing out credit-cards will only make it harder down the road as the monthly bills keep on piling up. Eventually you’ll be paying everyone else, and have nothing left over for your self.
5. Outsource As You Need To
In the every early stages of your small business you’ll probably be the marketing person, accountant, advertising rep, sales rep and the general office clerk. Eventually business will start to pickup, and your skills will be more useful elsewhere. This is the point where you need to suck it up, accept it, and spend a little money by outsourcing certain tasks.
More importantly, you as the small business owner needs to recognize that you won’t be great at everything. So, why not pass it onto someone who’s more skilled and knowledgeable.
Develop a relationship with your accountant, graphic designer or your printer, treat them as a business colleague vs. an expense. Eventually through time and many business transactions, you’ll develop a relationship beyond a business, and these people will become someone you can bounce ideas off, and someone who’ll make recommendations for your business as well.
6. Test and More Test
Thousands of people right now are holding down full-time jobs while starting a small business. I was one of those people, and for the most part still am today. My day doesn’t end at 5. It instead continues sometimes well into the night. People who work like this are often referred to as the 5-9 shift, although in reality the hours are much longer.
The beautiful part of testing the 5-9 shift is that you don’t have to commit to your business full-time, still earn a living, and more importantly test whether your small business and being an entrepreneur is right for you.
Readers, can you suggest anymore tips for new entrepreneurs?