This Is What It Takes to Get Your Start-Up Off the Ground
Starting your own business – it’s a goal many have. In fact, more than half of Americans (66 percent to be exact) have dreams of being an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, many hold back due to financial security and commitment, as well as the fear of failure. All are valid reasons, but none of them reason enough to forego your entrepreneurial goals and settle into the traditional 9-to-5 career. If you are a young mind with big dreams, goals, and a work ethic to boot, these tips should help get your start-up off the ground.
Start With Your Passion
Do what you love. It seems like such a cliché statement, but according to Inc.com, “If you want to start doing what you love, pursuing your passion should be at the heart of that decision.” Why? Entrepreneurs who do so tend to be happier and more successful. To pinpoint your passion and find a feasible business venture, list your strengths. Perhaps you’ve never held a leadership role, but your communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills are all key ingredients of a leader. Once you’ve made a list, determine how each strength or skill can work to your benefit. Focusing on a vision helps too. There is no cookie cutter mold for becoming an entrepreneur, so the mold is yours to create and change.
Know Your Target
Researching your target market might not seem like such a big deal, but according to research cited by Quick Sprout, 42 percent of startups fail because there wasn’t any market need. Determining your target market first means that if you discover the market isn’t there, you can start again without your time and money taking a hit. To identify your market, start broad and general with gender, age, and location before getting detailed. Validate your assumptions by conducting research via focus groups, interviews, and surveys to test the waters. Don’t forget to do your homework on the competition as well. You can get an idea of what you are up against, as well as take notes on their target market and methods of success.
Start Saving Now
Financial security and commitment were two of the reasons many people shied away from starting their own business. Set yourself up for success and start saving now. Get serious about paying down your debt to build/improve your credit, avoid discretionary spending, and consider automating your savings. Find ways to fund your business. Many of the tips you see will suggest three routes: angel investors, crowdfunding, and venture capitalists (VC). Finding an angel investor is rare, crowdfunding isn’t effective for B2C services, and VC funding requires a long process that ends in most being rejected. Entrepreneur suggests alternative funding such as microloans, peer-to-peer lending, and CVC funding.
Build an Online Presence
Even if your entrepreneurial dream includes a brick-and-mortar store, an online business is the best place to start and touts several benefits. For one, starting an online business requires very little startup cost. Your website, blog, and/or social media become your storefront, and you can tweak and alter these at ease, oftentimes for free. An online business can be automated as well, enabling you to outsource or simplify tasks you aren’t familiar with or don’t enjoy doing.
For example, you can utilize e-commerce tools such as dropshipping in which a supplier handles your inventory and shipping, meaning you don’t have to deal with merchandise directly. Dropshipping is one of many e-commerce tools available, putting you in a situation where you can focus your attention elsewhere. One such focus should be your website. As it was pointed out before, as a young entrepreneur just getting your feet wet and with limited income, an online presence is crucial to get your business noticed and off the ground. Build an eye-catching website that is easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. Stay active and engage customers on social media. And encourage customers to leave reviews.
Starting your own business can be scary. However, if it scares you, it might be worth doing. Start mapping out your dream, set goals, and take that step forward!
This guest post was authored by Jasmine Dyoco