So you have a great business idea and can’t wait to launch it. Great. But here are five things you need to consider before setting off on an arduous but rewarding entrepreneurial journey.
1. You need to focus on your customer and their needs
Basically, your business idea – whether it is a service or a product – should solve a problem or be a solution for your customers, meeting an unmet or underserved need or improving on a service or product that is already available on the market. Focusing on your customers and their needs also means building trust with them, which can be achieved by being reliable, which may mean delivering on every promise made or going beyond customer service. It also involves taking customer feedback very seriously, which could lead to the improvement of your own product or service for the retention of that customer. If you believe the customer is key to your business, you would also want to consider the customer experience. Make it so good that they will never want to lose you.
2. Why market research is crucial
Marketing research is about understanding your customers. This is important because it helps you identify weaknesses in your product or service or improve and refine it before you launch your business. It would mean lowering your business risk significantly, and would entail talking to people on the phone, via email or even face-to-face interviews or focus groups. It may cost you in terms of time and resources – interviewing someone over a cup of coffee would add to your cost, as would securing a space to host a focus group and rewarding members of the group for attendance – but it would be worth the investment. Be sure to arm yourself with questions, such as, what they like or dislike about a service or product provided by your competitors. Not doing it and relying solely on online research or talking only to people you know could give you a warped, inaccurate or less-than honest picture of what the market really wants.
3. Why you should build a team
Too often, a good business idea is hampered by the lack of manpower to execute it. Budding entrepreneurs are often well aware of the amount of work they will have to do to see the fruition of their business plans. However, there is a limit to the effectiveness of your handling every aspect of the business on your own. Yes, you need people especially if you plan on scaling upwards. And you need to focus on your people, too. Understand their desires and ambitions, and make sure their needs are met in the areas of compensation and training. State the objectives of the company clearly, be fair in your employment contracts and create a good work environment and a positive company culture.
4. Why marketing is important
You’ve got a great product or a wonderful service. Now let your potential clients know about this by marketing it. Marketing not only helps you engage clients to get you your first sale. Then use marketing to keep your clients informed about your activities, services or products. In other words, it is the key to a relationship between you and your customers, It helps your sales, it helps you sustain growth by keeping old clients engaged and interested, and it helps your business grow by getting new customers interested and engaged.
5. Why you should develop a business plan
A business plan may not sound like such an important idea if you’re planning on starting a business with your own funds, but coming up with one – whether or not you’re seeking funding – will help you put the objectives of your business in greater focus. The business plan should of course have the name of the business, the description of the business, the target market, marketing strategy, analysis of competitors (and how you plan to beat them), operating plan and management plan. Financial projections should also be in the plan, like where the money coming from and how, and could also look at an exit strategy, which means whether you plan on handing the company over to your offspring or sell it eventually.
Bonus: It's great to have a mentor
It’s like having a coach in the sport of business. Having a mentor would mean having someone provide you guidance in your passage to success. A good mentor would also give you feedback, especially in areas where you lack experience or simply have a blindspot. They would also provide encouragement and motivation, while giving advice and even setting rules in areas which you yourself are unable to see as important. Mentors, on account of their experience and connections, could also provide you important links to businesses, associates or personnel who could contribute enormously to the success of your entrepreneurial endeavours.