What are the important things you need to think of, cover or at least note before deciding to start the business? Do not see this list as a hurdle, no. See it as a reinforcement of questions that likely crossed your mind before.
This is a list partly made from my own 22+ years ‘hustling’, doing business, and being an entrepreneur. Simple things I think are essentials in my own opinion. The other part comes from research, and I made sure I scrutinized that only practical and useful thoughts get to be included.
It’s going to get enlarged and more links would be added to great articles that you can spend an afternoon reading. I bet if you do that, you’ll know what a large percentage of your small business competitors don’t know or didn’t take note of.
So here we go.
Customers #1: Will any of your friends buy this? Tell your friend(s) you are selling the product or service. It may not be a face to face thing, it could just be an update on your social media page. Don’t prod them. Just a simple no push post.
Measure the excitement or try to gauge it – look at likes, comments, messages, phone calls about it, or discussions about it when you physically see them afterward. Is there any pointer they loved it and are willing to have it?
While this may not be the best market survey, it could help you know how fast or how hard it will be getting customers for your business or service.
Your friends and family members should be able to buy from your small business – not because it is you, but because it is something cool (if it is something that they might need, or want).
Location#3: Where are potential staff based? Yes, there is virtual working, but some businesses require physically present staff. Do you have a good supply of appropriate skills around? Or are you based where they’ll be more than happy to relocate to?
Location#2: Online locationing matters. Hang out where your markets and industry hang out. Just like location matters in the physical world, it matters in the virtual world. Who are your business’ target demography and where to they go online? What do they do online? Anchor in on that and use it to determine where your “online location” should be. By that I mean what would be a major part of your online visibility strategy. Would it be social media? Would it be forums? Would it be via ads? Affiliate marketing? Blogging?
Location #1: Where your business is located is key for several reasons. You’ll want to consider where your customers are. If you are into retail of consumer products, stay not too far from your consumers – whether online or offline. Despite the Internet, local is important. Local is also about where your business is physically sited.
Technology #1. What tools are there to use (even if you can’t afford it or are unable to deploy it now)? You need to keep up in your field, but also in the technology and ICTs field. Business has never been as dynamic as it is today. You just must be ready to keep up or you’ll not even survive your first season.
Imagine it is 1995 and you are in business. You didn’t go for an ISP, you didn’t get an email address, you didn’t even bother about having a webpage. Year 2000 came and you still didn’t. Where will you be today?
So, as you are starting or planning to start, look out to the industry and get to know what tech is there, it doesn’t cost anything to contact the tech companies making those tools or offering such services. You need to really be smart here. You don’t want something that would not benefit you or something that won’t last. This is an aspect that requires time you may be lucky to have a smart ‘tech consultant’ with specialty in your field who can assist.
Skills #1. Where are the skills for powering the business idea? This is similar to the need for supply sources earlier mentioned. It is equally crucial especially if you are not retailing someone else’s products or reselling their services. Whether it is a sole proprietorship or you have your co-founder as the major head behind the show, have a plan to cover the skill-side of things in the absence of the major head.
Skills #2. How am I going to develop my know-how in this industry? Have a plan for improving from day one. People enter into business everyday, so you’ll be having competitors down the line and you don’t want everyone in the business and those just coming into the business to outshine you. I’ve seen a lot of business wane and die off because they remained the way they started out. No new knowledge means death. Simple.
Sources for running the idea; do you have a good supply source for your materials, or stock that is not going to dry up on you? That’s simple and straightforward. How reliable and strong are your sources?
The resources you need to consider at least are the critical supplies. In some instances, the critical supply might be human skills. In other cases, it may be a product supplier (if you are in retail).
It will be nice to have alternatives that are equally competitive. Even if that is scarce, just have it in mind that the continuance of your new business and maybe its success is tied to that critical supplier. That will at least help you manage it to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.