Here is a shout out to all the Jack Pa’s, Colonel Sanders, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of tomorrow. “Don’t do it”, is what you all might hear when you first think of an idea that you feel might change the world. The fact is that this idea will most probably work if you execute it right. The world is full of entrepreneurs who came from absolutely nothing to becoming some of the most influential people all around us. Forget about technology, IT and social media for a minute. Did you know that professional dog walking is a profession that pays thousands of dollars a month? I mean who is the mad genius to come up with this idea. It’s just about finding the gap in the market. Well, when you’re done looking that up, we’ve got lots to teach you.
Since you’re going down this path in today’s world, we first like to appreciate your bravery but we will ask, are you bold enough? If you want to turn back, we completely understand given the hostile situation of the market with 80 percent of startups failing in the first year. The chances of success are pretty slim and statistics make it even worse. However, let’s be a little optimistic for a minute and think of the 20 percent startups that did not fail. Let’s think of all the great success stories of entrepreneurs that started from nothing to where they are today.
Every great business was once nothing more than an idea whether it was about a new product, service, trend, innovation, or even a movement. So, take a deep breath and pause for a moment. The first thing to realize is that there is no need to rush anything so be patient. In fact, the best thing you can do is get a job in a running business similar to the one you wish to start. This is the smartest move any young ambitious individual can make to get some experience working in the business that they wish to start one day. Get some experience, learn from the big boys and look for those with similar ambitions to yours. Plus, you would also be making some money which you can invest as your business budget.
Coming back to your business, here are a few things you need to look at and understand before your dive in an ocean full of sharks.
1. State your business vision and mission
Your business starts with your mission statement. A mission statement should answer three question: What your business does, for who it does it, and what value they give or get in result? The statement is important because it defines the products, service, the business itself and the customers. This follows with your vision statement which describes how your organization will look in the future when it achieves its mission. For instance, a renewable energy company’s mission can be to provide solar energy products in isolated areas in Africa for electricity and irrigation. The vision of the company can be, “We provide energy solutions anywhere and everywhere”
2. Define your affordable loss and budget
If you’re still here, then were just getting started so you might actually learn something if you read on. Alright, so affordable loss is basically coming up with cheapest alternative or creative ways of doing things at little or no cost to yourself. This is done reduce, manage and use finances in such a way that losing them would not hurt your business. It might hurt your feelings seeing money go away but you’ll thank us when you get more in return. Coming to the budget, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 dollars or 10 million. You can waste 10 million if you do not assign and manage your budget, and save some from 10 dollars if you do so. That’s the beauty of financial management. Knowing where you invest and what get in return.
3. Form your marketing and communication strategy
If you ignore the importance and potential of marketing in your business, you might as well find another line of work because marketing is the most important activity that can ensure your business not only survives but thrives. However, marketing is another science of its own so first, you need to understand the difference between selling and marketing. Selling is about getting rid of what you have in your store whereas marketing is ensuring that what you have in your store is exactly what your customers want. Now, we cannot all have billboards and big TV commercials, and in this digital age, you don’t really need to. Start your marketing with social media, let friends know about your business. Have them refer your business to others? To get them motivated, give them referral discounts or gift cards. A website is mandatory as most businesses are now online thanks to change in consumer trends. Secondly, you need to have an effective communication channel to reach your customers or have them reach you.
4. Trial and Error
If you assume that your strategy is going to work from the get go then you need to wake up. There are going to be more failures, let downs and losses. It’s about how well you adapt, reform and reshape your strategies by learning from them. Think of all the product launches you see, hear about or read about every day. Some of these take years of development and research to not only perfect the product itself but also ensure that it will be successful in terms of sale and revenue generated. New businesses should always have a failsafe or a backup or plan B. KFC started with $87 and was sold door to door and look at where it is today.
So, to summarize, start small and aim big. No need to have a fancy office or big facility with fancy decorations and big teams. Instead, try saving energy, subletting, collaborating and forming fruitful partnerships. The first stage is about exploring your own business by taking manageable risks. Don’t just go and spend everything on operations with no money left to pay the rent and bills. If you have taken the time to read this far, then good luck. P.S it’s never too early or too late to start a business. You might fail a thousand times but once you click, it’s all about tuning and growing.