Thinking about starting a small business? Read this first.
Understand Your Target Customer
Who is your ideal customer? It doesn’t matter if you’re opening a bookshop, starting a website or thinking about opening an accountancy practice, before you do anything, you need to find out how your product or services will appeal to your target market, and who that target market is.
A great way to do this is to create a customer avatar. This essentially means you create a visual graphic of a person and describe their age, gender, demographic location, occupation, interests and etc, so you can better determine who your ideal customer is, and how you can market your business to them.
Find a Point of Difference
Let’s say you want to open a bookshop. That’s great, but how will your bookshop stand-out from all of the other bookstores out there. For instance, in Australia, you’ll be competing with well-established brands, like Dymocks, QBD Books, Robinsons, Collins Booksellers and etc. Each of these stores has created a distinct brand. For example, QBD focuses heavily on discount books, while Robinsons is all about visual merchandising and creating a traditional aesthetic that appeals to true book lovers.
Maybe you’ll start a kid’s bookshop with a reading corner and story time, or maybe you want to target young adults by focussing on ebooks instead of traditional paperbacks and hardcovers. Whatever you decide, do your research to make sure it’s something your customers would be interested in, and then really make it your own. Otherwise, your customers will walk straight past the brand they don’t recognise and head straight for the one they already know and trust.
Build Up A Professional Network
There’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, when you’re just starting out, you should be doing just that. Lean on your business contacts, friends and family, and seek professional help. For example, enlist the services of a financial advisor, and if you need a website built, contact a web design and digital marketing company to help you.
To refer back to our bookshop example, if you’re opening a bookshop, it’s probably because you know books. You might even have plenty of experience running the day-to-day operations of a bookstore, but ask for help in the areas that you’re not an expert in and take on board any advice from other people in the industry. Learning from other people’s experience and mistakes is one of the best ways to ensure your business gets off to a good start.
Secure a Small Business Loan
One of the key challenges for new small businesses is money. Whether it’s securing a business loan to get things running, or generating a cash flow once your business is up and running.
Most small business owners might have a basic knowledge of finances and bookkeeping, but in the early days, a financial advisor is essential.
For instance, at Complete Financial Services, we’ll guide you through the small business loan application stage, and make sure you get a loan that’s tailored to your needs.
Remember that Starting a Small Business Won’t Find You Success Overnight
One of the most important things to remember when you’re starting a small business is that you won’t find success straight away. Starting a business takes work and persistence, but if you keep at it, who knows where it will take you!
So, don’t give up when you barely break even in your first year, as this is perfectly normal. It will take some time to establish your reputation and build up a loyal customer base, but when you do get there, you have the potential to really achieve something great.
If you’re ready to start a small business and have your business plan in place, contact Complete Financial Services to see how our loan services can assist with making your business goals a reality.