You want to build an awesome business, right?
Yet Another Build Your Business Article? How is this one different? This article will differ in that it will put the personal into business.
You are dreaming of being a business owner. You have read copious articles on various subjects: entrepreneurship, business ideas, building your business, and protecting your business.
Now you have a great business idea – one that is perfect for you – and you are thinking, ‘What now?’
As you have absorbed all of this information, you might have noticed that each of the articles on building a business professes to be the perfect ‘X’ step plan. Some are 5 steps, some 8 and some 10 or more.
Upon examination, however, they all share five general themes:
- Finding a niche
- Finding the money
- Finding the space and equipment
- Finding buyers
- Finding the energy
So let’s look at those themes in detail and throw in what it will mean to you personally to target and accomplish each and every one of them.
Finding a niche.
Finding a niche basically means doing market research. But, beyond that, it means completing a number of crucial steps.
These steps include:
- Researching all businesses similar to the one you are planning.
- Identifying the geographical area, you hope to cover with your product or service.
- Finding out about your target market. Who is going to buy from you?
- Determining if there are any businesses in direct competition with your planned business. Hopefully, there is competition already. That means there is money to make in your niche.
- Seriously look at the population in your area – how many businesses can that population support. The bottom line is that your niche has to have a large enough market to support your business.
These steps and the information you gain from accomplishing them may encourage you to adjust your plans and products based on a newly discovered market niche.
Once you have ensured that your product can fill a niche in the marketplace, you will need to look at what it will cost to start and build your business. For some entrepreneurs, finding the funds may seem fairly straight forward since they have the funds to go ahead. Often though, it is a struggle for potential business owners who are short on funds and have not done the paperwork and legwork required to satisfy investors and/or bankers. It is your task to create a document that will pique the interest of potential investors, encourage them to see the value in your business idea, and choose to invest in you and your business.
This is where a business plan comes into play, and this is where you must be brutally honest with yourself. Do you have the skills to develop a business plan? How long will it take you? Have you done sufficient market research to prove that it is a viable venture? If the answers to those questions are a resounding ‘YES!’ Then, by all means, jump right in. If, however, the answers are ‘maybe’ or ‘no’ then spend some money to have someone who is skilled at writing business plans write a great one for you. This decision will be an inexpensive yet significant investment as you build your business. It will not only be useful with banks or investors at the outset; but also, with timely adjustments as your business grows, it can be an excellent tool for marketing and further investment options down the road.
During this process, you will need to develop your Brand – create a logo, business cards, marketing material, and build your website. Again, if you have the skills, you can do this on your own. Otherwise, reach out web design professionals who can help you build a website.
At this point, take the time to ensure all the legalities are handled. Do you need to incorporate your business? Hire a lawyer. Do you have trademarks or patents you need to register? Further, investigate then check and recheck that you will be adhering to all of the rules and regulations that pertain to your industry.
Finding space and equipment.
Finding the space and equipment may be simple and low cost – you plan to work out of your home office – or HUGE – you need a 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse near a shipping port, 10 delivery trucks, and 25 staff.
Keep in mind that even the small home office requires up to date equipment. Is your computer and software up to date? Do you have a fast and consistent internet signal, a good printer/scanner? Have you planned for your bookkeeping needs? Will you do it yourself or hire someone to take care of it for you?
If your space and equipment needs are large, you will need to spend the time to find the perfect spot to build your business. This is another area where the assistance of a property company may shorten the time you need to spend finding that property. Equipment comes next and shopping around for good quality pieces at the best price is another piece of time for which you must budget.
So now you have your funds, space, and plan. Production is about to begin, and it is time to ensure that you have customers/clients ready to purchase your products or services.
When we think of finding buyers, we usually think of customers purchasing widgets but remember too that those buyers are buying what your business stands for – quality, consistency, great products, and services.
One of the best ways to start that process is to network in the right places – online, at business clubs, on social media, and in person carrying your business cards everywhere, you go. Remember that by selling yourself, you are selling your business and products. Network with businesses that fit with yours. Brainstorm ways you can work together, perhaps through joint advertising or complimentary coupons.
A large part of that networking can be through media exposure – think all kinds of media from print to online, photos, and video.
By now you may be feeling tired just reading this article. Some entrepreneurs collapse with exhaustion and discouragement before they are even off the ground. Never fear, though – it is do-able! There are some ways to make sure you stay strong, energetic, and healthy throughout this process.
You will need energy energy energy! How will you make sure you have enough zest to see you through? The answer is self-care. How do you ensure that you are taking care of yourself? Some of the points will seem common sense to you, but it is amazing how many new business owners forget them in their eagerness to get it all done quickly.
These four practices should see you, though:
- Ensure that you eat well and sleep enough – take the time for breaks, water, meals, family, and sound sleep. You will not have the energy you need to successfully build your business unless you consistently take care of you.
- As soon as you can, hire staff to handle the day to day. This immediately allows you to tackle the wider world of business, building sales, and networking your way to success. If you can’t hire full-time staff, hire freelancers to take the load off.
- Recognize your greatest skills and use them to your full potential while hiring staff or contracting out those tasks that require skills you do not have time and do not care to learn.
- Celebrate success all along the way – check each of those tasks off with a smile!
Now that you have determined your niche, arranged the start-up money, acquired space & equipment, and started production, you still have the energy to market your products with enthusiasm and drive. Revenues are taking off, and you have started to look at hiring a team around you. Life is good!