I suspect that nearly everyone thinks of starting their own business at least once in their lives, and some are serious enough to make the attempt. Statistically, most will fail in the first 12 months, and most of the remaining businesses will fail over the next 12 -24 months. That doesn’t mean “Don’t try”, it means “Be prepared, and make sure you are one of the survivors”.
There are many factors to consider, and some may at first sound strange, but all are necessary for making a successful business. What is needed is some balance, an understanding or the risks involved and the risk reduction strategy for each.
The first place we will explore is why you want to get into business in the first place. It usually is either you believe you are very good at what you do and you figure you can do it better in your own company, you want the lifestyle that business owners have or both.
The balancing thought for the first is that there is a lot more to being a business owner than just being good at what you do. You also must be prepared to actually run the business as a business. That might sound self-evident, but I know of business owners who write notes – including records of paid work done – on little pieces of paper that then go through the wash instead of to their Accounts section. Often the “Accounts Section” is also known as “my souse” or “my life partner” but the principle holds true – your Accounts Dept can only invoice what they know about!
When you are running a successful business you may well have the horses, the yacht, the country lodge for weekends away and an investment portfolio that others can only dream about. Most new businesses start out requiring excessive effort on the part of the owner, many do not return as much as the wages or salary they were paid until they resigned to start their own. Be prepared that as the owner you may well be a poster child for “delayed gratification”. Employees are paid an agreed amount every week, owners take the good and the bad as it comes, at least until the business generates consistent cash flow.
Starting a business, putting your heart and soul into it for maybe a couple of years only to see it sink, taking your life savings with it sounds like an expensive roll of the dice. Well, for the unprepared it can be. There is a solution.
You will maximise your chances of starting a successful business if you do some Market Research first. That doesn’t mean asking your mother and your best friend of they think it is a good idea. Well, you can of course ask them as long as you ask some other people too! And don’t just ask “Do you think this is a good idea?” Instead ask specific, targeted questions that will discover things like: would they buy the product/service, and why (or why not)? What price do they believe it is worth? How often would they buy? What do they think and feel when they hear the description of the idea?
Develop a questionnaire of about 6 – 10 questions and send it to three or four people whose opinions you trust. Take their feedback, improve your questionnaire and send it out to maybe 10 or 15 people, perhaps including those that you first asked. Then take that feedback, improve your questions again, and send it to 50 or more people. Only when you receive generally positive feedback from all of those people do you open for business.
You don’t know 50 people who can tell you if they would buy or not? Then how would you sell your product/service? If you don’t know ‘enough’ people to do a professional market research project then where will you find the buyers from? Business success depends upon being able to reach out and let people know you exist!
If you want to know more about initial market research then contact us and we can assist, even if only by showing you a template questionnaire.Tags: 12 Months, business, Business Owner, Business Owners, Delayed Gratification, Excessive Effort, Horses, Investment Portfolio, Life Partner, Little Pieces, marketing, New Businesses, One Of The Survivors, Own Business, Poster Child, Principle, research, Risk Reduction Strategy, Running A Successful Business, Salary, Souse, starting, Wages, Yacht