So, you’ve found a business recipe that you think you’re going to go for. Brilliant – congratulations. This is where all the fun and hard work really start to happen. Here are some of the steps you’ll need to take to make your next venture into a reality.
Before you rush off and start thinking about names and buying domain names, let’s slow down a little and do some research. Firstly, let’s do some checking into if that business is going to work in your area.
You need to google, and ask around to find out if anyone else is doing that in your area. Don’t just rely on google, because there are still some businesses, particularly smaller ones which don’t have a website and just run on recommendations and referrals. Ask your friends, colleagues, and other business people if they know anyone who’s doing this. You don’t even have to tell people that you’re thinking of doing it, you just have to ask them.
If there is competition, that’s not necessarily the end of the world. Maybe you can do a slightly different version. I took the idea for the business recipe knickers by post from a US company that already does this. But if you’re in the US, you could still do knickers by post, but for a different target audience, maybe for men, or for larger sized women or for a completely different audience. Or you could do it better, faster than the person who does it in your area. If there’s already someone doing graffiti removal in your area, maybe you could beat them by having a much better website, a guaranteed call out time for certain types of graffiti or offering regular inspections of their property as part of your service. That gives them a better service and makes your graffiti removal business into a recurring income business.
Then, have a think about the size of your market. Are there enough people who are going to buy this, and can you get to those people? Do some research into your market and try to get a really good idea of both the number of people in that group, and at the same time, think about exactly who those people are, where they hang out, what else they are into, and any other insights into their lives. If you’re in the UK, I really recommend a trip to the business library at the British Library in London, where for no charge at all, you can look at a huge array of market research documents which would normally cost you a £1000 per publication.
Check your pricing
Think very carefully about your pricing and remember that most people undercharge (by a lot) when they’re first starting out. This might be something you want to book one of my decision making sessions to discuss, as it’s crucial to be able to crack this.
Pricing is particularly difficult if you’re setting up something completely new and unique, as you can’t just charge something you’ve copied from your competitors if there aren’t any competitors. Think about the price of other things that your target market might buy, so if you’re selling to time poor, but super busy people to be a “second wife” work out what your customers might spend on a pair of shoes (in fact go to a high end shoe shop to find out what those shoes cost, as they’ll probably be a bit more than the shoes you or I might buy) or on a night out. If you’re selling to affluent people, use that time at the British Library (or online for your country) to find out what wage rates and house prices are for that group of people.
And if you’re selling to businesses, remember that you’re probably selling to businesses which are bigger than yours, so they will probably be happy to spend more money than you would for your email marketing or receipt organising.
And remember to calculate what your services would be worth to your target customer, and to take that into account when you’re setting your pricing. If you can take the nightmare of Mailchimp marketing off the hands of an mid range e-commerce business, how much more money can you make them? If you can free up the sales person by sorting out all their receipts for them, and that gives her an extra 2 hours a month to get on the phones, how much more money would you make for that company?
You need to plan out your initial marketing, and work out what you’re going to do step by step. Do think about it carefully, but don’t get too carried away here. There are two dangers I want to keep you away from.
Danger one – People often spend too much time planning their marketing and getting too fancy or too perfectionist. Don’t be that person. The important thing is to get out there and to start selling, because that will tell you a lot about what your customers really want and value. Maybe you think that you need a beautiful website to feel credible as a connector (someone who creates sales for other companies by doing networking and presales warm ups for them) but to be honest you can probably get going just by updating your LinkedIn profile. And you’ll build a better website once you’ve spoken to some initial target clients.
Danger two – Analysis Paralysis. Many people have got stuck in the pre-start stage by over thinking their marketing or preparation. And then they’ve chickened out of actually starting the business and getting going with the selling, and used the need to research and prepare as an excuse to not get the business off the ground. I’ve seen people spend over a year doing this, which means they’ve missed a year of potential income and building the brand. Don’t let the need to plan get in the way of the need for action.