So here’s the thing about starting a business. It takes passion, commitment and perseverance. Does that describe you? Are you ready to go for it?
Five Tips To Help You Start Your Own Business:
1. An Idea
Everything begins with an idea. The idea that pops into your head that you KNOW will make a difference to someone, somewhere in the world. People want solutions to their problems – which problem are you going to solve?
Write. It. Down. Grab a pen… go, go, go… write it down.
No matter what you happen to be doing, the instant an idea pops into your head… WRITE IT DOWN. Psychologists tell us the second it is on paper, your mind starts to take it more seriously.
Some things to keep in mind: What are your strengths? Where can you add value? What time commitment can you make?
Some ideas we all wish we had thought of? The zipper, velcro, the chair, the wheel, dishwasher, buttons, air conditioner, Robeez – small things that make a huge difference to people’s lives. While I suspect the inventors are sitting on a nice little fortune, it’s not all about money. To start, no entrepreneurial business should be all about the money. It should be about passion. Of course, earning potential is important later on… but at this point, it’s all about passion. My Grandma Ruby once said “Do what you love and the money will follow.”
So once you have your idea that solves a problem… go for it!
2. Research, Research, Research
Just because you have had a killer idea, doesn’t mean others haven’t already had the same one. Sorry to burst your bubble. Do it better, faster, cheaper, blow people’s minds with customer service and quality and then you’ll stand out from the crowd.
And no, you likely won’t make $100K your first year – you might, but don’t bet your kids on it.
Search through every corner of the internet, every store, every directory, every social media avenue, baby shows – anywhere that you might find someone who has your (or a similar) product or service. Then figure out what they’re doing wrong, or what you can do to improve the customer experience.
You need to know who your competition is and what they are doing. You know the old saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? Same goes for competitors. Know everything about them.
Interview and talk to others who have started their own business. Like the power of word of mouth parenting (some of the best advice out there is from other parents), word of mouth business development is incredibly helpful. Find out how others got started, tips and tricks of the trades, recommendations for service providers (web developers, distributors, financiers).
3. Make it Official
Register your business. This is the next step in taking your new venture from an idea into a reality. The easiest place to start is to register a URL or domain name for your new company. Try a site like Bluehostforyou.com to register a URL and reserve your space online.
That’shat’s step 1. You also need to officially register it with the Govenment. In Canada, visit the CRA Business Online Registration site. Then you are totally committed to getting your idea up and running.
4. Connect and Network
Get yourself out there. Face to face. Go on. Don’t hide behind your computer – nobody is going to find you there! Get out and connect. Join networking groups (like womeninbiznetwork.com) and find groups of other entrepreneurs who meet regularly. There is something very powerful about meeting other women who are facing similar challenges and successes – it can be empowering and incredibly helpful.
Connect online. Very few business are able to run successfully without an online presence. This presence needs to be in a few spots – you will need a website. Not negotiable. Even if your business isn’t online, a website will help people find you and make you more credible and established. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive… but it does need to represent you and your brand well.
Get yourself on social media sites too (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) as they are the fastest and cheapest ways to begin marketing. If your market involves people, you need to be using social media – ’nuff said. Pssst – don’t look now, but every single business on the planet involves people. It may be intimidating at first. Find people who are already established and using it well and ask them to help you. Heck, come and find me! (You can reach me on Twitter as @biztrainher or @practicalmum). It’s great fun to connect and share.
5. Plan it Baby!
The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is to fly by the seat of their pants. They don’t create a business plan. Much like weekly grocery shopping, or heading out on a long drive – having a list, or map or plan is incredibly helpful.
How is it that we’ll spend 12 to 16 months, painstakingly planning every single detail for our ONE wedding day, but we don’t take a two-day time slot to write a business plan with a business plan coach or expert?
The plan helps you understand and decipher your vision and mission. You hone in on your niche market, your competitors, your financials. (Always undershoot – don’t overshoot!!) and everything you need to make your business more successful.
It is easy to be distracted from your goals by new ideas that pop up along the way. Having a plan helps keep you on track, focused and helps guide your next steps.
There are many resources out there to help give you a blueprint for your business plan. If you are struggling, reach out. Find someone who has a business plan, and ask for their help. Better yet, get your little self to a course or workshop on writing a business plan. Research examples – there is lots of support out there… you just need to find it.
It is such an exciting time to launch a business – very much like having a baby and nurturing it while it grows. I wish you the best of luck on your business endeavors. Take these 5 tips and knock it out of the park. And make sure to connect with me so we can help each other grow!
Just so you know- this blog post was made possible by a generous grant by the lovely ladies at Mom Central Canada. Mom Central Canada helps connect brands to moms and vice versa. Moms who sign up become part of a mother network that has certain perks: free products for testing, exclusive savings and coupons, sponsored product parties, just to name a few. But most importantly, they have the opportunity to have their voice heard, not just by the community, but also by participating Canadian companies. So essentially, you’ll help shape the product campaigns (and even development) of these brands.