Here are a few tips for a successful start-up business submitted by one of our Guest Contributors
You hear a lot of stories about people starting their own business and making their dream as an Entrepreneur happen and it going under just as fast as it started. This can make a lot of people nervous when they are thinking about opening their own business. However, there are some things you can do and keep in mind when building up your start-up to make it successful. These tips will help you start a strong business and get past problems that have brought other businesses down in the past.
Make Sure You Have a Business Plan
It is very easy for an Entrepreneur to say “I want to start my own business.” However, if there isn’t an actual plan or strategy to back it up, chances are the business won’t do very well. Besides that, majority of lenders, investors, or backers won’t even look at your business unless you have a written business plan or proposal. In your business plan you should think about the start-up costs, how much money you need, will you need a loan, where you will be working from, and of course, the details of the product or service you are providing.
Know Your Audience
One thing that Entrepreneurs don’t always think about when they decide that they should start a business is their audience, client, or demographic. You could have a great product but if you haven’t done your research on the different demographics, you will have a hard time selling your product or service. One example would be trying to sell a luxury sports car to a family with kids; it simply isn’t what they want or need. Once you figure out who the product or service is intended for, you will be able to come up with different marketing strategies to attract customers and buyers you need.
People’s wants and needs change over time, which means for your business to stay a float, it may need to change as well. This may be a small change like a fashion boutique starting to offer accessories as well as clothes, or a big change like a bakery offering meals instead of just selling baked goods. As the market changes, you and your business need to change as well.
In the end, all Entrepreneurs have to be competitive with other businesses, unless you have a one of a kind product that no one else has. Staying competitive in your business may mean that you offer lower prices or a better version of a product, or even by getting more involved with your customers. Advertising and getting your name out is a big part of competition too. If no one knows about your company, there isn’t a way to compete with other businesses.
Get Out There
As stated before, you can’t compete with other companies, let alone have a successful business if no one knows about you. There are tons of trade shows and conventions that businesses can go to and get their name out. If you have products to sell, trade shows and some farmers markets are great ways to sell locally to your main consumers. Remember that if you do go to a convention or trade show, you should be prepared to do business. Make sure you look and act professional, have any documents you need, and products to sell. Devices like a cellphone credit card reader from gopayment makes it easy to do business while you are on the road. Even if someone doesn’t buy something right then and there, you still are able to show them you are professional and ready, and you got your name out.
Manage Your Finances Correctly
Being able to manage your businesses finances is extremely important, whether you are a small start-up or a large corporation. A lot of Entrepreneurs who have started a business in the past suggest doing it while you still have a day job. This lets you get paid and build up your company. When you start a new business, don’t expect to actually get a “paycheck” from that business for a couple years. You should also keep all personal and business accounts separate. This makes it easier to see the overall earnings or your start-up and will even help when tax season comes. You can easily use money management programs that will help you stay on top of your businesses money or you can always find someone to help you manage your money properly.
Do What You Love
Don’t create a start-up because you want to be rich, do it because you love it and are passionate about it. If you wanted to start your own bakery, but hate baking, chances are it won’t last because your heart isn’t in it. When you enjoy your job, it is easier to get things done. Also, it is going to take time for your start-up to become successful, so you want to be able to enjoy your work even if you aren’t seeing instant results.
And on a very personal note from your PhotoBizCoach Beate, I want to add just one more thing. It’s not always just about getting the dynamics and systems right, there is one more thing you want to pay attention to. I met Mich Mathews, the former CMO and SVP from Microsoft who said recently in a lecture at UCLA, you should be bleeding passion for your business and one can tell if you do or don’t.