By admin on September 21st, 2017 in Bootstrap
Over the weekend, a friend of mine asked for some advice about starting a business, so I thought that would be a good topic. A common misconception for starting a business is the idea that we have to get all our "government" paperwork in order. I am here to tell you, that is NOT the case. As much as I believe you should follow the rules (most of the time), in this case that is not your first step.
So what are the 5 Steps to getting started?
1. Research, Research, Research. You can not even begin without research. Once you configure your business idea, you need to know the following things:
Is there a market for your product or services? – An easy way to determine this is to see if you have competitors. Browse the yellow pages, local Chamber of Commerce, or just Google. If there are other companies selling similar stuff, most likely there is a market. Now, you have what you need to get started on the competitive analysis (see below).
What requirements are there to opening this type of business. Is it licensed by the state? Does it require an occupational license, home license, insurance? What are the standard items businesses in your industry have to have to operate. Do you have to have an office, or can you work from your home?
2. Understand Your Competition: Use the information you gathered in step 1 to start your competitive analysis. You will need to know how many competitors you have, what they are selling, what they charge, possibly their clients (may list some on website), and the unique selling position of each competitor.
3. Determine if you can fit the market: Is the market already planned with too much competition? Are the prices too low? Could you establish a unique selling position for your company (why would someone buy from your versus your competition)? I would recommend to call your competitors and do a little recon. Do not worry, it is OK to call to get price information, but you do have to prepare to be a customer. You could also have a friend do it, that may need the product / service if you are uncomfortable. Is there something you could do better? Provide less expensive or more value?
4. Product and Prices: Once you have determined you have a good product or service idea with a receptive market, you need to design your offerings. What will your product / services look like? What will the include? What will the price points be?
5. Marketing: Now that you know what you are selling, who are you selling to? Describe your perfect / ideal customer. Next, you will have to identify how to find the customer, which means marketing and advertising. Will you advertise on TV, radio, magazines? Send direct mail? Network to get the word out? How will you let your potential customers know you are ready to meet their needs? The best business ideas will always fail if no one knows about them. My advice, start with Direct Mail – it is the cheapest and has better returns than the others. You could send as few as 10 mailers per week, for as little as $ 4.20.
Bonus: Part of preparing yourself for business is having financials to project where you are at and where you are going. I know, financials are hard, boring and tedious, but would not it be good to know if what you are selling, at the price level you determined will make money? What if you get into business and you price points are too, and you can not pay your bills? How long will it take for you to become positive? It is MUCH, MUCH better to figure out pricing and financial issues before you get started. Financials also allow you to know how much money you will need to get started. So, as easy as it may be to skip this step, do not!
Now that you have the basic tools to get started on your business, you can also write a business plan. Yes, it can be that easy. If you have questions, please send to me at email@example.com , I would be more than happy to help get you started.