Written by: Abdo Riani
Before You Quit, Here Is What You Need To Do
Although starting a business can take a lot of preparation, the initial planning phase is just a small part of the business success equation. If you plan on starting a business this year, follow these four steps to boost your business performance while minimizing risk.
1. Keep a Stream of Income
The best way to start a business is to stay in one. Not necessarily to gain experience or exposure but mainly to minimize the downsize during arguably one of the most uncertain periods of a business: the idea stage. When you keep a stream of income, you gain more time to validate your idea. You are able to make iterations to your concept and generate revenue. You can later use the income reinvestment into the business and cover living expenses.
When Bryan Johnson, founder of Braintree Payments, decided to start his business, he made sure that potential customers would pay for his product before creating it.
When he pitched ten people his idea, six agreed to work with him. This was equivalent to $6,200 in monthly revenue. Customers’ agreement validated his idea and provided him with enough monthly revenue to support himself and his family.
2. Get a Mentor Involved
According to MicroMentor, mentored entrepreneurs are 42% more likely to execute on their ideas. Furthermore, mentoring boosts survival rates of the business by 83%.
The easiest way to predict your future is by following those who are ahead in the curve. Seeking the advice and guidance of mentors removes a lot of the guesswork out of the decision making and will help you focus on the things that matter.
Prepare a list of your target mentors and start by building a relationship rather than pitching your project. Successful long-term mentor/mentee agreements are built on strong relations.
3. Forget Perfection
If you are waiting for your product or service to be perfect, chances are you are wasting resources. The truth is, many of your assumptions about what may constitute a perfect product will turn out wrong the moment you introduce it. Most of the time, the customer has a different opinion or expectation.
Instead, follow the build-measure-learn loop that entails maximizing understanding of customer needs by building smaller components of the product progressively. This serves to get the customer involved in helping you create the optimal solution over time.
For instance, if you plan on starting a new pizza place in town, before committing resources in equipment, location, and inventory, you can rent a used oven, make the pizza at home, and deliver to customers’ location. By following this approach, you will start building a brand and traction, generating revenue, seeking feedback and making any necessary adjustments to your business plan before investing in expansion.
Related: Do You Heed this Marketing Advice?
4. Invest in Free Marketing
According to ODM Group, 74% of consumers rely on social media to make buying decisions. Social media is one of the free marketing channels that you can leverage to your advantage without necessarily having to invest in paid promotions.
To create traction, invest time to write and share quality content with your audience, build win-win partnerships with key influencers, launch giveaways and most importantly, go and meet your potential buyers in person.
At the beginning of any business venture, the best way to acquire the first clients is face to face. With all the conveniences that the internet has brought to our lives, at the end of the day, we are human beings and want people to listen and answer to our specific needs.
If you are planning on selling social media management services, make some calls and schedule meetings with your potential buyers. Tell them how you will help them achieve their goals not by providing a one size fit all kind of plan but by curating one to meet their specific needs. If you plan on selling accounting, tutoring, programming, consulting or any type of services, follow the same approach.
Above all, be patient. Overnight success in business is the combination of patience, perseverance, commitment, belief and hard work. If you’re passionate for what you are about to start, everything else will follow naturally.
For more tips and strategies on starting a business while working and/or under a limited budget, join me here.
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