The reason for starting your own business.
Don’t start a business because you ran out of options, start a business because you really want to do your own thing. If your purpose is to make money, forget it; that’s not a solid foundation…your purpose should be to make meaning.
The business type you are interested in.
It can be something totally new, or another venture which has been tried and tested. But it must stir you; you need to see yourself living in it, breathing it, having fun with it and feeling energised by it.
Create a business plan.
Your business plan must be short, simple and straight forward. It must cover what you offer, who you’re targeting, how much you’ll charge and what you’ll do to make it happen. But you have to be able to answer this question, “What do we have, that customers want, that no one else is offering?” Forget about being differentiated…you can be different and still not have a meaningful impact…you need to be unique.
Determine exactly who your customers are.
The more you can pinpoint your targeted client, the more focused your marketing efforts will be to reach them. You’ll be able to ask for the right referrals and you’ll know who and what to search for on the Internet.
Determine your prices.
Your pricing shouldn’t just cover your costs; it must also generate a profit for your business. Don’t undervalue your time and talent. And be realistic about the value you offer…would you have paid that price for what is on offer. Once you answer this in the affirmative, offer that little bit extra…of course at no cost.
Until you start bringing in sales, you must keep costs down. Think creatively. Ventures where you provide a service rather than a product proves to be much cheaper. But let’s not beat around the bush…if you intend to leave a cushy corporate job to do your own thing, a minimum of 6 months of seed capital (covering your existing salary) is required…even better plan for 12 months of self-funded survival.
Now go get the customers!
Nothing else matters if you don’t have customers. The majority of your time and effort must focus on sales. You must have a smart marketing plan to attract interested people, and then convert them to customers is your number one priority. Don’t get overwhelmed, just get started! Create a list of potential prospects that you’ll go after and begin making calls one by one. Start with people that you know it will boost your confidence.
Build a serious social media presence for your business where you can engage directly with your target market. Social media only gets you into the door; there is very limited evidence that suggest that social media is an active sales tool. Nothing replaces face-to-face contact. Sales is like a formula; if you know that it takes 10 conversation to procure 1 signed deal, then see the other 9 conversations as just that…part of the formula; work through them as diligently and quickly as you can to get to the 1 deal waiting for you.