Aside a good idea and proper planning, here are six things you must consider before you start your own business.
1. Why are you thinking of starting a business?
You need to be clear about why you want to start out on your own. Do you have the right skills, and a viable business idea that people will buy into? Are you simply frustrated with your current job and need a career move, or do you have a strong desire to do something new – on your own?
You need to be sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons, as running your own business can be tough at times (but immensely rewarding if you get things right).
2. Is there a market for your idea?
If you’re going to offer a new product or service, you will either have to be sure that you can create a new market, or take a slice of an existing market. How are your potential competitors faring, and what can you offer customers that they don’t? If you’re entering a busy market, can you do things better than your competitors? If you can’t compete on price, can you compete on quality or something else?
3. Identifying your customers
Once you’ve decided that you have a viable product or service, how do you present it in front of your target audience? Deciding upon the right sales channel will depend to a great extent on what you are offering. In all cases, you will need to determine where your customers are, and how they’re likely to interact with your business.
4. Do you have the time?
Aside from the assortment of practical factors which determine which start-ups succeed and others don’t, one thing you absolutely must be prepared to give to your business is hard work. No more prescribed working hours, flextime, or overtime. If you set up your own business, the more time you put in, the greater your chances of succeeding. You may be able to set up your new enterprise and hold down your 9-5 job at the same time.
5. Harness the power of the web?
Have you considered how to use the web to market your business? Almost all businesses would benefit from some kind of online presence. These days, you don’t need to be a technical wizard to set up your first website. Most web hosting companies provide ‘out of the box’ software to let you set up a simple site in minutes, but you may need to invest some initial funds to pay a web designer to provide your business with a professional-looking site, or a logo as a minimum. You may also benefit from joining some of the major social media sites to make the most of every marketing opportunity. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts are good places to start.
6. What makes you different?
How are you going to differentiate your business? What are your unique selling points (USPs)? You may not be able to compete with your competitors on price, perhaps, or on location, but you should be able to identify qualities your business offers which others can’t, or don’t do effectively. What makes you unique may be as subtle as unusual branding, or the way you deal with your customers.