In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.
— Peter F. Drucker
There are many questions entrepreneurs should consider before creating an entity. Though Passover is still a short ways off, let’s focus on four of those questions — no Seer plate required.
- How do I know if my business will be distinguishable from competitors?
You need to figure out what you offer that’s different, other than price. This could be your knowledge, confidence, years of experience, or a tangible thing like showroom space. Though I’ve maintained that certain types of people are not special snowflakes, all businesses have the potential to be. Use your unique perspective to market yourself and avoid lowballing the competition. If your only competitive advantage is that your prices are low, you’re in for trouble. This harkens back to the discussion of Target vs. Walmart and their bids for consumers. Target doesn’t want to compete on Walmart’s terms, especially in the way of pricing, because it’ll lose. So it positions itself as “cheap chic” to effectively compete with the big dog.
- How much capital do I need to launch?
This can depend on whether your business offers a good or service. Even then, you can start in the smallest and most mobile of settings — from a craft brewer in a garage to an accountant using little more than a laptop, printer, phone, pen and pad. If you are a bootstrapper operating a business during the off-hours of a full-time job, you might set aside a small amount from each paycheck to invest in your business. If you want to bet it all on yourself, hopefully you can secure enough money (via a loan or savings) to get you through the first six months to a year.
- How much of my budget should focus on marketing?
You can invest a fair amount of money in a marketing budget. This can, of course, include an advertising, online and/or social media presence. Money’s not the only thing you can invest. The often overlooked commodity here is time.
Success can be created by getting out in the field and networking. Budget time for industry events, alumni reunions, and friends’ mixers. Yes, you can use online professional networks, but nothing — and I mean nothing — will ever beat an in-person meeting. Even the smallest gesture, like sitting with someone you barely know, picking their brain and paying for their latte, could present new leads and opportunities. Unless you are in the business of marketing, it may be good to hire someone to handle your marketing efforts while you are establishing a physical presence in your market.
- How important is a mentor?
Mentors are everywhere. I’ve had mine in the form of college professors and other professionals in the accounting and legal fields. With the ability to communicate so ingrained in our culture, there’s almost no excuse not to reach out to someone. There are so many professional networking sites out there; you are bound to find someone who can guide you.
There are more questions that entrepreneurs need to ask themselves before forming a company. Contact Brinen & Associates to discuss whether your business is ready to be realized.