Whether you are just sick of your 9-5 corporate job or feel passionate about sharing your cooking skills with the world, starting your own venture comes with a risk and a lot of grey area. Even if you just want to own a food cart on the street, not understanding entrepreneurial basics and business/financial management can cost you your dreams in today’s competitive markets. For this reason, many successful entrepreneurs take financial management courses along with other proactive tactics to improve their knowledge.
If you are overwhelmed or scared by starting up your own business, you are not alone. Even the most profitable entrepreneurs went through the trials and errors inherent in starting your own business. Here are some practical tips for all soon-to-be entrepreneurs.
Build A Quality Core Team
It is always better to have a team or partner than doing it alone. This way, you have people that you trust with whom you can brainstorm or bounce ideas off of; having a partner/partners can help you scale faster as well.
If you have an idea of what you want to build, you probably also know a skill set that might be missing such as full-stack development, salesmanship, kitchen operations, supply chain management, etc. Most of us are not lucky enough to have friends with the exact skill sets we desire. Some entrepreneurs have friends who produce great small business advertising ideas, but lack ones with quality sales tactics. Fortunately, there are now networking platforms to solve this exact problem. Networking services help connect people of different backgrounds and credentials through their online sites. Professionals put their ideas into practice on these types of websites.
Furthermore, entrepreneurs looking to find investors for their startups increase their chances of succeeding by building the right founding team. Investors look for startups that portray the right range of expertise, passion and personalities. For this reason, a quality team is considered a critical success factor in whether a small business can take off or not.
Hence, it’s wise that you and your co-founders also continuously build your credentials to ensure that your team inspires confidence in all stakeholders. Stakeholders can include investors, customers and employees. Show them that you are thinking ahead and constantly learning. One way to do that is by taking business courses that are relevant to your venture. It will also help you prepare for all the strategic and financial decisions involved with owning your own business. Websites such as https://online.jcu.edu.au/ offer flexible, online business courses that could benefit you and your core team.
Conduct Market Research
You obviously have to know who your target customers are. You cannot effectively market products or services without a business target audience. However, you need to go beyond simply labeling your target audience and knowing what they will want to buy. Begin by conducting market research to understand who your customers are and what environment they live in. Determine what matters to them and what emotions prompt them to arrive at your shop’s doorsteps. By understanding these factors, you can truly know your customers and boost your startup sales.
In addition, you should also know the high-level, macroeconomic view of the industry you will be operating in. Is your industry growing? What are the trends to watch out for? This knowledge should be well-documented.
This exercise will not only help you better structure your operations but it’ll give you concrete materials for your marketing, sales and investor relations communications. It will help you craft your message to the market in a way that differentiates your offering from that of your competition.
Prepare For Failure
Fail early to succeed sooner. It doesn’t mean leave some buffer to allow you to fail. It means know that you will get things wrong and ‘fail’ before the product-market fit is accomplished. So, build processes to test your assumptions and theories before launching a product or opening a store. Build a ramp up plan that will help you test out your ideas in the least costly way possible as early as possible.
For instance, before you open a restaurant, try out your recipes. Offer people of different preferences and characteristics food to get feedback. Then, you can improve your menu before your opening day. If you are trying to sell some handmade items online, first provide a limited volume to another seller who sells complementary products. See how much request or interest you see in her customer base before investing in materials to produce 100,000 products. It’s all about iteration until you feel confident about how your idea will be received in the market.