Starting a business for the first time? Are you terrified about the prospect of failure? Is self-doubt beginning to creep in? If so, you’re not alone. Most people – regardless of age and background – go through a wide range of emotions when setting out in business for the first time. Give your business the best chance of success by following the following tips.
Become Financially Aware
Do you have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that are necessary to make sound financial decisions? If not, it’s time to change your attitude, invest in yourself and become more financially aware. Do you have sufficient working capital? Have you got student loans that require large repayments? Is it possible to adjust those repayments and make your student loan more manageable with low interest rate options? If you have multiple loans from private lenders, have you looked into debt consolidation? Have you thought about crowd funding? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself.
You have to be fired up about your business idea if you want to get it off the ground. Loving what you do and believing in the product/service that you’re offering will be one of the defining factors in its success. That said, entrepreneurs can fall into a trap where they are in love with their product/service and, as a result, they fail to adapt when necessary. Loving your customers and not your product/service will give you a firm foothold on the ladder to success.
Have A Solid Business Plan
No matter how simple or complex it is, having a defined business plan is essential. It will help keep you focused, motivated and on track to hit all of your short- and long-term targets and goals. Your business plan should give a snapshot of your business, describe your company, have a section on market analysis and outline the products and/or service that you’re offering. It should also describe your marketing strategy, the management structure, and your financial projections.
Do Market Research
Your passion for your product/service is not enough of a reason to go ahead and start a business. You should, instead, assume that there is no market for your product/service and research if there’s a need for it. Think about how unique it is and if there is someone else who offers a better service/product in the marketplace. Determine who your target market is and investigate whether or not they would pay for your product/service. If the results are positive, you then need to come up with the right price point.
Limit Your Risks
Testing your product/service on a small scale before branching out is the best way to limit your risks. Get an idea of your potential future profits and losses and adjust your business plan with those findings. Other ways to minimize your risks when starting out include:
- Keeping accountants receivable low
- Diversifying your income
- Hiring an operations manager
- Using a home office instead of buying/renting
- Understanding customer buying behaviors
- Evaluating how sensitive your business is to external economic factors
- Knowing the government regulations associated with your product/service
- Investing in copyrights, patents and trademarks