As an aspiring entrepreneur, it can be hard to make the jump from a 9-5 career to owning your own startup business. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs have many great ideas for products or services but aren’t really sure if they could turn it into a full-time business.
This is a common problem for many startups, and a struggle that aspiring entrepreneurs face. a struggle of figuring out whether their ideas can be turned into a profitable business, and how to properly transition their time from a 9-5 job to becoming their own boss and working for themselves.
In this article, we are going to look at 5 steps that entrepreneurs should take before they take the ultimate step and launch a business of their own.
1. Get to know your potential customers
Any start-up should know its’ target audience and then figure out which specific problems or needs this specific audience faces and then how to solve that problem.
You can start by asking them questions about the problems they are facing and then find the solutions that they would spend money on, to get a better idea of what your customers will spend money on.
When you’re selling to other businesses, you’ll want to be sure that the problems you’re trying to solve for them are ‘priority problems’.
This means that they will spend money to solve these problems as soon as possible.
If you’re trying to solve the problems that aren’t immediate issues then you’ll find that many businesses you pitch to will say:
- Let’s talk in 6 months.
- Can we revisit this in a year?
- I’ll think about it and let you know.
While your product or service may be the best on the market, you may not be around for long if your customers don’t prioritize the problems you’re trying to solve for them.
2. Test out your business idea
When starting a new business, many entrepreneurs spend a ton of time designing their product or service only to launch it and find out the hard way that nobody wants to buy their product or services. The reason for this is because they’ve never tested their potential market to see how successful their ideas could be.
Thankfully, there are cheaper ways to find out if your ideas will have a market after you have launched the business.
You could test your business ideas by
- Setting up a website for your imaginary business
- Spend Money on Professional Ads
- Gain Exposure for your products through ads and social media
- Target the audiences you believe are interested
If you do this and target the audiences you believe would buy your products or services, but they still aren’t buying then you may need to revise your business plan or find a new audience. Either way this is much cheaper than launching a full scale business only to find there isn’t a need for you.
3. Do your research
For you to succeed in any industry, you’ll need to become an industry expert. You can’t expect to beat a market that you don’t understand. You need to do your research so that when you start your business can make smart choices and get up to speed quickly.
When I research markets, I usually look at Google Analytics to see how saturated a specific market is for a particular product. Many times you’ll find that there’s no market to be had and there are too many competitors already established in that industry, but I wouldn’t have known without doing the research on the market.
You can do this too and ask yourself questions such as:
- Who Dominates this market?
- Is there a lot of competition?
- What is the price range for a certain product/service?
You need to gather as much information as you can about the market you’re trying to break into so you can determine if there’s a gap in the market and room for you to get started.
4. Save some money for your startup
Starting a business will always go easier if you have some money saved up to make sure that your startup gets off the ground.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur without some sort of funding behind you then you will need to be rely on another source of income to help cover the bills or pay your staff.
But when you have money saved up it will help give you enough time to be able to focus on scaling your startup and making more money than the general expenses that you encounter each month.
Now in your head, you may be saying something like “What about investors?”.
Well, the fact is that many times investors aren’t interested in any business until they are closer to launching or have a tangible product that they can see making the “big bucks”. So you can’t always build your business plan around getting investment because funding isn’t always available. So you need to be careful.
Also, when you have investors they become your boss and you have to report to them and often times entrepreneurs want to quit their jobs so they can begin working for themselves.
5. Partner with some co-founders
One of the benefits of having co-founders working alongside you is that it is a way for you to get free labor and increase your chances of becoming a success.
If you have 3 qualified experts as your co-founders you’ll be able to get 3x the work done in the same amount of time.
Let’s say that you have a tech idea but don’t know the code or have the money to hire the right team to bring your idea to market.
In this case, it would be smart for you to find someone (or several people) who can develop your idea and bring them on as co-founders of your company.
You will also have an easier time getting investors if you have a team of qualified experts as the co-founders of your business.