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You are sick and tired of your 9 to 6 job, you want to earn profits instead of wages, work flexible hours, make your own decisions, implement your own ideas, and not be answerable to anyone.
Doesn’t that sound like a dream career?
It probably does.
You have a business idea, a product, a service or a new invention that sounds absolutely solid.
However, there’s a lot more to running a business than just plain selling. Your business venture turning out to be a rewarding experience or an epic failure depends on how you go about it; the planning you do beforehand, the knowledge you collect, and your drive and commitment towards the venture.
Here are a few business strategies that you need to stick to spare you some unnecessary agony before you jump into the fray.
Assess the ‘You’ Factor
Before you embark on even the planning stage, assess yourself.
Since you will be the one driving the business, conduct a deep thorough dive into yourself whether it is really what you want.
Going into the venture half-heartedly will only serve you half-hearted profits or a full-fledged loss for that matter.
Ask yourself questions like what are your capabilities, skills, expertise?
How are these capabilities going to aid you in running your business?
How much will you spend from your own pocket?
How much capital do you require?
Whom are you going to sell your product to?
Questions like these will help you draw a rough outline for what sort of business you should go for.
A whopping 74% of businesses fail due to bad scaling decisions!
When you are climbing a rickety ladder, you take one step up and test whether the rung is secure enough to climb further up. If you take a leap from the bottom, you are surely going to fall.
Your startup is akin to this ladder, you start small and test if all aspects of your business are foolproof. Then you aim for growth and that too gradually.
If you start big, a single mistake is going to multiply and rest assured, mistakes are going to happen; that’s how you learn and grow.
However, a mistake of epic proportions will be quite hard to swallow.
Know What Your Customer Wants
Your target customer prefers all-in-one internet packages, including TV, phone and internet on their budget, but you are selling internet only plans that you may think are reasonably priced, but your customer is getting more with that price with Cox Packages. Of course, they are going to acquire Cox’s services.
If you had studied your customer, what drives them, what factors influence their purchase decisions, what is their lifestyle, what are their needs, wants and demands, you might have been the one whose plan they would be buying.
What your customers want should not be assumptions on your part, but hard facts.
So ask questions, conduct interviews, focus groups of people you are selling to, etc.
Write a detailed description of your target customers and how they make their purchase decisions.
All those facts are highly important for selling your product or service.
Everyone is selling a detergent. The question is how you are going to differentiate your detergent and get your customer to buy from you instead of your competitor.
Most startups tend to exaggerate everything in their business plans, except for cost, which is superbly underestimated.
You will be tempted to exaggerate while pitching in front of investors; of course, why else will they invest their money in a business with modest profits and sky-high cost.
Hence, begins the exaggeration of market potential for your product, of profits and growth, of customers dying to get their hands on your product and so on.
This is going to badly backfire on you, particularly when you begin to believe those lies. There is optimistic exaggeration and then there is delusion.
Be cautiously optimistic with your startup investors, but always be honest with yourself about how much your business is going to take and how much it is going to give as your beliefs, honest or fallacious, are going to influence your decisions.
Delve Into Your Industry First
You want to start your own restaurant, but your only experience is that of human resources in the software industry.
How exactly is that experience going to aid you in running a restaurant?
You love to cook: Check. You are going to treat your employees fairly as per the law: Check.
You may have a superficial knowledge of the industry, but in a high-stake environment, it may prove to be fruitless. It is highly essential that you know the industry from inside out or at least, someone among the founding members.
You can partner with an expert, who has the industry experience and knowledge. It will be a plus point for you as investors usually prefer at least one person from the leadership to possess industry expertise.
On the other hand, you can work for a while in that industry to gain direct experience and understand subtle complexities of that particular industry.
Understanding the Market
While you gather industry experience, it is imperative that you identify competitors, what are the barriers while entering the industry, what market-specific opportunities and threats your business will face, who are the suppliers and distributors, what is the customer base and possible areas for expansion.
Moreover, identify what are the current trends that will influence demand, supply, and business practices and which current trends you need to keep a lookout for.
A thorough market research is going to minimize your chances for loss, determine the best way to market your product, and won’t let you suffer damage at the hands of your competitor.
Kick-start Your Startup
Starting your own business is no doubt a great decision.
Nevertheless, be sure that you are ready for it. It will not be all rainbows and unicorns, you will have to give it everything you have.
However, one day, you will reap the rewards that is if you do your research and follow smart business strategies.