Things to do before starting your own business

Women entrepreneurs are gaining momentum in India .I started my small business this year. I had an option to join my husband in his digital advertising business but I preferred the independence of running my own show. I share my experience here, with you all who want to venture out on their own.

  1. Set your objectives – there can be many reasons as to why you want to start your own business. It can be the flexibility it provides you, or the freedom or it can be simply because you want to make money. I want you to be honest to yourself and understand your primary objective here as this will define how much you are willing to sacrifice or compromise.
  2. Estimate market share bottom up- what you need to evaluate is how much of the market you can capture. The way to estimate this is through a bottom-up model based on how much of marketing-sales-promotions you can put in to attract your customer base. Simply said if I am running a e-commerce website, my top-down model will assume the entire New Delhi/NCR region as its potential market size. This will not take into account of my website appeal, easy accessibility, my service, or customers would like to buy the products I have displayed on my website.
  3. Knowing your customer- first step to a viable business idea is if you believe you would buy the product you have created. Then comes the part of who will be your ‘ideal customers’. If you are building an online website for used books, what kind of a person would buy and sell? What are the demographics, the sex, age, interests etc. of your ideal customer? You will need to understand further engage them by offering them competitive prices, fast delivery service.
  4. Now that you have got your target audience/customer and your business model is ready you can do a test run. If you run a website selling flowers arrangement along with chocolates, you can try selling it to your friends and acquaintances. Get their feedback. Try out the profit margins.
  5. Network- Start building your network. This can be your potential customers, or people who can help you in many other ways. People running similar businesses can be of help. Other networking sites like twitter, facebook and linkedin can be used for discussions, brainstorming’s etc. You need to learn as much about your sector, and field before you jump in completely.
  6. Have a mentor/advisor – find a handful of mentors you can turn to for advice. Mostly successful entrepreneurs from your field or people with contacts in the industry.
  7. Be strategic, plan- planning is very important. Give yourself the first six months to plan. This includes not just creating your product, marketing, hiring, pricing, admin etc. You would also need to focus on the company name, funds. Your priorities will change as you go along.
  8. Anticipate problems- It cannot be always rosy, so you need to anticipate problem areas and build yourself a buffer. Don’t get discouraged, set realistic goals.
     

 

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