So, you’ve got your big idea and you think you have what it takes to turn it into a profitable business. It’s your Eureka moment, so enjoy it as much as possible because the path ahead will certainly test your resolve. Here are some tips to make sure you focus on the essentials:
Start with a plan
Not every business needs an official business plan, but every business owner must invest some time in planning. The main three main areas to work on are: Your goals (both short and long term), how much money to invest (and in what), and your marketing plan.
Know what you do – and do what you know This might seem obvious but you must really know what you’re trying to sell and the value that it will give people. Ideally you should choose something that you’re passionate about – not least because it will require a lot of dedication and time that will test your resolve. Without a strong plan of action, and passion, you will become overwhelmed with the task ahead of you.
Perfect your elevator pitch
Be prepared for the unexpected. Always be ready to pitch your business to anyone who is willing to offer you 30 seconds of their time. Try it now. It’s harder than it seems. Practice it until it makes sense and sounds natural and compelling. You can then adapt it to the person or situation (while not overstating the facts.)
Weigh up the competition
It’s extremely useful to know who your competitors are. What do they offer, and what is their pricing model? This will help you to identify their strengths and weaknesses and, hopefully, improve your offer. However, don’t make the common mistake of becoming too fixated on the competition, as this distracts from your originality and innovative thinking – focus on your ideas, your innovation, your services. In most cases, price alone is not enough to tempt customers away.
Define an advertising budget
One of the most challenging tasks when starting a new business is defining an advertising or marketing budget. Of course, it all depends on the specifics of what you’re selling but it is not unreasonable to dedicate 20% of your total budget to get your message across. Knowledge of your customer base will determine the best way to reach them in order to maximize exposure. Having a website is a must and there are many ways to set one up without spending a fortune. Make sure your website is visible across all platforms (web, mobile and tablets).