Starting a business can be a daunting experience. There’s so much to do, so many things to know. And for many, the stakes are high that the pressure to do everything right is intense.
So if you are a first time entrepreneur, what should be the things you need know before starting a business? What are the most important aspects to keep in mind?
In the article “10 Things You Need to Know When Starting Your Own Home Business”, George Rodriquez writes about the 10 things a startup entrepreneur working from home needs to consider:
- Know what you will do
- Make a list of what you need to start
- Know the government regulations you need to follow
- Determine how much money you need to start the business
- Estimate the potential income of your business
- Line up places and people where you can get help
- Develop strategies to reach your target market
- Plan out the specific steps you need to start and operate your business
- Know the tools and technologies you can use to operate and improve your work
- Plan your exit strategy
Whether you are a starting a virtual assistant business or a lawn mowing company, the above is a solid list of things you need to consider if you are starting a business.
The most critical thing you need to know when trying to start a business is the answer to the question: “What are the NEEDS that my business will address?” The success of your business will depend on how well customers embrace your products or services, and they will only do so when your offerings give them something. Perhaps your business makes their lives easier, or solves a specific problem they have or allow them to have more time to do the things that matter most to them.
The key, of course, is how to determine what your customer needs. In the post “How Do You Determine the Needs of Your Target Market,” I used the example of a business looking to target the overseas contract workers market in the Philippines. The post tries to go through the process of identifying the needs of the Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs (yes, they’ve even got a term for this!), whose remittances back to their families play a significant role in the Philippine economy.
To determine the needs of your target market, it is important to:
Look at your target market. The only way you can determine what they need is by getting to know them. Look at how they live their lives, and make a list of what they need. Then think of a way to address those needs.
When a similar question was posted on LinkedIn, other experts gave the following insightful suggestions:
- Do not ignore the need to have sound accounting/ work flow practices from the start. Outsource if you can to cut costs and ensure accuracy.
- Be patient, don’t expect to be a millionaire overnight
- Build your service, and deliver it in a way you yourself would want
- Have the right people in the right positions, not your uncle, aunt, binlaw, girlfriend etc……
- None of us can do it all by ourselves so organize a good team for yourself – whether a web site builder , virtual assistant/admin, PR and Marketing person, accountant, financial advisor, and Mentor/Business Coach.
- You need to know who your customers are, and how are you going to get their money from their pockets to your pockets.
- Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely thing. Learn to network, find a support group, and get some mentors who can advise you when things get tough. Nobody starts a business completely on their own.
- Do research on your business idea. If you don’t know what’s going on in your industry, who your competitors are or if you are reinventing the wheel then you have problems. You need to know what you don’t know.
- Develop your business skills. You need to understand marketing, financial, and human resource in your business. A business plan will be in your future, so you had better know how to write one or get the materials together so someone can write it for you.
- Make sure you have at least double the cash you think you need and the same with the time you think it will take to get to break even.