One of the greatest things about starting a small business is that anyone can do it.
You don’t need a college degree, loads of money, or even experience. All of that helps, but if you are business savvy and know your stuff, you can survive on a dream and the drive to see it come true.
Many people have entered the world of entrepreneurship recently, so there’s a lot of information out there on how to do it right! The tricks that they’ve used and the mistakes they’ve made can guide you into a smooth start.
Before you open up, check out these five smart tips for starting your own small business.
1. Know Your Field
If you’re planning to start a business, you probably know a lot about the product or service you’re offering.
You may even think you’re great at what you do, but “great” isn’t good enough. You need to become an expert in your field, and to know what your competitors know.
Take some time to check out the competition, their services, and their websites. What do they offer that you don’t? What can you offer that they won’t?
If you can learn what they know and apply it to your business, you take the edge away from them. This makes you a real competitor in the field, too.
The perfect time to do this is before you start marketing your new business. That way, you’ll know what type of services you need to offer in order to compete with other companies in your space.
2. Research Your Market
If you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll need to learn about your neighbourhood before you set up shop. Use the local Chamber of Commerce and the internet to research the demographics in the area.
In order to stay afloat, you must conduct business in an area where your target market is well-represented. To ensure that you’ll stay busy in your chosen location, find the answers to questions like:
- What is the average age of your target market?
- What’s their average income?
- Is the target market population projected to grow or shrink over the next few years?
- Who are your competitors in the area? Do they have a loyal following?
- What is the average overhead for a business like yours in this city?
Just because you live in a specific city or county doesn’t mean you should open your doors there. Your target market might not be well-represented in your town, or the market may be saturated by competitors already.
If this is the case, you might want to open your business somewhere else or start an online business with less overhead and a wider audience. By completing much needed market research for your startup business, you can highlight and find out these important facts.
3. Start Simple
Starting a new business is exciting. You want to offer all the products or services you know will be helpful to your market.
However, it’s better to go a mile deep and an inch wider than the opposite. Take some time to establish yourself and build your reputation, then add more.
If your goal is to open a brick-and-mortar store, start an online shop without a lot of overhead. This gives you the time to get to know what your clients want and whether you can feasibly provide it.
Running a simple business, especially early on, will help you keep costs low. That way, you’ll have more capital to grow when you’re ready.
You’re excited, and that’s wonderful! But with this excitement, you can be tempted to jump in headfirst. When it comes to creating a solid foundation for your dream, it’s best to tread carefully with your toes to test the water.
4. Ask for Help When You Need It
The great thing about humans is that no one is perfect. We all have things we’re good at, but we all need help in other areas. That’s what makes the world go ‘round!
When you’re starting a business, it’s common to get stubborn and try to do everything yourself. This isn’t the best road to success, though. In fact, it can be a quick route to crash-and-burn entrepreneurship.
One of the best things you can do before you start a business is to take an honest inventory of yourself. What are you truly good at? What do you need help with? How much time do you have to work on your business, and what will you do with that time?
When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll know where you need to ask for help. Then, you can search out someone to give you a hand.
For instance, if you’re a creative who knows nothing about taxes and accounting, you can’t shrug that part of your business off. You need to ask for help.
If you’re great at your service, but lack organization skills, maybe you need a virtual assistant to help you stay organized.
Mark Lucero is the Business Manager at Xander 3900, a luxury apartment community in Las Vegas.