Are you sitting in your cubicle right now, dreaming about being your boss? If so, this article is for you. Entrepreneurship and the freedom it entails are not as out of reach as you might think.
It will take hard work, but with these five effective strategies for starting your own business, your midmorning office daydream can become a reality.
Have a Plan Before You Get Started
While you might think it goes without saying, we’re going to say it anyway. Having a plan for your future business is essential. You need enthusiasm and optimism too, but your entire idea will fall apart if you don’t have a plan.
In general, a business plan should include:
- A description of what will make your business a success.
- An analysis of who your target market is. Are you hoping to reach mid-career white-collar professionals? College students?
- How you will reach your audience. Will you take out ads in a local paper? Take advantage of a white label link building agency?
- A description of the company itself. What products or services will you provide? How will you organize it?
- Relevant information about your finances and funding.
That list might seem overwhelming, but don’t let it discourage you. You will use all of the information you include in your business plan, so taking the time to lay it out and clearly define it is worthwhile.
Know What Makes Your Business Unique
They’ve had time to build a reputation and attract clients. If you’re offering the same services, even at a slightly more competitive price, you’re going to have a hard time luring customers away.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re starting a lawn care company. There are already several in town, but you’re passionate about the work, and you think the area could sustain one more.
You could undercut your competitors’ prices, but then you risk not being profitable. Instead, look at the list of services they offer. What could you do to stand out? Maybe you could provide pool cleaning as well. You may be able to market yourself as an eco-friendly option by not using pesticides.
It might take some brainstorming, but there’s always something you could do to differentiate your business from the crowd.
Leverage Your Connections
Businesses are built on relationships. When you’re just starting, you don’t have many of those. You can optimize your website and hope you attract organic traffic, but that takes time. When you’re watching your initial investment into your new business trickle away, you don’t have time.
Instead, reach out to the people you know. Friends, family members and classmates from your school days are viable options when you start looking for clients. If they’re pleased with the products or services they receive, they’ll tell the rest of their professional network the next time it comes up in conversation.
Learn From Your Mistakes
No one is perfect, no matter how much we might wish we were. Everyone makes mistakes, and at times, it might feel as if entrepreneurship is an extended exercise in failure.
You can come back from failures. Think of all the college drop-outs turned multi-millionaires and the people who lost everything only to recover.
It’s also important to remember that most mistakes occur on a much smaller scale. You’re probably not going to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. You might lose a client, a smaller amount of money or a business partner, but frame those losses as learning opportunities rather than failures.
In business, we refer to this concept as failing forward. John Maxwell popularized the idea in a book of the same name, and it’s a helpful practice whether you’re fresh out of school or an industry leader with decades of experience.
Learn From Other Sources
Of course, most people would much rather learn from the mistakes of others rather than their own. That’s why it’s essential to undertake research before you start your business and to keep learning afterward. You can’t avoid every mistake, but you avoid many of the ones that someone has made before you.
There’s a reason many entrepreneurs are such voracious readers and so invested in their professional networks. Entrepreneurship, for all that it’s framed as a path for highly motivated, independent individuals, is a collaborative effort at its heart.
The books you read, the connections you build, and the educational workshops and programs you attend contribute to what will make you a successful entrepreneur.
We’re all learning and growing as people, leaders, and business owners, and we’re more successful when we work together. Find mentors, friends, and partners. You’re not alone in your endeavors.
There are, of course, other things you need to know to start a business. However, the technical aspects are relatively easy to follow whether you’re registering a trademark or applying for an EIN. The difficult part is the initial researching and planning stage, which we’ve discussed today.
We wish you luck as you begin the process of starting your own business!