The conversation goes this way, “I just want to have something doing? I want to be fulfilled by being independent and taking care of my family. I want to be an entrepreneur as I have a passion and eyes for styles thus can open a fashion house. I have a flair for drawings and design thus I want to open a graphics office. I want to be successful in what I am doing and eventually turn it into a business that I can relate with. How do I even start and know that my ideas can translate to a business”.
If these questions apply to you, then this is about getting the foundation right before starting out.
There are many factors to consider in starting a business of your own. The idea itself can be daunting especially if you look at the economic situation of the country. Times have never been more challenging than now when the global business climate is shrinking for most countries.
There are many considerations that one would need to take into cognizance in order to reduce the besetting issues that are bound to crop up. However, with the benefit of hindsight, we would address some of the factors that are important. These are:
- Aligning both your business and personal goal – What are your primary reasons for setting up a business? Any idea as to how this relates to your personal goal of being independent, being financially empowered or empowering others? Do you want the business to be such that can provide a form of livelihood, augment family income, impart on children, become a part of you or just something doing to get busy?
This is a self examination exercise to justify why you want to start a business rather than being an employee. Does the business goal align with your personality traits? Are you an introvert that wants to set up a customer facing venture? Assessing yourself and identifying your goals to align with your personal goals can sustain your business in the long-run.
If one of your personal goals is to have more time for your children during the day or be closer to home, then you need to consider having a part-time business or an outfit that you can conduct from the comfort of your home or even one that is less time consuming in terms of operating it.
Setting up a business at home would require you to create a modicum of space for an office within the house. You would need a place you can maintain harmony and that can be convenient as well as conducive for you. Doing this will ensure that you remain focus and committed to your purpose as not all businesses require longer working hours of 8-5pm or 9-6pm.
- Discovering Your Passion – This is easier said than done for most people as they find it difficult to identify their passion while for some others, there is the uncertainty associated with their turning the passion into a business idea.
Passion brings about creativity. The more passionate you are about your idea, the more you want to explore all about it. You tend to devote more energy to it and become committed to the idea. Passion is “infectious”. This would help you in the area of customer acquisition as you are always ready to talk about your passion.
Having passion for what you do will also sustain you during challenging period. If you are not passionate about what you do, you can easily get discouraged to the point of giving up as a business owner when obstacles arise in your business journey.
In the budding stage of your business, you will discover that the business is a part and parcel of your life. You live, breathe and eat the business as you just want to ensure that it is profitable and not just a ruse. Also, since the business is going to be a part of you, it must be something that can hold your interest longer as it is going to demand a lot of sacrifice, time and effort on your part.
Take time out to discover who are. What are the things you like doing all the time? What gives you joy when you engage in it? What can engage you that can make you lose sense of time? What gives you nostalgic feeling when you think about your past? If you are someone that likes cuddling and hanging around children, taking care of them and want to make positive impact through nurturing and providing them with love, attention and care among others, then consider setting up a business outfit around them. Examples of such are crèche, after school activity centre and weekend clubs etc.
- Creating A Niche – What kind of impression do want to create around your business via a visa product or service wise? What do you want the business to be known for? Who would your business cater for?A niche exists to fill up a vacuum in a ready market. This simply means that you identify a particular need or want that is not being addressed by other providers or your competitors and you ensure you satisfy them.Niche creation ensures that your business stands above other competitors in the market because it expresses what is special about your business. Some people can call this your USP – Unique Selling Point.In considering a niche statement, consider these four elements:
Niche + Problem + Solution + Promise = Success.Example:
Niche – I want to work with small business owners, who cannot afford large consulting firms,
Problem – To help with their process, HR and System set-up because of the financial implication with the larger firms
Solution – Let us take the stress off you by assisting with your overall HR & process structure.
Promise – We can set it up at a pocket friendly cost without you losing a foot.
Remember the following about your niche:
· Do not change the niche you have created around your business every time
· Do not be ambiguous.
· Do not be all things to all people.
Creating a Brand – People generally think that branding is only for larger organizations but this is a wrong assumption. Small business can also create “brand” around their business on a low budget.
Branding is about creating an identity. It is what set one company from another company. It tells us what we can expect from a company in terms of perception that we have come to associate with that company.
Your branding consists of your colour, logo, packaging, reputation for service offering vis a vis the reputation for low pricing, high quality, prompt customer service, minimal error etc. This enforces awareness and loyalty by customers.
Try and have a business call card as this tell people what you do. The name of your company, your office and other contact details should be embossed on it.
Create a website, maximize your social media outreach through the various platforms such as facebook, instagram, and twitter etc. Get fliers and brochures to market your product and services to people. Let your marketing materials have consistent messages ad logo. Be clear and distinct with your logo, colour and message.
Awareness + Loyalty + Identity + Perception + Value = Effective Branding
- Separating both home and work life – It is easy to get carried away because you work from home, a nearby office or sharing office space with someone as the temptation to forget oneself is high with this kind of business arrangement. You could have friends and family members coming to look you up and chat with you. This could have an inadvertent effect of reducing productivity.Let your working hours be clear and known to people. You also need to be committed to your specific working hours as the urge to take this for granted is quite high since you can easily get away with your house hold chores in the case of working from home. The only time you can deviate from this time period is when there are unforeseen circumstances beyond your control.
Separating the two will bring orderliness to your work life. You will become dedicated and more committed to your time frame and your customers also get to know what time they have access to you.
- Building A Support Network – Do not disregard any positive association of like-minded people. Try and connect with such people in order to rub minds together. A support group can be quite uplifting especially when there is a common interest.Also, try and get a mentor or a business coach that you can share your ideas or goals with. This would further assist and strengthen your business goal towards actualization. When you get stuck or reach a cliff, they can pull you up. It is not everybody that has the personality to forge ahead with their goals. Do not be shy to ask for help.
Getting started is the first step in the right direction! Do not forget to write out your plans including when and how you are going to start your business.
Enjoy your week