Kristin Pruis • November 6, 2017
So, maybe you’re on the fence about starting a business or maybe you’re already all in and just looking for someone to point you in the right direction. Either way this post is for you. I’ll outline the crucial steps you need to take before diving in so you can gauge if this is something you’re heart is really after.
There’s no point in sugar coating it. Starting a business can definitely be hard and time-consuming. And let’s face it, you probably have a lot on your plate already, but at the end of the day is there something still gnawing inside of you wishing for something more fulfilling out of your career? You’re not alone! Even if your current job is the definition of perfection (although I’m guessing it isn’t), it’s not unusual to find yourself drawn to pursuing your passions as a means of income. That’s the entrepreneurial spirit in you! So, what should you do about it?
1. Take a Personal Inventory
I’ll be frank – not every hobby or skill is worthy of it’s own business. Just because you enjoy doing something doesn’t mean there is a customer base to sell to and profit from. Try to assess your skills and interests objectively as possible and identify where your true business opportunities lie. If you are having trouble being honest with yourself, ask a friend, colleague or family member for a second opinion.
When looking at potential opportunities for starting a business it may help to ask yourself these questions:
- What problem/need will my products/services fill for customers?
- How will I do this better than others who have the same products/services?
- What about my services/products will be unique from what’s already out there?
- Is this something I’m committed to or is it something I just like to enjoy in my free time?
2. Make a Plan
Once you’ve decided on what your business is going to be about, the next step is to create a plan – a business plan that is. Get ready, because you’re definitely going to need to do some research! Unless you’re seeking out investors, you probably don’t need an overwhelming formal document, but you do need to think about some key information.
Your business plan will guide you as you make decisions and develop your business into a living and breathing thing. It will also help you think critically about aspects of your business that you might have otherwise overlooked.
Here are some things you might want to consider (Not all of these things may be applicable to your own business, but it is important to take the time to address the areas that are.):
- Legal Stuff: Make sure you’re covered (Registration, Incorporation, Insurance, and Taxes)
- Your Brand: How will you set yourself apart (Mission, Vision, Logo, Website, Colors, Fonts)
- Your Target Audience: Who are you selling to and what do they like (Demographics, Likes, Interests, Habits, Values and Purchasing Behaviors)
- Products/Services: What important information will your customers want to know? (Pricing, Marketing, Features, Benefits, and Delivery)
- Location: From where will you create or deliver you products/services? (Online, In-store, From home)
- Processes: What actions need to happen to run your business successfully and who will do them? (Production, Accounting, Human Resources, and Customer Service)
- Profit/Growth: How are you going to make money? (Profit Margins, Hourly Rate, Financial Projections and Goals)
3. Find a Mentor or Advisor
This last step may seem unusual, but can be a critical deciding factor of whether your business sinks or swims. Your mentor could be a professional, colleague, friend, family member or supervisor. Pick someone who is actually knowledgeable about the industry you’re starting a business in and leverage their expertise. What if you can’t find a mentor or don’t know where to look? There are tons of resources out there to help you connect with a mentor like SCORE or through your local Women’s Business Center.
Share your business ideas with your mentor and let them guide you in areas you need help with. While this doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you pay for their time, it should be someone you can trust and rely on to give you honest advice and direction and who will commit to keeping your business success at the forefront of their interests.
So, you’ve done all three steps – Now what?
Put your plan into action! Again, I stress starting a business is not going to be easy. It’s certainly not for everyone or everyone would be doing it! But if you’ve put in your time and due diligence to do it the right way you’re all the better for it and have set yourself up with a great foundation to succeed.
Are you read to start living the dream? Reach out to K Design Co. for more Business and Branding Advice.