This post is sponsored by Comcast Small Business, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.
It seems like everyone is talking about entrepreneurship these days. If you turn on your social media channels, there are numerous inspirational graphics encouraging people to dream big and hustle hard as they build a future that doesn’t involve a traditional 9-5 job.
Well, here’s a secret…
Entrepreneurship is tough, and most people don’t have overnight success. Don’t believe me? Learn the story of some of your favorite business owners and you will find out that their journey to success was not easy. It took a lot of hard work, perseverance, sweat, tears, patience, and of course a few failures to reach their goals.
While you can’t predict the future, you can prepare for the best outcomes. While businesses evolve over time, it helps to have a strong foundation in which to begin. So if you are in the initial stages of conceptualizing an idea stirring in your heart, in this post I share 4 questions you should be able to answer before launching a new business.
1) What makes your products and/or services special?
In other words, do you know what differentiates your products and services from the competition? Entrepreneurs solve problems. What solution does your products and/or services provide? For example, if you are a fitness trainer who can answer this first question, you could say the following (the text in pink is what you can fill in for yourself):
I am a fitness trainer who offers personal training sessions, boot camps, and fitness workshops for working adult women (30 – 50 years old) who want to lose weight and keep it off, but hate a traditional gym membership (sometimes referred to as a meat market). What makes me unique is that I offer these services in my beautiful fitness studio where women feel empowered due to the physical and encouraging comforts of the space (colorful, motivational phrases throughout the studio, spaciousness, fresh flowers, healthy food bar). They also feel a strong sense of community from the other members, trainers, and special partners who provide exceptional resources and services throughout their membership.
In the example above, the fitness trainer is very clear on what she offers, who she reaches, why she reaches them, and how.
2) What is your operational budget?
Every business is different and requires various tools. Before opening a business, you should have an idea of what it will cost to maintain and run your business. The first step would be to make an estimated budget of projected expenses. This may include fees for your team; costs to manufacture products; costs to promote and advertise; mandatory insurance, certification & legal setup fees; and building costs (rent, electricity, Wi-Fi).
When you become an entrepreneur, you will have enough to worry about with your new startup. As you plan your operational budget, make sure to integrate a reliable technology partner who understands your business needs. Comcast Business is an ideal partner because it is always thinking about the future with innovative solutions that will help you keep your focus on actually running your business.
In addition to offering various technology products and services your new business needs now and as it grows, Comcast Business also has a special online community page where you can find great articles that provide insight on the latest trends in the small business world. New articles are added on a regular basis. Check out this important community here.
Once you have an idea of your operational budget, you will then know how much you absolutely need to even attempt to begin. Some people tap into money avenues such as savings, investors, and/or crowdfunding (which is when people raise money from a large group of people—usually through online websites like GoFundMe).
3) Who exactly is on your dream team?
To execute your business idea, you need to identify the group of experts who can help you bring your dream to life. While you may not be able to hire everyone right away, ideal members may be an accountant, lawyer, brand strategist, life coach, and any specific (to your) industry professionals. For the fitness trainer example, her space may require a business manager and a crew to help clean and maintain the property, as the space is such a huge part of why women have joined this fitness studio.
Before you open your business, make a list of who should help you and prioritize when you will begin to work with them. Even if you don’t hire them at the beginning, you can research your best options for the future and add them to your estimated operational budget.
4) What do customers say about your products and/or services?
You may be thinking, ‘I’m confused. I haven’t officially launched my business yet…’ While that may be true, it’s not too early to develop your products and/or services for people to experience. Testing out your products and/or services with potential customers provides an amazing opportunity to gain feedback on what people like/dislike and what will make them continue to support your brand.
Although this is number 4, this step will be crucial in answering the first 3 questions. The more insights you gain from people who try your products and/or services at the beginning, the more info you have to shape your business idea.
Not only do you learn what potential customers say, you learn to identify personal strengths and weaknesses about yourself as you create this new business.
Now that I have outlined these 4 crucial questions, I challenge you to ask and answer them before you make the official leap into entrepreneurship.
Are you considering launching a small business? Have you answered the questions above? Leave a comment below or tweet @BoriquaChicks!
Disclosure: Comcast Business partnered with bloggers such as me for this program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. Comcast Business believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Comcast Business’ policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
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