Making the decision to start your own business is always daunting. There’s no guarantee of success, and no way to really prepare yourself for all the obstacles, known and unknown, that you’ll face along the way.
However, in spite of all the hardships that new entrepreneur’s face, pursuing your own business can be extremely rewarding.
Before you set off on your entrepreneurial journey, it’s important to think through several factors to ensure you’re well prepared. For that reason, here’s our list of 5 important things to consider before you start a business.
Have a clear goal in mind for your business
This is a must for any aspiring entrepreneur. Before you start your business you must have a clear idea of why you want to start it and what you expect to achieve from it. You need to have clear goals to successfully create and stick to business plans, make budgets, and block time for developing your business.
Try the mind-map method to outline the processes that you need with timelines to motivate you and set priorities. This exercise will not only help you to align your goals but also prepare you for any issues you have going forward.
If you find yourself lacking in discipline, this is something you will need to work on before you make any big changes. A strong mind-set is essential if you want to succeed in business, whether it’s your own, or someone else’s. You have to be ready to make personal sacrifices and put the time and effort into moulding a company from the ground up before you begin your venture.
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A clear strategy is the road to success
Once you’ve made the decision to follow your dreams and have aligned your goals, it’s time to start creating a clearly defined strategy. Aside from planning around your own goals, it involves getting to know your target customer.
You need to consider what value you are adding to their lives and how your business can help them? Below are some techniques you can use to create a good strategy:
Unique Value Proposition:
Your potential customers may have several other options to choose from. You need to find what makes your product/service stand out from competitors despite offering the same service or product. Market research and product testing groups are a great way to get an idea about your UVP.
Unique Selling Point:
Simply take a solid UVP and turn it into something that resonates with your intended target market and Voila! You have a good USP. The difference here is that a UVP describes who you are, while you USP tells your customers why it is the best choice for them.
A good USP comes from a deep understanding of who your customer is and what they desire. A great example of a USP is FEDEX. When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight – is the USP that drives Fedex.
It created a sense of confidence in Fedex while adding doubt to any alternative. Its USP implies that if you don’t use FEDEX, you won’t get your delivery on time.
A common concept in start-up companies – a product-market fit essentially means that your product/service has a good market share and satisfies that market.
An example of a bad product-market fit would be if a new business launched a product assuming that it’s solving a huge problem in the market, when in reality, there was never much of a problem to begin with, and customers saw no reason to buy it. This is a sign of a poorly calculated product-market fit
It doesn’t matter how good you think the product/service is. It’s about whether people need it and whether they are willing to pay for it. If the business satisfies a large market demand, then you have a successful product-market fit.
The product-market fit is an indicator of growth, so you will need to track and measure your products and services from the perspective of product-market fit to ensure your business keeps growing.
All of these are just three of several ways to create a killer strategy. If you think you need help with any of these, it’s always good to get advice from professionals to put things into perspective. They can offer insights that are valuable to aspiring entrepreneurs.
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Innovation for a small business is key to standing out
Innovation makes any business more competitive and better placed to capitalise on opportunities. We tend to think of it as a complicated process, but innovation is really just an embellished word for invention and improvement. Something we can all do!
So how do we go about building small business innovation? Include it into your business development and strategy by creating goals that focus on improving processes. For example: one goal could be to find a faster way to communicate with your customers.
Another option would be to invest in digital technology that not only improves your operations but makes it more competitive.
Keep yourself up to date with the latest innovations by attending seminars and bootcamp events that are aligned with your business goals. For example investing in digital marketing courses can increase efficiency or introducing a new software can give you an edge over a competitor.
Marketing isn’t just an important part of a business – it is the business!
The core of every successful small business lies in its marketing. If you don’t have a good marketing strategy, you can offer the best products/services in the world but no one would ever know about it.
Although traditional forms of marketing are still prevalent in the business community, digital marketing has increased in focus due to its affordability and ability to reach targeted audiences.
Digital marketing for a small business can include either paid or organic platforms such as Google and Social Media, or a combination of both depending on your digital strategy and where your ideal customer base is found.
Your digital marketing strategy should involve multiple digital strategies, each with different goals such as increasing conversions via your website, or growing engagement on your social media platforms every month. The benefit of an effective digital marketing strategy can provide a business with new and evolving opportunities to reach new customers and expand the reach of its products or services.
People, Systems & Technology – three elementals for any successful business
With a new business comes new systems, technology and skilled staff to apply the new tech. The effective integration of people, systems and technology is critical to support the holistic success of any business’s initiatives. In reality, most businesses only do one or two well, which in the end fails the entire equation.
Below is a quick run-through of how the people, systems & technology equation works harmoniously in a business.
Having skilled people in your business who work according any system and are skilled with tech are key to supporting a holistic environment. This doesn’t mean you need to hire several employees either, just one or two can that effectively manage the work if they have the right systems to follow and training to use them.
Systems are created around your business’s goals and help drive successful initiatives to reach these goals. They need to work in harmony with the people using them and the technology implemented to enable an effective business process. Systems for small businesses could be used in data tracking, transaction management, project development cycles, customer experiences, and marketing campaigns.
Modern technology that can help achieve your business goals offers major return on invest if implemented and used correctly. Technology reduces, in some cases removes, the dependency on manual processes and accelerates those that would otherwise have taken longer to complete.
In order for your start-up to truly optimise development, deliver value to customers, and sustain its growth, these three areas need to be addressed. Think of your business as an ecosystem, all elements need to work in harmony to thrive.
There’s clearly a lot more that goes into starting a business from scratch then it looks. If you really believe in your business, and know there’s a market eager to buy your products/services, it will make you more resilient and determined when faced with obstacles.
Make sure your idea is something that you’re passionate about and tick off all the essential points when developing your business plan. In addition to making you more motivated, it will also enhance your ability to sell your idea to potential investors.
Feel free to talk to one of our digital strategists today. We are more than happy to help!
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