Beginning your journey with your own new business can be a wonderful experience, but also a daunting one. While working for yourself can certainly be a hugely rewarding path to take, it comes fraught with dangers – not least of which is the disappearance of your weekly pay cheque.
Are you ready to take the plunge? Great. Here are 9 things to consider when starting your own business.
The three elements of a sale
No matter what your business, its products and / or services, there are essentially just three parts to any sales deal – the buyer, the seller and the product (or service). Are you sure that at least two of these three elements are known to your target market? In other words, when you approach your first prospects with your own business, presenting its products, will that prospect recognise at least two of these elements? Will they, for example, know what your type of product is or does (even if they don’t know you)? Will they relate to others who use your product? Do they know you already, even if they weren’t aware that you are now marketing whatever your product is?
Your family’s opinions have no value (and that includes your own!)
The fact that your wife, husband, daughter or mother thinks your idea is great does not count. Your product or service has (hopefully) not been designed according to your tastes, but those of the identified target market.
Money, money, money
Quite apart from the resources you must have in order to build your product or design your service, you must have cash to run a viable marketing campaign, e.g. build a website, advertise on Facebook, print flyers, etc. One of the great business adages reminds us that “Running a business without promotion is like winking at a good-looking girl (or boy) in the dark. You know what you’re doing, but nobody else does”.
You’ve simply got to believe in what you’re doing. Coming back to the point above, that does not mean your friends and family can give you confidence. No, it’s about research, research and more research.
Yes, things will get sh*tty at some point. It’ll also get lonely. C’est la vie. Get on with it.
Target market personae
Marketing research is critically important, but it’s not exciting or sexy. Knowledge is intricately linked to confidence, above. Carry out lots of research, including as objective a SWOT Analysis as you can manage. Learn as much as possible about the marketplace, competitors, pricing, distribution channels used by others, etc, etc. Segment the market. Then focus – and I mean really, really focus – on one or two target markets within the overall market. You do not want to try to be all things to all people. Develop a persona that represents each of your one or two target markets, as if each of them is one single real human, and put all your effort into them.
Of all the things to consider when starting your new business, this is the key.
But you’re not doing this blind. You’ve carried out thorough research and that research has told you there’s a market out there for your product.
Get used to having coffee with strangers
Hopefully, you will have some pre-existing relationships to bring to this new business. They might be past clients with your previous employers; they might be suppliers from your last job. No matter. You’ll still need to build lots of new ones, so get out there and meet people.
You don’t expect the first person (or business, if you’re in the B2B space) you encounter to purchase on your first meeting. No, it will take time to build that business, recalling the AIDA Formula, namely
A – Awareness
I – Interest
D – Desire
A – Action
Your task is to move targets through each stage, from at first knowing your new business exists, to becoming interested, then wanting to act, then purchasing your product or service, thanks to your impressive marketing and great product.
“Nobody gives a damn about your business but you”
I’m also very fond of this saying. It reminds us not to be too precious about our lovely shiny new business. What it’s telling us is that your targets have loads of things on their mind and their world is not going to change just because you’ve set up a business. No. Your job is to provide value to your market. If you provide genuine value to the correct target market, you’ll make it.
Keep in mind these things to consider when starting your own business and the very best of luck. Break a leg!
Things to consider when starting your own business – Resources
The internet is full of helpful articles on tips and tricks for the new business owner. Be disciplined – grab yourself a coffee every day for at least two weeks and dedicate 30 minutes to reading every tip you can find. Then distill and go for it!
The network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) offer regular training programmes in ‘Start your own Business’. Find your local LEO at https://www.localenterprise.ie/Find-Your-Local-Enterprise-Office/.