Getting Your Business Going
When you decide to go into business there are a couple of things you need to have in place to help you synchronise your thoughts and focus your activities so you start smoothly and quickly set up. Overlooking some aspects of your business during start-up can lead to hindrances to your growth later as you continue to build your business. It is important to think through what needs to be done and when so you can preëmpt any shortcomings you may expect in future. The different steps may not happen in an orderly sequence but should be covered.
As a prospective business owner, you may have considered whether you have the stamina and capacity to be an entrepreneur. Knowing your strengths and shortcomings is an important process for business leaders. This information will enable you to know what skills you need to hire depending on your business model and which industry you get into. For example, if you are a good lawyer with a flair for written communication, the differentiator in your marketing strategy could be offering online services on different topics. In a vibrant computer age, this could be the easiest way to get new business leads.
The process of knowing your self-will also enable you later when you start hiring. Having put that in place, the next step would be to make up your mind on what business you want to get into. To do this, you need to scan the market for feasible business opportunities.
Scanning Your Environment for Business Opportunities
When we talk of feasible business opportunities we need to consider a number of factors;
- there is demand in the market
- there is potential to scale up
- you can build the capacity to offer the product or service economically
Your choice of business should address any one of the following;
- a new or underserved market
- be a new product or service
- use new distribution channels
One needs to scan their environment to be sure a business possibility is feasible in their environment. The following tips help you scan your environment for a feasible business opportunity.
a. The business could address a health issue; stress, digestion, exercise etc
b. If you are an expert review a process and make it better, easier or faster; innovate
c. Replace old processes with technology.
d. Replicate then Innovate; if you are not an expert in an area that has business potential you can replicate what experts are doing till you become one then innovate (b)
e. Buy a business that ha potential and grow it
f. Start a new field of business that transforms a sector through innovation
g. Combine different sector processes that can improve production or a service process
h. Solve common problems in the community; energy, waste management, water, etc
i. Solve unique problems for a small population; babies, mothers, men, sports people etc
j. Solve a nuisance in your community; mosquitoes, flies, rats, bed bugs etc
k. Address shelter problems
l. Come up with something that detracts people from their problem; entertainment, games and sports
m. Solutions to relationship management; dating websites, communicating with children etc
n. Improve security; baby monitors, security cameras and monitors, tracking etc
o. Product or service that makes people feel better about themselves; beauty products, services offered to target customer's relations with others, interior decor and furnishings
p. Food and Food processing; restaurants, food products e.g. farm products
q. Movement; transportation of anything that needs to be moved from point A to B both tangible and none tangible items; information, individuals and goods
r. Offering expertise in an area you are familiar with
The more your business opportunity can address several of this points to an audience you can grow and relate with, the more viable it is.
Having decided what business to get into, many entrepreneurs can get flustered by what they need to do to get their business going. While there are a number of things that fall in sequence most of these activities do not need to be done in sequence, however, knowing what needs to be done and at what point helps you stay focused through the process.
Of course, the first step is to make sure you are in the right line of business for yourself and your environment. Choose a sector and business model that has a potential for growth. Your niche will determine your target market or target customer.
Name your business paying close attention to your target market and niche. The name should be descriptive and show what your business does. For instance, an eco-friendly business can have the name word green attached to it.
Get the permits you need from both national and local governments and tax permits. Contact your local small business development center and local tax offices to find out what documents are required other than you identification and registrations.
Get a distribution outlet for your inventory be it a brick and mortar store, website, flea market space, mall kiosk or online store. The key to choosing the right distribution method is its location. If using an online store make sure you have the right methods in place to send traffic to your site.
Rent or clear a space to store your inventory, if you will be opening an online baby boutique or your store is not large enough to handle extra merchandise. A commercial warehouse or clean spare closet free on pets, dust, odors and sunlight would work well.
When doing your research, you should have recognised the best suppliers for your business and target market. Buy at the best price possible for the best quality possible.
Join the relevant trade associations for your sector. This will enable you to learn from your peers, get the latest information on your sector, network with suppliers and gain new potential customers.
The last step in getting you started is to start promoting your business. This includes advertising on traditional media; TV and radio etc, Open social media accounts, start a promotional blog and advertise online on popular websites frequented by your target market. You could also distribute promotional samples and coupons in magazines and at places your target market visit.