Eureka!! You have found a great business idea and can’t wait to get started.
Enthusiasm is great but you need to do a couple of things before opening the doors. You are about to invest money and time. Taking time up-front will help ensure that your investment pays off.
One such up-front task is to develop a business outline. It doesn’t have to be a complete business plan. Consider what your crucial elements are such as:
- Who is your market? Is the market growing? How many competitors will you have?
- What makes you unique from your competitors? Can you maintain that advantage or some other advantage?
- What is your pricing strategy and how does that match up against the competition?
- Bottom line: Do people have a need for your product or service? Do you solve a problem for your customer?
Once you have your outline, get as much feedback as you can. Family and friends can be part of this but the best people are those who will ask the hard questions and will not necessarily agree with all of your assumptions and ideas. You want people to challenge you.
Another task is to plan where you will find funding. Business owners often say that getting the doors open and keeping them open requires three times as much money and time as initially planned. Before you start is the time to consider where you might get a business loan, how much you might need, when you’ll need it, and who, including yourself, has funds to invest immediately and in the future.
And this is the time to consider your market strategy. You have thought about your ideal customer but how do you reach that person? And more importantly, how do you keep them coming back? Don’t assume that the use of online marketing is all you need. Use any and all of the traditional and online tools available.
The final task before opening your business may be to do a test run. This may mean selling your product at fairs or shows before taking the final step. You also might want to keep your full-time job while you test the market to see if you have a viable idea.
These are just a few of the tasks you should undertake before starting your business.
Opening a business is risky. It will eat up your time and your money. The more you can minimize the risk, the better you will feel about your decision.
- About the Author
- Latest by this Author
Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.