Ask any business owner you know, and they will likely tell you about all the obstacles that came their way. They will talk about the long hours they put into growing their business, about the personal sacrifices they made, and about the uncertainty they experienced every step of the way. Because let’s face it: if entrepreneurship was easy, everyone would be doing it. However, if you do your research properly prior to taking the plunge, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make it into your chosen field.
To get you started, we’ve come up with a quick list of things you must consider prior to leaving your day job and going into business for yourself. Take a look to make sure you are ready to embark on such an exciting adventure.
Building a profitable business around a passion is ideal. You will be a business owner for 365 days of the year, so it’s important to pick a niche you’re excited about. Anyone can start a business, but not anyone can grow and sustain it over time. Your company will face challenges, as all companies do; when that happens, your passion and commitment will give you the strength needed to overcome obstacles.
Plus, look at it this way: if you’re not truly passionate about your enterprise, why should your investors or customers be? You need a clear mission to focus on in order to be able to make better business decisions and professionally handle any bump you may encounter along the way.
Now that you have an idea in mind, assess your knowledge in the area. Do you know enough about the industry? Being knowledgeable about your passion will help you stay ahead of the curve and hit the ground running. If you’re not familiar enough with the field, start learning. Use your professional network to find potential mentors who can steer you in the right direction and offer advice to help you get started.
On the same note, be honest about your skills and determine what kind of help you will need to get your business up and running. If you don’t have any previous experience in a management position, take advantage of free training and counseling services. The US Small Business Administration website, for instance, is a great resource for wannabe entrepreneurs. Learn the basics of the job and whatever comes next will seem much easier.
It’s not enough to have a great idea for a business – you also need to find out if your idea has a shot of bringing in cash. Just because you sell a product or a service doesn’t mean that people will buy it. Here’s where market research comes in. Before you take positive steps to make your dream come true, make sure that dream is viable. Here are a few questions you need to answer before you dive in:
- Who needs this product/service? (determine your target audience)
- What does the market look like? (size up the competition)
- Is there space for your product/service in the market?
Figuring out the answers to these questions will help you better understand the industry and competition. This is especially important because it will help you develop your unique value proposition – which will make is easier to explain to others why your business is so amazing and why they should pick your product/service over the competitors’.
Your business goals
Coming up with a business plan may sound like a boring task, but it’s an essential step to take before launching a company. Designing a comprehensive plan will not only help you figure out how much money you need to start up and approximately how much time it will take to turn a profit, it will also help you map your path to success.
Determine all the risks you are facing and come up with contingency plans to rely on in case something goes wrong. Define your target audience and your industry clearly. Also, set short and long-term goals and figure out how much it might take to accomplish them. A good business plan is invaluable in the long run.
Your support system
A lot of people start their own business to have more control over their schedule. While that can happen eventually – when you’re just starting up, managing a business translates into a lot of long hours. Activities like reaching out to investors, talking to prospective clients and performing various administrative duties require a lot of necessary tedium. In order to survive these hectic times, you need a support system to help you keep your eye on the prize.
Your family and friends have to understand that you will be increasingly unavailable and provide you with encouragement when things go wrong. They can also offer constructive criticism about your product/service, so keep an open mind when listening to their feedback. You are venturing into new territory; it’s only healthy to make sure you have someone around to keep you grounded. Your mentor will be a valuable asset during these tough times.
Starting a business is a thrilling process, but it doesn’t come without a fair share of work. You need tons of motivation, constant determination, and enough humility to accept that you will have to ask for help from time to time. As a business owner, working hard is not enough. You also need to be adaptable, persistent, diligent, and goal-oriented. Start by objectively assessing where you are and develop a solid plan that will get you where you want to be. If you’re passionate about what you do and willing to put in the work, success will soon follow.
It’s a time-consuming and sometimes even dreadful process. But you know what? It’s completely worth the effort.
By Ducere’s Head of Bachelor’s – Omar De Silva
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Ducere Education