10 Areas to Understand Before Starting a Business
Starting a business is full of excitement, as you start to watch your ideas and plans unfold. There’s no doubt that starting a business is exciting, but there’s key differences between a successful business and a business that doesn’t survive. How can you increase your chances of success? This is important to focus on before your business journey begins.
Within the business world, there will be many aspects that you cannot control. With that being said, there are many proactive measure you can take, ensuring the highest levels of success. These areas are in your control, so plan accordingly.
Your level of understanding before you start your business, can increase your chances of owning a successful business. Although your dedication, passion, and ideas are all essential, you’ll need to effectively plan for the future of your business.
Before you start your business journey, you should understand some vital pieces of information. This is especially true for first-time business owners, as you may encounter some unexpected issues when you do not plan properly. With all the excitement that starting a business brings, it can be easy to overlook important aspects in terms of your overall success and expectations.
Before you embark on your business journey, make sure you’re aware of the following ten areas:
1. Your Business Should Align with Your Passion
Before you start a business, ask yourself WHY? You need to understand why you do, what you want to do. Unless you understand why you want to start your business, you cannot connect with a “cause”. Without an understanding of why, your business will not be successful.
Once the WHY aspect of your business is clear, then you can focus on the HOW and WHAT. If you think about the “cause” of your business and it doesn’t align with your life purpose or passion, your business may not prosper.
2. You Will Not Be An Overnight Success
Although there’s some businesses that have luck in terms of timing and their contacts, very few businesses are successful overnight. Even those that appear to be an overnight success, have more than likely put many hours into their business.
There is typically A LOT of ‘behind the scenes’ work and effort that has been put into these overnight successes. Growing your business will take time, some funding, and a whole lot of effort. If you go into your start-up business expecting results overnight, you may be disappointed. Do not let this hinder your progress, as it can take months to see substantial growth.
3. Is There a Demand For Your Product or Service? Can You Effectively Sell It?
Many business owners get caught-up in everything that needs to be done. While focusing on logos, letterheads, law firms, and funding, they often forget to ask themselves the most important question. Will people buy what I am offering? You need to research the market and the industry you’re about to enter.
You can start by simply entering keywords into Google regarding your industry and the products/services you’d like to offer.
Google Trends is a great tool to see what the demand has been like over the past few years. Is there room for growth? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Before you invest too much money into your business, see what type of feedback you’re receiving both directly (through your peers) and indirectly (through research).
The art of sales is something that’s essential within the business world.
Anyone can simply start a business, but it takes skill for that business to thrive. Understanding how to sell your product is critical.
You may have a great product, but if you do not effectively learn how to sell it, your business could fail.
4. Seek Out and Own Your Desired Name
When choosing a name, makes sure it reflects what you offer. Make it memorable, so that it’s easy for clients and customers to remember. You can do a quick search on Google to see what’s out there, but a more formal search will be required as well. Before you spend any money on marketing, advertising, or packaging, you need to ensure that your desired name has not been taken. You will want to choose a name that’s an available trademark, as well as an available domain name.
To check your potential business name, you can access the trademark search online, through the US Patent and Trademark Office website. If you invest in a name that’s already taken, you will not only lose time and money, but you could face legal issues. Just because you enter your potential business name on Google and do not see results, does not mean that the name isn’t taken.
5. You’ll Need Various Skills
Although many business owners run their business full-time, this is not typically the case when starting out. You will more than likely need to hold down your current job. With bills to pay and mouths to feed, it can be hard to quit your job to focus on something that’s not generating any income (well, it’s not generating any income yet ).
Managing your time will be one of your largest challenges. You need to understand the importance of prioritizing tasks.
Make a list of what needs to be done immediately, focusing on completing those tasks. Then, you can work away at tasks that can be delayed. Without enough time and effort, your business will more than likely continue as an idea. When starting a business, you’ll want to keep costs to a minimum. Although there will be some necessary costs (for example, registering your business name), you can cut many costs through your own personal skills.
Are you personally making the product you’re offering or do you need to pay out labor costs? Starting a business is more than an idea. In order to be successful, you’ll need to manage money and your time effectively. Are you able to market your product yourself? What about your communication skills (both verbal and written)? There are so many elements to a successful and cost-effective business, so make sure you’re ready to make that commitment.
6. You’ll Make Mistakes (And That’s Okay)
You need to expect that mistakes will be made. Although mistakes can create setbacks and potentially cost you money, they’re the best possible learning experience.
Mistakes can be a good thing, IF you learn from them. Failing can show you what not to do, therefore you can change your approach.
If something isn’t working, then you’ll know to either adjust your strategy, or abandon that particular idea.
Do not give up simply because you hit your first roadblock. Mistakes will most certainly happen, it’s all part of the experience. In order to be successful, make sure that those mistakes do not occur a second time.
7. You Won’t Please Everyone
We’re all unique individuals, which means we respond differently to products and services. What works for some, does not work for others. The reality is, you’ll get negative feedback. Some people will complain, so you need to understand that this shouldn’t hinder your progress.
If you have nine happy customers and one unhappy customer, who should you be focusing on? It’s easy to let one negative comment ruin your day, but this should not hinder your ability to focus.
Once again, this is where research comes into play. You can be proactive in terms of potential setbacks and issues regarding your industry. As long as you go into your business with realistic expectations, you will not be shocked when someone makes a negative comment. The key is not to take it personally and use it as a learning tool. Anything that allows you to improve and develop, should be taken on-board.
8. Your Personal Finances Should Not Be Ignored
Are you currently in debt? It’s common to have mortgage payments, but are you struggling to pay your credit cards, loans, or lines of credit? If your personal finances are not organized and your credit score is in rough shape, you need to ask yourself if you’re ready for this journey.
Starting a business is associated with some start-up costs. If you do not think you can fund your idea based off of your personal financial situation, then you should ask for some professional advice. How can you expect to own and operate a successful business, if you cannot keep your personal finances in good shape?
9. Understand the Importance of An Effective Business Plan
It can be tempting to skip this step, but doing so is not recommended. You shouldn’t underestimate the power of a business plan. Take the time to write down your business plan, as it will help you with your overall vision. When writing your business plan, please include the following:-
- Your Concept: What is your business? What do you offer? This is where you focus on WHAT will be sold and to WHOM.
- Finances: This will focus on potential sales, profits, and your available cash flow. You also need to focus on the capital required to start your business.
- Products and Services: What range of products will you offer? What is the price range? This will be where you include a strategy to develop your products.
- The Market: Who are you targeting as your customer base? How are you different from your competition?
- Operations: What equipment do you need? How will you supply your product? Are you looking into distribution? Basically, how will you perform day-to-day operations.
- Risk Analysis: What can go wrong? If something does go wrong, how will you correct it?
10. It’s Beneficial to Connect With Other Business Owners
Before you venture out into the business world, why not connect with other business owners? You can seek advice and support. While you connect with these individuals, you will begin to build your network. Make sure your network is organized, as you never know what the future brings. You may find inspiration from others, while learning important lessons, and building your contact list.
Be careful with who you share your information with, especially if your idea is not yet legally protected. In terms of other peoples’ ideas, make sure you do not use any elements that could ruin your business relationship or create legal issues. The fact is, starting a business is a lot of work.
Before you sell your first product, you need to invest the necessary time and money. Although you should continually work towards your goals, do not rush the process. Focus on these ten areas the next time you think about taking your start-up business to the next level.