Starting your own business is a great decision. You get to work at your pace and earn at your pace.
However, the initial phase is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You have so much to do that it is natural to feel overwhelmed.
But to be a successful business owner, you need to be calm, composed, and organized.
You just can’t keep doing things that come your way.
You need to plan everything minutely so that your business operations are smooth and effective.
To chalk out your business plan, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
What do I have to offer to the users?
This is the very first question that you need to ask yourself. The product that you are about to sell or the service that you are about to offer must have some utility.
If you are planning to sell/offer something that is already in the market, you already know what utility it has.
But if you are planning to bring something new to the shelf, make sure that you understand very well what benefit it can offer to the users. This will also help you decide your potential customers.
Who do I have to compete with?
This is the next most important question. Deciding who your competitors are will help you create strategies to help beat them.
For example, you are starting an e-commerce store, it is essential to know who else operates in your area and how you can gain an edge over them.
If you are willing to manufacture your products, it would be wise to know who else manufactures same or similar products in your area.
Do I have a prospective market?
Businesses cannot run without market analysis. By analyzing your product market, you will have an idea about the demand of the product in the market.
You will also get to know what changes/improvements are being sought after by users of similar products.
This will help you incorporates the desired changes/improvement in your products so that they sell like hot cakes.
How do I get the funds?
No business can run without funds. If you can fund your business yourself, it’s fantastic. If you cannot, you have to look for ways to fund it.
Funds must be arranged even before you think of starting a business. You can look for loans, crowdfund it, or start saving money.
Once you have the necessary funds at your disposal, you have to make sure that you allocate funds properly for business setup, initiation, and development.
Money crunch can cause a good business to collapse.
What are my resources for starting a business?
Before you start your business, you have to consider the resources at your disposal. Even if you do not have everything you need, do not crib about it.
Try to find ways to gain access to the resource(s) that you do not have. Work hard if you have to.
Try to find shared resources if possible.
You can try renting too if needed. If there is no way to get that particular resource, try finding an alternative.
How do I identify my customer?
So, it is vital that you find out your prospective customers. Suppose you are selling confectionery.
You may think that everyone eats chocolates and sweets; so everyone is your customer. Well, in the broad sense they are.
But children and youth eat chocolates and sweets more. So, you can target parents with kids and the youths first and then move on to other groups.
How do I promote my products and services?
Even if your product or service is better than that of your competitors, you will not be able to grow your business unless you promote them.
You have to find the ideal way to promote your products. Do not go with the flow and use the same of techniques of marketing.
Think of something out-of-the-box that will be appealing to your audience and your business is sure to boom.
Soft launch or hard launch – which is better?
This depends on the type of product/service you want to offer and the time when you are planning to launch your business.
If it’s Christmas time and you are planning to open a confectionery, you have to go for a hard launch.
You have to create all the buzz prior to the opening so that you can start selling quickly during the festival.
There is no time for trial or testing. You have to just hit it at one go.
However, if it is not the festival time and there is no high demand for confectioneries, you can go for a soft launch where you can improve your products or increase your offerings with time.
How long before I make a profit?
Well, profit is, after all, something that everyone wants. And if you are starting a business, it is essential that you have profit goals.
However, the important question here is how long it take to make profits. There is no fixed answer to it.
If your product/service has many competitors, it will take some time to gain customers and make profits.
If you product is novel, you may need a bit of time to get people to know about it.
If, however, you are offering something that is desperately needed, you make start making profits sooner than you expect.
What is the metric of success?
Success is a relative term and varies from person to person.
For some, a successful business should be able to pay off bills and allow comfortable living, while for others, it could be owning a nice car, a big house, and good living.
Others still may be looking to be billionaires.
However, a successfully running business generally means good growth, nice profits, and opportunity for better prospects.
Successful businesses aren’t formed overnight. Take time, think things thoroughly, and create a plan that has success written all over it.