Deciding to become a business owner is one of the scariest, yet exciting things you could do in your life. Having the courage to leap out into the unknown and leave the corporate world behind is quite empowering. However, you must cross all of your t’s and dot your i’s to make sure your business is a success. Here are a few tips you can use to get your business running and off to a great start!
Find your niche market
Once you’ve decided on an idea for your business, your next (and most important) step is to identify who your customers will be. Never make the mistake of opening a business and thinking your customers will find you and flock toward what you have to offer with their wallets out. While that is every aspiring business owner’s dream, you must take the time to see who your niche market is and if there is a demand for your product or service.
Remember that the main goal of your business should be to offer a solution to a problem that others face and are willing to spend money to resolve. Be specific about what type of person you want to do business with and recognize that you can’t do business with everybody without exhausting yourself and confusing your customers. Focus on smaller niches as opposed to broader markets. Targeting women is not specific enough; targeting married women between the ages of 35-44 with a median family income of $80,000 is.
Once you know who you are going after, you can start to develop a plan around how you will market to them and how you will become visible and likeable enough for them to buy from your business or use your services. Blanketing everyone with one marketing message will make you lose about half of your audience because what you are offering does not apply to them. Being able to target exactly who you want to do business with will allow you to reach your audience more easily, and you won’t have to invest too much into your marketing to get the results you want. A good niche market should be carefully planned, conform to your long-term vision, and evolve by allowing you to develop different ways to profit while retaining the core business. Those qualities are what ensures long-term success.
How to make ends meet when starting out
Here is an alarming fact: 80 percent of all small businesses fail within 18 months of opening. This fact is not meant to scare you away from starting a business, but it is meant to let you know how important it is to be prepared so that your business can succeed!
As mentioned earlier, knowing exactly who to market to will save you time and loads of money. You will also need to decide the vehicle you will use to run your business. Will you have a brick-and-mortar store, or will you need to hire someone to create a website and run your business solely online? In either instance, in your business plan, you will need to carefully outline all of your monthly expenses that will be incurred. How much are your supplies? If you are renting a space, how much do you have to pay monthly? If you are using a website builder or if you have a business website, how much are the monthly hosting fees? During these planning stages, you might also consider working from home to not only save money, but get your business up and running on solid ground before investing further.
You will also need to determine how much money you will need to break even and how much needs to be made in order for you to turn a profit. This may seem intimidating when you are first starting out, but having a written financial projection for your business will allow you to see the areas in which you are growing and which areas may need to be modified.
Deciding to own a business is easy. Actually taking the steps to own a successful business is the hard part; however, it is also the most rewarding. Stay prepared and get ready to enjoy the ride of your life!