I Have a Business Idea, Now What?

When I started doing regular meetings with my long time friend and fellow entrepreneur, Heather, I realized how often people come to me when they realize they want to start a business. I usually get questions like, “I have this idea but can you tell me what paper work I need to get this going?” or “What kind of business should I open up?” or “Can I pick your brain about this business idea I have?” or “Do you think this is a good idea?”

Well, let me tell you that if you have a business idea then I think it’s wonderful! Entrepreneurship and small business is my life. I love being a business owner. Through good days and really crappy days in the end I know being an entrepreneur is what really makes me happy – it makes me tick. So, you’re thinking of starting a business of you own? Great! Here’s my advice of what you need to do first before taking the plunge.

  1. Get prepared
    1. Do. Your. Research. I can’t stress this enough. A lot of businesses fail before they even begin because of lack of research. A couple questions for you:
      1. What do you need to start up?
      2. What kind of permits are needed from the county and/or state?
      3. What kind of monetary investment is needed for start up costs?
    2. Scope out your competition. And not in a creepy stalker way! Reach out to them as a colleague in a professional manner. Worst case scenario is they don’t respond back to you. But best case scenario you have a new friend that you can talk shop with!
    3. How can you differentiate the market? Basically, unless you’re an inventor you’re business idea is just reinventing something that has already been done. So how is your product or service going to be different from what is already out there?
    4. What can you bring to the table? This is the culminating question based on questions 2 and 3. Most of the time you and your personal brand is what is going to set you apart from the competition. Is there anything else? Maybe you have an innovative way to present your product. Or maybe you are going to utilize technology in a way that hasn’t been done in your industry. Or maybe, the exact opposite, you plan on going back to basics and minimizing the use of technology. Who knows? You should know 😉
  2. Figure out your costs. I know a lot of people don’t like to discuss money, it’s a touchy subject for some. But let’s be realistic here. You want to start a business for 2 main reasons: to do what you love and to make money, right? Now I’m not talking about start up costs anymore. I’m talking about operation costs.
    1. How much will it take to keep your business running after you’ve started? Create a budget of your monthly expenses for your business. That way, you know exactly how much you need every month to break even. Do you need to rent office or warehouse? Do you need internet? Do you need a website? Do you need a company phone line? How much will you pay yourself? Those are your monthly expenses.
  3. Create pricing for your product or service. Now that you know how much your business is going to cost you it’s time to think about making some money. A lot of people think you can just take the cost of your product or service and multiply it by 3. But that’s not true for everyone. In fact, it’s not true for most. Pricing your goods or services correctly is extremely important. Some things to think about when :
    1. What is your competition’s pricing? It’s very important that you don’t undercut your competition. Not only will you be sabotaging your colleagues but you’ll be cheating yourself on potential profits. Just because you’re just starting out doesn’t mean you have to charge 50% less than the competition. You have value, your insight is valuable. You are knowledgable and have something to contribute in your field.
    2. What can the market bear? There are numerous factors that can play into this. Yes, your competition..but also your geographical area. Where are you located? Who will you be servicing? What kind of added value are you including into your product?
  4.  Go for it! Lastly, don’t be afraid! Take the leap and invest in yourself. Whenever people tell me they’re thinking about starting a business I get extremely excited for them. Why? Because it takes courage, and most people won’t have the courage to go for what they want. I’ve noticed that a lot of people that people don’t know what they’re passionate about. But if you’re thinking about starting a business that means you must be passionate about something and that’s exciting! I ain’t gonna lie people – owning a business is extremely hard. You’ll learn things that you never learned before, put in more work hours than ever before, and you’ll wear so many hats you never thought you’d have to! But for a lot of people they wouldn’t have it any other way. Why? Because despite all the hardships, entrepreneurship will always have the biggest potential for more. And more I mean not just more earnings, but more life experience, time, and more getting to know what you’re really made of. So go out there and do it! I’m rooting for you!

In your corner,


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