We exist in a world of entrepreneurs, a place where people are starting to take more initiative to get where they want to be professionally instead of relying on luck in finding the right job. There are more tools available for people to start their own businesses now then there have ever been, mostly thanks to the Internet, a haven for creation and security that isn’t available in the physical world. However, as eager and full of ideas as you may be to get your company up on its feet, there are several precautions you must take so that you encounter as little issues as possible.
Several factors come into play when you create a business that determines whether or not it’s going to be successful, including the type of business you’re trying to run, how you advertise your products and services, and the investments you make in the tools and staff needed to be successful. Here are five factors to consider before you take the plunge into entrepreneurship, and/or before you take on a venture in a new field.
The Internet has made it easy to save time and money on advertising, and there are plenty of services that can make a website that lets people know what you have to offer and do so for free. But like anything “free” the trade-off you make will be time: the time to set up your brand and marketing tools (logos, graphics, copy, websites, stationery, business cards, etc), the time to set up ad campaigns (including active management of those campaigns), and figuring out the most effective ways to segment and reach the market for your particular industry.
While it might be tempting to do try and do it yourself if you’re taking on a new venture your time may be better invested in other areas. Just keep in mind how many do-it-yourself projects end up costing more in the long run, than if a professional had been hired in the first place.
Remember, you always have the option of leveraging a small business consulting firm to help yourself get set up quickly, efficiently, provide expert support and advisement to make ensure your resources are leveraged intelligently to provide your business long-term benefits rather than temporary wins.
Depending on the group that you engage, they can even help with aspects of your business beyond advertising, marketing, and sales support. They can help you identify and get on top of key performance indicators for your business, staff up with recruiting services, and if you engage them early enough they can even help with registering your business.
But just because you hire help, it doesn’t mean you’ll be completely out of the game. When it comes to gaining recognition in an intimate way, conventions and similar events serve as an opportunity to sell your products and get to know people in the same field who could help get your company up and running, whether it’s through advice or a partnership. It’s a good idea to research and make a calendar of events pertinent to your industry and then work with your sales and marketing resources to help prepare for and best leverage your attendance.
Before starting a business, you should know exactly what kind of products and services that you want to provide, and how to position yourself within the market. Whether it’s a class at somewhere like an automotive & diesel technology college in NY for learning a certain trade, a product you want to make available that is hard to come by in your average retailer, or the specific items you’ll put on the menu when opening a business, being able to provide it will depend on your knowledge of and experience with your industry. Knowing this will make it easier to determine whether to set the company up as the sole proprietorship, general partnership or a limited liability company, thus making it easier to handle taxes and liability.
Knowing your audience
You can’t sell a product without knowing who could possibly benefit from having it. While it’s important to make your services as specific as possible so that people can understand what you have to offer, it is also necessary to reach as many people as possible based on their experience with your service. Providing videos and articles that describe how your service can help different people depending on what they need and at what level can keep everyone happy without distancing yourself from what you aimed to provide in the first place. There are accredited online degree programs available at a variety of universities to help you learn how to target your audience.
In regards to finding your audience, you can attend events relating to your field to find out what customers enjoy and what they are missing from their current user experience that you may be able to provide. As with the previous section, search engines and social media make it easier for people who are looking for your type of product to find you.
Understanding your competition
Some of our best teachers are our opponents, and those who are still relatively new to entrepreneurship can learn a thing or two from those who are already seeing success in their field. Knowing how your competition runs their businesses can come in handy with figuring out how you want to run yours, and you can figure out what you should do that is similar and different from their methods by understanding their success and failures.
As convenient as researching other businesses in your field online can be, learning about them in person can be just as useful. Conferences and special events give you the chance to not only see them in action but to learn from customers about how they benefit from using these services so that you know what to provide and how to make it better.
The amount of money you’re able to keep will be just as important as the money you’ll make, especially when it comes to staying legally compliant and protecting yourself from basic business risks.
Say you were to open a construction business, building suburban houses in New Jersey, and just won a bid to build houses in Monmouth County. Before you even thought about staffing up for the project, you would want to consult with someone familiar with the area and challenges your workers could be facing and ensure your current workers’ compensation coverage is adequate. A quick search for worker’s compensation attorneys in Red Bank, NJ, for example, and a brief consultation with a local expert could help you save thousands in the long run.
Once you start making hires you are also going to want to ensure you have proactively put training in place to demonstrate you took all reasonable measures to create a safe working environment. A quick, easy, and scalable way to do this as a small business owner is to leverage third party companies who provide services like anti-harassment training, and whose sole focus is staying on top of changing legal requirements.
When it comes to risk leveraging existing specialists can save you time, money, and allow you to focus in on the meat of building your business.
After reading through these suggestions, starting your business may seem a little more daunting, but please remember there are lots of people out there to help you get started who can guide you along the way, help you navigate challenges, and give you room to spend your time on what matters most for your burgeoning company.