Guest Post by Julie Rainbow
Starting you own business always carries risk. This uncertainty makes many entrepreneurs nervous about taking their first steps.
After almost a decade working in senior management for national and global IT companies, I have seen first-hand that there is no distinct formula for business success.
But there are a five ways to ensure that the risk you take in starting you own business is a calculated one.
1. Know your product market inside out
Many first-time business owners I mentor make the mistake of trying to please too many people, following the idea that the larger their target market the better their business opportunity. When it comes to potential consumers, sometimes less is more.
It boils down to buyer psychology. Consumers who invest in a new product or service do so because they see something in the product that resonates with them, or the person they want to be.
Marketing your product to a generalised audience, say “women” or “men”, removes the sense of personality, individuality or exclusivity that buyers look for when they purchase. Your offering needs to have character and appeal to a certain type of person to be desirable. Narrow your focus to maximise your earning potential.
2. Have a rock-solid business plan – and stick to it
Technology has revolutionised the business world. There are always new opportunities for growth in different directions. Although you need to remain open to change, sometimes the wealth of opportunity can actually compromise your business focus.
Without a strict plan, you may find yourself chopping and changing between developing an eBook, creating a video series or trying to get involved in networking communities. In themselves, these tactics are all ideal for business growth, but yo-yoing back and forth between projects will ultimately be like chasing your tail.
Before launch, it is important to develop a rock-solid business plan for your development, marketing and future direction. This plan needs to break down how you will reach certain milestones, and provide definitive direction steps to follow.
The Australian Government provides online access to comprehensive guides and templates for creating your business plan, here: http://www.business.gov.au/Information/Pages/businessgovauplanningtemplates.aspx. An investment of energy now will save you a lot of head-scratching and time-wasting in the future.
3. Research your marketing and get started
Strong marketing is essential to your business success.
A bad product can still sell with the right marketing tactics. But a good product with lack-lustre marketing will never create a viable business.
Most entrepreneurs give marketing tactics after launch some serious thought. But many forget that marketing doesn’t have to wait until launch day – you can build hype and begin the process of brand recognition now through social media channels.
Establish a Facebook page that counts down the days to launch, hint at a secret giveaway and start gaining followers. Intelligent marketing before your business is 100% up and running will give you momentum in your first few weeks of operation and help you to open with a bang.
4. Know your strengths and cover your weaknesses
Self-awareness is vital when trying to get your business off the ground. You need to use your strengths to your advantage and surround yourself with people who make up for the skills you lack.
Sometimes this simply means getting a second pair of eyes to re-read your blog posts. In other instances, you may need to invest money in your business development.
For example, while you may be able to build your own basic website through WordPress or create a logo in MS Paint, the quality of these will be severely lacking by comparison to the results produced by a professional. A good website will pay for itself in the long run.
Don’t try to do it all – create a strong team to maximise your chance for success.
5. Make your work something you love
When you start your own business, it tends to become your whole life – at least in the short term.
There is a lot of work to be poured into keeping everything running smoothly, and most of it will land on your desk.
If you aren’t wholly passionate about your idea, you will lose energy pretty quickly and your business will suffer as a result.
Make sure that you are 100% committed to your concept and in it for the long haul.
The greatest determining factor in your business success will ultimately be you.
About Julie Rainbow
Julie Rainbow is the full-time Director of Clarity Road, a part-time business and marketing pro and spare-time Zumba dancer. In another life, Julie was the General Manager of a global IT company and serial meeting-a-holic. After starting her life from scratch almost a decade ago, Julie’s passion now lies in helping other women through life changing events like her own. www.clarityroad.com.au