Many entrepreneurs end up losing their steam because they feel that they don’t have what it takes to measure up against the competition. Some people never make their dreams a reality because they do not have previous management or financial experience. However, many people actually do have the ability to run a successful business, with or without experience. If you are thinking of starting a new business venture, don’t become overwhelmed by the prospect. A new business is an exciting venture with many possibilities.
Find Your Big Idea
Chances are you already have a big idea. Whether you want to open a fine dining restaurant that specializes in Tibetan-Peruvian fusion cuisine, or you are a tech start up looking to launch the hot new dating app, every business begins with a spark of imagination. Once you have thought of the idea, it is time to start answering some critical questions. Which market are you appealing to? Is that market already saturated? If so, how can you find your unique edge to stand out? If you seek professional help to target your market, try a tool called SizeUp. It is a service offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration that allows you to map out your market; potential customers, suppliers, and competitors are all listed so that you can physically see where your best fit may be. Another nifty resource is the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Builder tool that will show you accessible demographic information to help you target your market.
Who else in the field does what you do? Even if your idea is innovative, it will still connect to an industry you can learn from. If you are looking to launch your new app, for example, network with others who are doing the same thing, both in and out of Silicon Valley. Attend seminars and networking events where other software engineers will gather and share their ideas. You can learn a lot about the industry and make valuable new allies who can help you make your app successful. Old business contacts are helpful as well; if you worked for Google and you are now going independent in the software engineering world, then keep in touch with those colleagues so that you may gain potential business partners or advisors in the future.
Create a Business Plan
Now that you have targeted your market and networked with the best of the best, it is time to sit down and create a business plan. The basic parts of a business plan are: an executive summary, a company description, a market analysis, the structure of the company, a description of the product or service, the marketing strategy, and a financial projection for the future.
Know What You Need
Whether you are self-employed or not, you should make a plan about how you see your business growing in the future. In the immediate context, this will be the resources you will need to start. Create a list of things you need and the cost of those things. Try to find ways to make your purchases tax-deductible. If you are self-employed, for example, your desktop computer or laptop will likely be tax-deductible. Consult an accountant or firm who can figure these things out for you, such as Community Tax. Whether you are self-employed and need to hire an accountant temporarily, or you are big enough and have the capital to hire someone full time, you may want someone with expert finance knowledge to go over your budget, bookkeeping, and payroll with you.
Launch Your Marketing
A big mistake before the opening of your business is to neglect marketing. Today, you absolutely must have an online presence to remain relevant. Take advantage of all your avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. If you have a business that sells a visually appealing product, such as ice cream, then you may want to create an Instagram. With these tools you can reach the community and update your audience regularly on the new happenings of your business. Invest in a web designer who can make a site that is organized, informative, and visually coherent. It doesn’t need to dazzle your client necessarily, but it is in many ways a storefront that will show your level of professionalism.
Starting a business need not be as daunting of a challenge as many make it out to be. Utilize these strategies and get started on your entrepreneurial dreams today.