There are a few reasons why you might be keen to ditch your run-of-the-mill employment and start your own business. The freedom to have your own time and money being at the top of the motivation list.
It's hard work for sure but the rewards are incredible, most especially the feeling of incredible accomplishment from building something all of your own. There are some raving success stories of Australian who are now multimillionaires for having the courage to carve their own path, on the flip side there are also plenty of horror tales of business start-ups failing within 18 months of launch.
Starting your own business is certainly not something you can just dive into. You need to really consider all the angles and bring in the right help if you want to support yourself and live the dream life.
Here are some of the biggest questions you need to have answered before you jump in.
Your why is bigger than just having a business plan. This is about connecting to your market and creating a business that means something to you. Your why needs to not only be incredibly big, but also ecological, sustainable and self-satisfying, and I don't mean that in an environmental way (although great for you if you can also incorporate a low carbon footprint while you are at it). This is about your psychology, having motivation and energy that is self-sustaining and fully congruent with your values. Without this, you will quit the first time you encounter a bump in the road, and I guarantee there will be many, many bumps ahead. Ask yourself this: If you won the lotto and never had to worry about money ever again, would you want to be spending time on this business? If yes, why? That is the Why you need to get crystal clear on and hold like a carrot in front of you for the rest of the journey.
Knowing who your customer is, is essential to be able to tailor products and target your marketing materials in a way that will capture their attention. Sure you want to sell to everybody, but the truth is, not everyone will listen to you. Find your perfect market and talk to them, when they have an incredible experience, they will tell everyone they know about it and you have tapped into the most valuable marketing tool on the planet: Word of mouth. This is about scaling. You want to start small and be clear and focused then reach up and out as you get stronger.
Your business plan covers how you will get your Why done. How will you distribute your goods or services, how will you engage your Who, how will you cover all the different elements of the business (finances, admin, advertising, marketing, packaging…) How will you make money and how will you use that money when it comes in. How will you be different from your competitors?
The trick to this is not to spend too long on the writing part of your business plan. You want to cover all the bases without getting too bogged down in specifics, mostly because it's going to detract from you getting your business started, but also because as this is your first time, you have a lot to learn, and some if not all of it needs to be flexible enough to fit to any changes as you grow and discover shortcuts and better ways of operation.
What are the strengths and weaknesses you need to address or stand by? This just comes down to solid research of what other people have done before you, where they can improve, where they have failed and where they succeed. It also means a careful evaluation of your product or services to find any issues and know what makes your business shine above the rest.
This is where you cast your mind forward to possible expansion. You want to start as small as possible and when you have perfected your business model of that one thing, then branch out to include other services. That means knowing what ideas to launch at the start and what to shelve until later.
It's also a great time to test your product or services in the real world and get feedback.
What also covers what outside influences can impact your business plan for better and for worse. You need to be ready for anything and find a way through. Perseverance is a really big part of business success.
Where clients come from?
Having a phenomenal product or service is a real motivator for starting your own business, no matter how incredible your goods are, your business will only be successful if there is a demand.
Where will you go to find interested people and discuss your ideas and test what you have?
Where do these people hang out when they are online? Where do they hang out in the real world? This will help you determine where to do your marketing and where to engage with your potential customers.
Engage with them by asking, "Is this something you want?"
Where can people find out more about you?
A successful business is all about trust. The smaller the trust gap the easier it is to sell. To make that gap as small as possible your customers need to know everything about you. You need to be completely honest and 100% you so they can see who you are and get to know you. That means having a quality website with an about page, a business email address you check frequently (as per your business plan), Instagram posts and business Facebook account so people can find you, research you and get to know you.
As well as giving information at these points you can also receive information about what people like or dislike, provide value through informative posts and answer any questions that come through.
When should you start?
You'll need to tidy up some admin first and lay the right legal foundations. You don't need to hire a professional at this point, you can do it all yourself online but it will take time and you need to go slowly and be incredibly clear about your end goals and customer expectations.
-Business Name (it needs to be unique across the board, with -business registry, with website registry and email registry)
-Registering your business name
-Australian Business Number (ABN)
-Registering for GST (if you expect to earn more than $75,000 down the track a year)
Above all, I'd say that you need to get some assistance in getting clear about your business vision and getting to know the blind spots. This is where a business coach can make a significant difference, not just in providing an unbiased viewpoint, but also helping you to steer the course and hold you to that vision so you don't when the going gets rough.
If you have launched a business, or you want to in 2020, I'm here to help. Check out my new coaching program launching in January 2020 at petastewart.coach today!