If you are thinking of starting a business whether as a full time venture or as a side hustle here are some steps that could help you
- Look at what is happening around you
Learn about what is happening right now around you in the business space that you would like to be in or you are hoping to get into. Look at the way it is organized, who the major players are, and the relevant government regulations. Reach out to your friends who are involved in the same thing and get to know more about what they are doing and get their thoughts on how they are running things and certain aspects of the market.
The more information you have, the better decisions you can make.
- Consider if your idea is worth pursuing
Just because there are a lot of players in a certain business should not discourage you because it can be worth pursuing; if you have a new way to take a product or service to the customer.
Yes, your business idea is not something new, creative or original but you may have made an improvement on what is currently being done and so your business can be worth pursuing especially if current solutions have flaws and you have a new way that the problem can be solved effectively and efficiently.
Do remember that many newcomers simply make a change to the usual business models and do not necessarily change the products being offered or needs addressed. Identify what makes your approach or idea unique, and then pursue it.
- Get to know your customer
You have an idea in your head about your business so create a customer in your head too. Give them a home address, a gender, and an age and make them read like descriptions of actual people, including marital status, employment, education, values, interests, and more. Then get to know them well.
Getting to know your customer will help you find out, what matters, how they think, where they spend their time and which of your services or products they need and why and it will give you an idea of whether your product or service will sell.
Go to where you will find your customer and ask what their current pain points are and how they are solving them. Look for them at the mall, the market, a place of work or worship and online.
If your fact finding mission results do not show that a market exists to support your business, you may need to revise it.
- Do the numbers
Assuming you will have access to these numbers they will give you an indication of what you can expect or help you estimate how much profit you can make. Investigate the trends to see if the market for your product or service is increasing, decreasing or flat. Find out what sales or contracts other similar businesses have had or will have and the time periods.
Do keep in mind that your new business will have startup costs and other expenses that will make your results less encouraging than those of an existing business.
- Study your competition
Find out who they are targeting and what products or service they are offering. Find out what their strengths and weakness are and where there might be an opportunity for you to win business. You’ll need to get information about their customer profiles, their pricing strategies, and the revenue and profit levels they have.
When you make an effort to find out who your competition is you will be able to define how different you are from them and this difference will matter when you bring your product or service to market.
- Think about the implementation
You need to think very practically about the actual implementation; the time frame, the costs and the regulatory requirements. Think about what needs to be done first, then the next steps after that and the steps after that.
Think about the level of time you want to invest in this small business. Ask yourself if you are the right person to do this and if you have the experience or technical know-how required to solve this problem better than your competitors?
Remember some new businesses may just be financial investments, while others may represent a whole new way of life for you. You need to consider how personally invested you want to be. Will the business be one that you intend to run by yourself, or do you want to provide the funding (and the idea) and let someone else do the work?
If you plan to do the work, then your financial investment may be lower, but your time commitment will be greater. You need to decide for yourself what is more important to you and how to implement it.