You know who you are: that out of the box thinker who constantly has a million ideas going around in your head and ready to jump on each one. “If only there were enough hours in the day” is your mantra. Though I can relate to the too many ideas epidemic of the entrepreneur, I am going to ask you to put the brakes on. My first word of advice, take one project at a time. Pick the one that speaks to you loudest. Then, and this is the important part for the quick start entrepreneurs out there, do your research! In other words, before moving ahead with functions of the business you need to research the viability of the business. Is there a need for the service? Is there an established market for the service?
A quick way to get an idea of the consumer demand for your business is to google the service or related terms. If numerous links are displayed from the search, it means there is definitely a market. However, you will have to distinguish your services from competitors. If there are very few or no listings, there is probably not an established market. This could make you a pioneer in that particular area, but could also mean you have to spend a lot of time building your market. Another good way to get a feeling for what the consumer needs is to survey people about the area in which you want to create a business. It’s a quick way to identify market trends and come up with product/service ideas. You can do a casual survey by interacting with people in your community or set up an e-mail survey that can be sent to your contacts. There are several companies online that offer this type of service.
It is also important to do a cost analysis. You can start by researching the advantages and costs of different venues: retail store, online sales, or sales by appointment. From this information you can start to formulate a budget. You can determine venue costs, inventory costs, employee expenses and marketing costs. From these numbers you can identify what kind of loans or investor funding you may need to start the business. This step will also enable you to see if the business’ future profits will be lucrative enough to cover the start up costs.
If all of this seems very overwhelming, don’t give up! There are many resources on a local and national level that can help you start up a new business. Many communities have SCORE. SCORE is a free online and face-to-face business counseling, mentoring, and training service.
And for those of you who know themselves very well and admit that details are not their forte, partner up. Find a business partner or someone you can barter services that can help you with the pesky details that leave you burnt out or frustrated. When it comes to starting a business it is crucial to take the time to create a clear business, marketing, and customer service plan. Whether you do it alone or with a partner, taking time to plan at the beginning will save lots of frustration in the future.
Laura Tirello is a Career and Life Coach. Her company, Core Life Design, works with people who are looking to find their highest potential both in their careers and personal lives. Are you looking for ways to turn your ideas into goals for 2010? I am offering a free teleclass on “The Idea Web: Choosing the Right Ideas for Your Success”.