Let’s start by refuting a very common misconception: no one starts a business knowing exactly what to do. Becoming a refined businessperson takes years of research, skill and practice. When starting a business, the entrepreneur is usually in one of these false mindsets. Either their superior product or service is all they need for success, that they already have the business skills they need, that they have both a superior product and all the business skills they need, or they believe the research required is so overwhelming that there’s no use trying to start.
These mindsets are centered on doubts which stop you on your tracks towards success. Doubts that either your product, or skills are not good enough and will never be good enough.
Before you start a business, you need to do your research. Research comes after organizing yourself and your time, it is the first investment you make into your company. Treat it wisely, and you will see a return on investment soon enough.
The entrepreneur needs to research at least three crucial business skills: marketing, networking, and competitors. Each of these branch out into much more complicated fields, and require years of practice and study to master. If at any point you think you know all you need to know, then you have barely scratched the surface.
No one will buy your products or services if they don’t know it exists. You need to make sure that everyone who might be interested in what you have to offer can find you. This means knowing where your market is, what tools and apps you need to get to them, and how to capture and retain their attention.
Every business needs some form of social media marketing. No matter what field you’re in, you have potential clients on Facebook, on Instragram, Twitter, LinkedIn, you name it. Hootsuite and Hubspot have fabulous free sources to teach you the basics. If you find it a lot of work, outsourcing works as well.
For Versatel, we have a fabulous assistant who writes social media posts and weekly blogs for various businesses. It’s a modest fee for a huge reward.
Networking is technically a form of marketing but in the most personal sense. You represent your business at all times and when you conduct yourself in a way that makes you friendly and on time, then partners, clients, and referrals come much more easily.
We recommend using the resources you already have, your friends. Chances are you know someone who knows someone in your field, and whether you can get a potential customer, information interview, or even a supportive friend, it is always worth the effort to go out and meet new people. Ask your friends around and see if they know someone, you might be surprised learning about the network you already have.
While it is fun to imagine your competition like some enemy in a video game, you actually want to be friendly with them. You want to look at successful competitors as a model for how your business should be run. Analyze the industry and ask yourself what you can do differently while also learning and understanding industry standards.
Research is a constant uphill battle. We recommend learning the basics as you start, and then putting it into practice. You can’t start researching and then avoid starting your business until you feel you are ready because you will never be ready. Research the basics and get to a point where it is a daily habit. Then, once you have proven your dedication through this habit, you are ready to start your own business!