One of the most common and widely-shared dreams in the world is to start a business. Many people dream of simply standing up from their desks, walking out of their day jobs, and working on something that really matters to them. If you are one of those people, then you should know that starting a business isn’t as hard as you might think it is; the fact is that you just need a great idea and the wherewithal to execute on that idea (and, of course, a sizeable quantity of luck!). Here are 9 tips for getting a business off the ground and finally realising the dream you’ve had for so long.
1. Be flexible
Perhaps the single most important piece of advice you can hear as a prospective business owner is to be flexible. Don’t become overly wedded to your initial idea; when you put it through testing, you might find that it doesn’t stand up anywhere near as well as you first thought it would. Be willing to change your ideas and work them into new and exciting prospects, because you might find that a new and exciting business niche presents a far more enticing opportunity than your initial idea ever would have.
2. Look for funding in strange places
As a business owner, you’ll probably be looking for funding by searching for investors or taking out business loans. However, these aren’t the only options available to you, and it will serve you well to examine every single avenue of funding that you possibly can. Drawing from savings is a good way to fund a business, especially if it’s one that investors might baulk at because it’s a new or unproven idea. You could also look to companies like Loans2Go for personal loans if you’re worried that a conventional business loan isn’t the right way to go.
3. Conduct extensive market research
Market research is the backbone of a successful business operation. Through market research, you can discover what your core demographic wants from you and how you can best provide it. When customers start using your business, be sure to ask them in detail how you could improve and what other services you could be providing. It’s also important to look at your competitors and see what they’re doing, because this will give you a clearer picture of the current state of the market.
4. Don’t be afraid to pay
The old adage that you have to spend money to make money rings true, especially in the world of business. Of course, there will be times when you shouldn’t be spending money, such as when your business is going through a barren period. For the most part, however, you’ll find that spending money on better employees, better services, and better infrastructure will pay dividends in the long run. Being mean with money could actually lead to losing more, ironically, so don’t be afraid to splash out a little.
5. Don’t give up the day job at first
While it might be a dream to walk out of your job and tell your boss what you really think of them, this might be a mistake. Your day job provides a great opportunity to keep the income flowing in while you think about your business. Of course, this doesn’t stand if you’re thinking of starting a direct competitor to the job you’re currently doing; there could be all kinds of legal headaches around that. However, if your business is in a totally different area, it could be a good idea to keep working at your normal job while you set it up.
6. Let social media do your marketing for you
Paid social media ad campaigns are all well and good, and your business should definitely think about taking advantage of them, but there’s something to be said for good old-fashioned grassroots marketing. Let social media posts spread the word of your business for you, and don’t rely entirely on ad campaigns to generate word of mouth interest. If you can, be funny on social media; it’s harder for brands to achieve this, but if you manage it, you’ll generate an enormous amount of goodwill.
7. Take a customer-first approach
One of the biggest differences between bigger businesses and smaller operations is their approach to customers. You can tell a lot by a business based on how it talks to its users; big business will often default to corporate jargon just due to its sheer size, while smaller business can afford to get more personal. Your core demographic will be smaller than your larger competitors, so talk to them more often, be personal, and get a feel for what their problems are.
8. Stay positive
You’re likely going to suffer a lot of setbacks when it comes to trying to get your business off the ground. This is the nature of the beast; being an entrepreneur comes with its own set of challenges, and how you respond to them will mark you out as a success or a failure, even if your business doesn’t work this time around. Always stay positive, look for the next opportunity, and don’t dwell on bad stuff. Learn from it, incorporate it into your future strategies, and move on.
9. Love what you do
Is your business the kind of business that would make you want to come into work even if you never had to do so again? If so, then you’ve already got the right mindset. If not, then ask yourself this: is owning a business really that different to the job you left behind? If your business isn’t making you happy, then you’re likely not in the right line of work, and there’s no point starting up your own business if it’s no better for your mental health than a stable, steady job would be.
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