Michelle is part of the Marketing & Communications Team at OCEAN Programs.
You’ve thought about it, talked with friends and family about it, and now you’re ready to start your own business. We’re so excited for you and your new entrepreneurial journey! You are joining the ranks of 4.4 million other people who started businesses in 2020. There really is no better time than the present to get moving towards your dream.
Now that you’ve taken your first brave step to be your own boss, there are a few things to think about in the early stages. Check out this shortlist of starter questions (good chance you have a ton more than these already, we’re sure!) to ask yourself before taking the plunge:
1. Why do I want to launch a business?
First things first…what was the idea behind deciding to take that first step to start a business? What is your ‘why’ for actually making this happen? Most importantly, is your business (product or service) solving a problem? And while we’re here, we’ll give you one piece of advice right off the jump — make sure this new venture is something you are passionate about doing and solving for your customers. Really. Your passion (your why) will be the motivation needed to keep you going.
2. What are my goals?
Starting a business can be great in theory, but what are the long-term goals for your business? Do you have a 5-year plan? 10-year? Take some time to map out long-term goals for your business — this roadmap of sorts will help you see where you could be in the future and how your business will become your sole income provider.
3. Am I prepared to invest ‘myself’ in the business?
What we mean is — running a business is not for the faint of heart. You will quickly feel the effects of the dedication needed to be successful through the personal equity you put into it (aka your time, energy, and money). Entrepreneurship can take its toll on a person pretty quickly if you’re not in a good place financially, physically, mentally, and (we would argue) spiritually in order to transition to the small business owner’s lifestyle.
4. Do I know my target audience?
This is an important one. In order to have a profitable business, you need customers to buy your product or service. But you can’t try to sell to everyone. You will want to think through the specific group of people your business is geared towards. This step will help you decide where and how to market your business in order to focus on your advertising efforts towards the consumers who will actually use and buy what you’re offering.
5. What do I know about my competitors?
Just as important as knowing your target audience is knowing about other businesses in the market that are similar to yours. There’s a pretty good chance that whatever product or service you’re offering will be in existence already in some way, shape, or form. Make sure you take the time to conduct a competitive market analysis to see who is out there and how they are marketing to their customers. This insight will give you an advantage by knowing the best way to craft your messaging in order to share what makes your business the “top of mind” option in comparison.
6. Am I ready to do this on my own?
Don’t get us wrong — we’re not assuming you will be 100% on your own when you launch your business (although some of you will be, and that’s great!). What we mean is that entrepreneurship is a lonely road, and you’ll need to decide early on if you are ready to tackle the start-up world solo or with a team of people you can bring on to help with the day-to-day running of the business.
In the beginning, it’s important to surround yourself with a supportive group of family and friends, as well as other like-minded entrepreneurs (hello, OCEAN community!) to get you through those tough times every new small business owner will experience. Mentors, life coaches, and subject matter experts are also great resources to reach out to if you need professional advice along the way.
While this list has only scratched the surface as to the many other thoughts we know are going through your brain right now, we encourage you to connect with a seasoned entrepreneur or someone who can help answer your questions while you prepare for this exciting new journey. Maybe Genesis Entrepreneurship Training (GET) is a good fit for you to take your business skills to the next level. Take a few minutes to look it over and see what we have to offer early-stage entrepreneurs.
You are embarking on a great adventure filled with a rollercoaster of emotions. Lean into this time as a learning opportunity to set yourself up for success while you navigate through the process. “People become successful the minute they decide to.” ― Harvey Mac.
We’ll be here to cheer you on.