Entrepreneurship is a skill you can’t learn in a business school. This doesn’t mean it is innate. Instead, it means that action is required to learn it. A survey conducted reflected that 51% of people believed that launching a start-up is the best way of learning how to be an entrepreneur.
However, at the same time, you must also remember that 50% of all start-ups fail. We don’t mean to alarm you. This just means that before starting your journey, you must plan and prepare yourself for the obstacles that lie ahead.
To excel in your entrepreneurial venture, here is everything you will ever need.
Startup ideas don’t come easily. Just because a given industry is profitable to tap into doesn’t mean you are ready to take the leap. This is why it is essential to begin by evaluating yourself. You might have heard of the infamous SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis involves analyzing a company’s strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Well, you can apply this model to a one-man show as well. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to decide what skills and passions you possess. What are the things that might stop you from achieving your dreams? Are they external or internal? Do you think you can beat them?
Moreover, you must also ask yourself why you want to begin a startup in the first place. What is your motivation behind it? Are you merely doing it to earn more money or are you truly invested in a given idea? This will govern whether you should give it your all or begin your journey as a side business.
After understanding your reason for starting and analyzing your expertise and weaknesses, you will be better able to decide which type of business you should start.
Just because some product or service is trending today doesn’t mean it will always do so. When coming up with your business idea, you shouldn’t base your decision on fashion and fad. Instead, analyze your passion and come up with an idea accordingly. And once you do, stick to it. Commitment to your idea is crucial for your startup. Even if things seem rough today shouldn’t mean you should abandon your product or service and start formulating a new one. Stick by your plan and wait for it to become a success. At the start of your entrepreneurial venture, it is good to have a narrow focus. Don’t overdo it with too many products or ideas. Focus on one thing. Try to perfect it. Diversification and broad focus should be pursued after success.
Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning
A business idea is just the start. You must then decide which customer segment you wish to target. This is why you would need an STP strategy. First, segment your customers into categories. You can do so by socioeconomic class, demographic or psychographic factors. Then, you must decide which segment you wish to target with your product. Why is this important? Well, targeting to a given segment means that you personalize your product and communication to suit the need of your targeted customers. This is much preferred than mass marketing.
Now, the chances are other similar organizations are delivering similar product in the market. This is why you must position your product distinctively. Whether it be via a unique solution or a promise, achieving distinctive relevance is essential.
Let’s say you developed a revolutionary idea. You decided which customer segment to target. Everything is ready. However, you didn’t realize that the industry you are entering is dying. For instance, in a world of cloud management and online data storage, if you sell papers to businesses, how far can you expect to go, regardless of how good your product is?
Therefore, industry knowledge is essential to have before you enter any industry. Look at its growth prospects. See what position it has currently. Are competitors leaving it? If so, why? If they aren’t and the industry is still declining, is it because the cost of exit is high due to the high investment needed? Do you really want to enter such an industry? These are just a few things you must ponder over.
Slowly, you will start hiring people in your startup. Even though they will be less in quantity, the fact remains that you will recruit employees sooner or later. Now, the chances are you wouldn’t have enough budget for heavy advertising. This is why your sales team must be excellent at their jobs. After all, how else would you push your product in the market?
To motivate your sales team to perform and to ensure they know what is expected of them, you must set benchmarks and goals. Establishing pipeline sales is integral to guaranteeing clarity of responsibilities. Make sure you relay it to your sales team.
The size of your company doesn’t matter. To your customers, you must portray yourself as a well organized and professional company. This is reflected in your communication as well as your product. Something as simple as adding a professional email signature can make or break your brand image. This, in turn, will allow you to form a strong relationship with your customers. Immediate sales are not the only thing that matter for your survival. Long-term relationships help in building brand loyalty that can take you a long way.
Leading a startup can be very stressful. The more consumed you get in your work, the more you are likely to make mistakes eventually. Why? Because stress can lead to poor decisions. This is why if you wish to begin a startup, you must first decide on a self-care routine. Think of getaways and mental exercises to do when things get too stressful. You must find outlets to release your pent-up energy. Your startup will ever be as strong as you.
Make sure you incorporate these essential factors when starting your venture. Fingers crossed you will be among the 50% of startups that succeed.
About the Author:
Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.