A new business? Where to start?

Instead of throwing spaghetti at the walls and hoping something will stick, conserve your energy, finances and resources by being efficient. Let’s start a discussion on where to start. This will be a series on starting, maintaining and growing your business.

Getting your beginning right will sharpen your aim

Most people start businesses because they don’t want to work 9-5 jobs, want to be independent, get rich, or control their lifestyle and schedule. In recent years, one of the aftermaths of COVID is people getting laid off, therefore job creation has become an important pursuit as well.

Although these are worthy reasons, what a lot of people quickly come to learn is that they are working round the clock, are making losses, have to spend a lot of time learning about the field, need other people, don’t understand the market and have no idea about the laws or taxes. They are not really in control of their lives, neither are they becoming rich overnight nor independent. Therefore, having the right understanding from the beginning is paramount.

The Business

The first thing is to identify what it is you want to do. A great small business always starts out as an idea but you have to transform that idea into action. That’s where many individuals can start to feel overwhelmed. So, let’s break this down even further and begin at the inception stage.  Under this topic, you have to figure out the following;

Is it a physical product or service or a range or a mix? In business, a product is an object or service made available for a consumer (Client/customer) use at their demand. Customers buy a tangible item or use an intangible service to meet a need.

What’s the market like? Who are the group of consumers organizations interested in the product, have the resources to purchase the product, and is permitted by law and other regulations to purchase it?

How can you position yourself to be a leader in the market? A market leader is a company with the largest market share in the industry or largest percentage of total sales in a given market. To become one, you have to be a niche product and have brand loyalty. To achieve this, choose the game you want to play and know how you may win it.

What are your competitors doing? In understanding the market, you also need to know who is already giving the product and how consumers are responding to the product. This can help you make your product stand out.

Where can you find some small business stories regarding what you would like to pursue? Listening to other people’s success stories and even stories of how they failed in the same or similar industry can serve as a guide.

Can you get a mentor? Having someone who has already chattered the course can provide valuable information on how to accomplish your aim. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.      

What can you learn about this product or service to improve your advantages? What can you do to improve on what is already available on the market or how can you make the product better?

What skills do you have to possess to become successful at this business? There are some key skills necessary for running a business. Some of these are financial management, problem solving, sales, negotiations, leadership, project management, time management and networking.

Who is your target market? These are a group of people with shared needs, desires or interests that a company has identified.

Once you have answered these questions for yourself, let’s move to the second step together in the next article on starting a new business. The podcast with a panel explaining this first stage would be released soon.

Let me know if you were successful at answering these questions or need further help by commenting below.

Alexina Eghan-Karimanzira

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