If you are planning to go on the entrepreneur journey, there are important steps that you will want to follow. Too many times, entrepreneurs have a great idea, and then launch too quickly, without paying attention to what they should be doing. There is a process, and when you follow it, you are more likely to achieve success as opposed to failure.
The Business Concept
The business concept is the first and most important step. It is what will determine what you are going to do in the marketplace and how you are going to do it better than anyone else. You can certainly get inspiration from other entrepreneurs. However, at the end of the day, you need to have a unique value proposition to set yourself apart from all of the other businesses out there. You may be within a highly competitive industry, and therefore you need to do market research to determine how you are going to be different. If you don’t have a product, service, or price point that is unique, you may be looking at failure from the very beginning.
The next step within the entrepreneur journey is to establish funding for your business. You will need money in order to establish your business, even if you are looking at starting on a small scale. SLC Custom Packaging started out small and then has grown to include more industries over the years. However you choose to run your business, you need to have funding in place.
It’s a good idea to sit down and write out a business plan. This should include a budget so that you know what your startup costs are going to be and what your expenditures are going to be for the first six months to a year. You may be able to self-fund, otherwise you may need to look at getting a loan or work with various angel investors to come up with the complete amount of funding.
Develop a Customer Base
The third step is to develop a customer base, and this may be something that you want to do even before launching to the general public. This will make it easier for you to be in business because there will be several key customers that will keep you going no matter what. These can be friends of the family, individual businesses that you approach, or local businesses who have been your “test” along the way.
Pinnacle Furnished Suites is a great example of having a customer base. Even before they even opened their suites, they knew that people would be booking. The number of customers you add to your customer base is entirely up to the general layout of your business. For example, if you have a high price point for your product or service, you may only need a few customers. If you are value-driven, you may need dozens or even hundreds of customers to get you going. This is when it’s important to be able to fall back upon your budget in order to guide you.
Businesses don’t succeed overnight, nor do they do so because customers “just happened to find them.” You will need to market in order to increase your exposure. Marketing can be done online and offline. The tactics you take will depend upon your target audience as well as the industry you are in. How much you spend on marketing will depend on what you have within your budget, how many you have within your initial customer base, and what kind of competition you are up against.
The Real Estate Institute of Canada is unique in that they are going to be found automatically by a number of people because of being one of the few within their industry. They are strategically positioned, which is a great place to be. Through the use of their website, they utilize inbound marketing to bring people to them instead of having to actively seek leads in the marketplace.
Deliver Great Customer Service
The final step along your entrepreneur journey is to deliver great customer service, and this should never stop. You want to make sure that customers have a reason to return, and to recommend their friends and family. The only way to achieve this is through great customer service. There have been plenty of customer service fails over the years, and because of social media reach, many of those fails end up going viral. This can destroy the reputation of the company, and especially as you are just getting going, you don’t want to experience that press.
Knowing who your target audience is and what they expect out of the businesses they work with is absolutely critical. Millennials want more personalized customer service while generation X-ers simply want good customer service.
It will also require the right infrastructure. Don’t go cheap when it comes to your technology stack. Investing in the proper cloud tools, software, and support tech for your team will mean they’ll be equipped to meet any demands.
In the end, your entrepreneurial journey can be extremely exciting and successful. However, there are certain steps that you will want to follow to ensure that you have thought of everything and plan ahead. It is when you have a great plan in your hand that you can overcome various obstacles in the road with ease. As exciting as it may be to start your own business, you want to do so along a time schedule. Rushing in any stage can make it difficult to succeed because you may have missed something important in one area or another. Follow the steps, and you are more likely to reach the success that you desire.