Things to Consider Before Starting a Small Business
Starting your own business can be daunting and exciting all at the same time and there are many things to consider. There are predictable paths to follow if you have decided to start your own trades business but if your business is unique or unusual then we need to ask a few important questions first:
- What problem is your product or service solving?
- What makes your product or service stand out from the crowd?
- What improvements are you going to add to an existing business idea?
- Have you found a gap in the market?
- Who are your perfect customers?
- How much market research have you done?
- How much will you need to invest to test your product or service in the market place?
The most important exercise you can ever do in business is make a sale, if you don’t make sales you have no business. If you start selling then you will learn an enormous amount about your business as well as your market. If you don’t sell your product or service then you may have to reconsider the idea or move on to something else.
I once heard a great quote but can’t remember the source:
“I’m not starting a business, Im searching for my first client.”
This is really a guide on getting your first customers so let’s begin. A quick note on starting a new business and the finances. You must be lean and mean with any business activity you do. Don’t go crazy spending a fortune when you haven’t made any sales or have any evidence your business is worthwhile enough to pursue.
I remember one lady who came to me with a skin care range of products for help. She had created a complete range of products, paid a fortune on branding and had 5000 units ready sell. Unfortunately she had no funds for marketing and no one was really interested in her range in a saturated and competitive market.
Seven Steps To Starting A New Small Business
1. First you need to consider your business name and whether a domain name is available. I think everyone understands that if you don’t have a web presence these days you’re missing out so finding an appropriate domain name is vital. (the trick here is to create a domain name that is 15 characters or less.)
2. The next activity is organising your brand or logo. If your brand is a vital part of your business then use a good graphic designer and pay a bit more. If its not so important then use an online service and pay no more than a few hundred dollars. Make sure your logo can be reproduced easily from car signage to a business card by keeping it simple. With most applications logos that are rectangular work better than squares especially online.
3. With your brand sorted I would organise a quick website, even a one pager will do for now remembering at any stage in the future you can add to or improve any part of your business. This will also give you an email address.
If you need photography of any kind (eg products) this must also be considered here making sure you have a decent image of yourself if your business is service based. Remember people buy from people and showing yourself helps to develop trust.
4. Now you are armed you need to go and sell like crazy. Define your target market, be specific and hit bull eyes! Aim for low hanging fruit like people you know well or are acquainted with and start talking. Join business networking groups, post all over social media, send personalised emails, direct mail, flyers, focus all your energies on making a sale. Turn yourself into a sales gun especially if you can’t afford to hire.
5. The only advertising spend I would consider is localised Google ads keeping your daily spend small and monitoring it like crazy.
6. During a “sales break” you can set up an ABN number, talk to a business coach and see an accountant about setting up a company and organising business insurance where applicable.
7. The last thing I would suggest is reading or listening to as many sales, marketing and business success books that you have time for to fully understand buying psychology and how to implement (cheap) cunning marketing ideas.
Once you have sold like a legend you will get feedback on your business and know whether its worth taking it to the next level.
With thanks to our guest author:
Business Coach, Trades Specialist
Action Coach Geelong