It can be very tempting to think about being your own boss. No one else to be accountable to, getting to do what you like, not having to go to the office every day. In reality, being the owner and CEO of a company is very different.
You will have to be the one setting the tone, the one putting in the most hours at times, the one with the most drive, and the one truly ready to put your back into it. If not you, who else?
If you have made your mind up, and are ready to start your own business, there are several things to keep in mind. Even if you are starting out small, as most companies are, you can grow to as big or medium-sized as you’d like, if you only lay the foundations properly.
Here are a few tips on making it right at the very start, and allowing yourself room to grow:
Research, and then Research Some More
No matter how many times you’ve heard it, it still remains true – the proper research can be the backbone of your company. You need to learn everything you can about the market you are entering, about the audience you are targeting, where you can find them, what they are looking for, and how to make sure they find you. You need to stay on top of industry trends, and make sure you are working in time and in tune with the times.
You need to research your competition a bit too, but not too much. Just know what they are up to, and how you can beat them, but don’t obsess over every little thing they do. You do need to be better than them, but you don’t need to be spending your energy on outdoing them – rather on outdoing yourself.
Before you set up a company, and after this part of the research is done, you need to learn all you can about registering a new company, and the best way to go about it. Take into consideration the taxes you will have to pay, and any and all other legal obligations you will have, and make your choice wisely.
Create a Reliable Network
Networking is a very important part of business. You will need to find customers, employees, and so on. You need to have a wide range of contacts, not just your friend circle and your immediate family. They can also help you out, but you need to be more industry-specific too. If you can find someone you look up to to be a kind of mentor, you will be well on your way to success.
In order to grow your network, you can use social media, or you can do it in the real world, by visiting industry fairs, meetups, conferences, forums, and so on. Make sure to hand out plenty of business cards, you never know who you might come across, and how your paths may cross again in the future.
Bear in mind that you do not need to be selling anything just yet. Just let people know you are out there, that you are forming a company, and that they can expect big things from you. Let the word get spread around a bit. Nobody likes a hard sell, and you will not be doing yourself any favours if you lose leads before you even open your doors on the first day.
Market before Opening Day
Speaking of opening your doors. Utilizing the right marketing techniques can give you a huge head start. You need to start raising awareness on time, even before you ever open shop, so to speak. You can again use social media, or stage a unique event if you do have actual premises you are opening.
Make sure people know you are launching, you don’t even need to tell they what you will be doing – just to get them curious enough to come back on opening day. For example, if you are going to launch a cosmetic surgery clinic, you can promote yourself with a few carefully crafted photos that don’t quite reveal what you will be doing, but are enough to tickle your audience’s imagination.
At this stage, you do not need to strictly target your desired audience – you can simply be working on raising general awareness, and zone in on the people you have already singled out as your buyer personas later on. Take in the feedback you get, see what you might improve, and take it from there.
This is crucial, as you can hugely benefit from the advice you get from your target audience. Any problems more of them have singled out, try to fix as soon as possible, and show them that you are ready to listen and act.
Build it and they will come, Hollywood once said. Indeed, if you offer something worth something, you will be able to find the audience and the consumers for it. It’s all about having the right facts, and knowing what to do with them, and that is certainly something you can perfect over time.