Starting your own business is a daunting task. There are so many questions, not-with-standing the first: How do you choose which business idea to go with?
There are so many options that trying to settle on one can be stifling. Hopefully, this post will help.
Disclosure: Based on personal opinion, not to be taken as advice. Seek a professional if required.
Step 1: Find Something You Enjoy
There are many reasons why people start their own business. Knowing your reason is key to reaching your goal.
If you’re in business to make as much money as possible, you may not care how enjoyable it is.
If, like me, you’re interested in doing something you enjoy, then do something you enjoy!
Finding that thing, that activity you enjoy may take time. But, it will be worth the effort because once you start, you’ll be doing it for a long time.
Think about your hobbies, is there something you can sell or teach on a blog? Perhaps your profession has given you valuable knowledge and experience. Maybe you simply like to write.
No matter the type of business you choose, make sure the subject, and the day-to-day activities, are something you find engaging and fun.
You don’t want to find out in 8 months time that you hate it.
If you already have a shortlist, then picking one should be easy. I would go with the option that appears to offer a good chance of success, while being something I enjoy. I would try to find a balance between the two.
Lastly, if you’re starting a business to escape the rat race, make sure you are not recreating the rat race in your own home.
There are many businesses which free you from external routine and management. I would choose one of those!
Step 2: Research The Business Area
Once you have your business idea, you can begin to research the business area you would be getting into.
You are seeking to establish whether the business idea is viable. Here are some questions I would be asking:
1. Is there a need for the product/service?
2. Are there examples of similar businesses operating successfully?
3. Is the market area saturated? If so, what could I do to leap-frog the competition?
You would also need to crunch the numbers:
4. What are the start up costs?
5. What are the ongoing costs?
6. Can you start the business while holding down a 9-5?
7. Can you afford failure? Is the risk acceptable?
8. How will you measure success and failure?
9. Are there any laws that you need to consider?
10. Will you need insurance and/or product safety testing?
Step 2 is about conducting your research and, in a roundabout way, creating a business plan. If you like to write things down, then taking the time to create a formal business plan is a good idea.
If you’re hoping to convince somebody else to invest in your idea, then you will likely need that business plan.
Step 3: The Trial Period
Once you have your business idea and you’ve conducted your research, it’s time to try it out. Test the market and begin a trial period. Ensure you comply with relevant laws and have any testing/insurance you may require.
Most countries will likely allow for a test period without the need to register the business, or complete lots of forms.
Check your local laws to find out if that is the case for you.
It’s always good to keep clear records from the very beginning, in case you need them down the line.
The trial can be for as long, or short, as you like. It is best to have a timescale in mind. Be realistic – if you’re trying to create a successful blog, it may take 12 months or beyond.
Step 4: Continue Or Start Again
After the trial period, it is important to stop and evaluate.
11. Are things going as expected?
12. Are there signs that you could have a successful business on your hands?
13. Are you still enjoying it?
I have been on the wrong end of this many times. When it just isn’t working.
It is important to run a critical eye over the situation and make the final decision: Continue on with the business, extend the trial period, or give up on it.
Closing shop can seem like a waste, but in the long run it may actually save you time. If you focus your energies on a failing business, then you’re wasting your time. Your next business idea may be where you find success.
It takes time and effort to start, and then grow, a business. The reward will hopefully be worth the cost.
Learning how to do, or make something, shouldn’t be a barrier to starting a business. As long as you can take the time to gain the knowledge required.
With any business, it is your risk, your responsibility, and hopefully, your reward.
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