Entrepreneurship isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. What works for one company might not always work for some other. There are an untold number of variables at play here, including, but not limited to, a college degree, money in the bank, seed capital, business expertise, domain expertise and access networking with the right people at the right places.
If you are a budding entrepreneur but don’t really know where to start, and the cluelessness is discouraging you from disseminating your idea to the investors, then this article is for you. We will discuss the pitfalls to avoid, tips on building a startup, making sure it doesn’t fall flat on its face and holds its own against the economical ups and downs. Below is the step by step guide for the novice entrepreneur who wants to start a business in St. Cloud, FL:
Ask yourself the important questions
Before you can actually go about starting your own business, you have to ask yourself the right questions and ideally, answer them. One of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur makes is by underestimating the power of ‘self-exploring’ their own personal space. To that end, as yourself questions such as:
- Do you have the domain expertise?
- Is the business perfectly lined up with your vision, passion and goals for the future?
- How much money do you really need?
- How much capital seed does your business need?
- Will the previous amount be enough for real estate, human resources and all the equipment necessary to manufacture the product?
- If you are providing a service, how does it stand out?
- Are you ready to spend your blood, sweat and tears to actually see this through, instead of bailing out at the last moment?
These are the questions that you should answer successfully before pitching to any investors. If you decide to utilize your own coffers, you need a hedge against failure and being in a penniless situation. Remember the biggest rule here; never put all your eggs in one basket – always have a safe way out of a predicament should things not pan out the way out want them to.
The business idea itself
Is your business idea something which will stand out from the crowd? When you want to pitch to a group of investors, they want to know exactly how you stand out from the crowd. If your idea is a typical run-of-the-mill project that has been done a million times before, then you should find a way to tweak the product or service in order to better appeal to the crowd.
- Evaluate the competitors, technologies, future disruptive products and the general desire of the marketplace toward your product. For this, you will be required to conduct interviews with businesses and customers. This is the stage which will help you realize your market segment the best.
- Find a problem with an existing product and offer a way to cure it. For this, you will need to understand all the ins and outs of the product or service. It has been observed that people would rather improve an existing product instead of trying to find a substitute product.
- Use your exiting skills and apply them from a completely different perspective. Instead of repeating what has already been done, try to find something entirely innovative with that same set of skills.
- If your business doesn’t offer something entirely new, then it should ideally offer something which is faster, cheaper and more productive than what is already in the market.
- You will need a lot of networking with likeminded individuals to help brainstorm ideas, offer suggestions and even constructive criticism.
At the stage when you’re ‘pitching’ your business idea to your own friends and family, they will try to talk you out of it – as has usually been observed – but the difference between a successful entrepreneur and a failed one is the ability to filter out all the noise and focus on the positive remarks instead. Here is the general rule of thumb: a discouraged entrepreneur is a failed entrepreneur. Starting a business in St. Cloud, FL, would require you innovate, brainstorm, improve and communicate your idea to your target audience.
The communication element
This is the biggest deterrent to most startups, businesses and entrepreneurs who want to sell their product. They simply aren’t able to get their point across. There is a general barrier of communication. Remember, if you are not able to communicate your product effectively, it would fall on deaf ears – even if those ears are fine-tuned to pick up a truly disruptive idea.
Work on your presentation skills such as voice, and gestures, and master the art of making appropriate ‘eye contact’. As long as you have that element of communication between yourself and the investor and client, you should be able to sell your business without hassle.
The market research is crucial
- How many people already are doing what you’re doing?
- Are there other people with similar ideas?
- Why haven’t they been able to start up their own business?
- Are there examples of businesses with the same idea that failed before?
- If so, why did they fail?
We can learn from the mistakes and failures of others to improve our own strategy. Once again, you will require effective and diverse networking to get in touch with these people and learn from them in order to avoid making the same mistakes they made.
Part of the market research is that you will need to conduct proper surveys and investigations of the market to learn more about who your immediate competitors are, and how you can ‘one-up’ them.
You should ideally try to find the customers who use the product from your competitors and prepare suitable questionnaires for them. These would include:
- What aspects of the product do you consider before purchasing it?
- How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10?
- Are there any areas of improvement?
- Would you be willing to purchase the same product or service from a different company?
The biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not conducting adequate research, limiting their search to search engines and online sources only, and surveying their own little network of people instead of broadening their scope.
The feedback is very important
The best way to understand if your product is going to make a difference is by finding out how it fares with live customers. See how people interact with it, and react to it. Although we know you’ve done your homework a dozen times or so, even the sharpest set of eyes can miss out on the crucial details simply because they haven’t been able to view it from a different perspective. A different person would be able to pinpoint what you haven’t. Believe us when we tell you that a second (or even third) opinion can dramatically improve the sustainability of your product in the long haul.
Try to get as much feedback on your product as possible. Collect all the data and use it to plan your next move.
Always remember to be on the lookout for advice. At an early stage, you will be hammered with non-stop questions, improvements and ‘advice’ about your product. It is important to be able to sift the useful information from the useless details out there. You will have to fine tune yourself to block out all the background ‘noise’ and focus on what is important.
So you got the feedback. Now what?
Starting a business in St. Cloud, FL, means that you will have to face a lot of criticism from a lot of people. Their advice will be both solicited and unsolicited. Sometimes your nerves will just give up and you will throw your hands up in the air in absolute frustration. It is necessary to maintain a calm demeanor at all times. Follow these five steps to handle the feedback.
- You will be excited as you receive the feedback. The sudden ‘rush’ your body experiences as you receive the feedback could result in sporadic movements and rash decisions, which you might just end up making in the heat of the moment. It is important to slow down, relax, take a deep breath and carefully consider what you’ve just heard, from a neutral perspective.
- Handling the feedback means being able to retort politely. This means thanking them for their advice. The two words, ‘thank you’, can be the difference between pretentiousness and actually winning over hearts by inspiring your critics. The important rule to remember is that people will judge you poorly if you appear egotistic, unapproachable and hostile toward changing your idea and perspective.
- If someone doesn’t like your idea, it doesn’t mean the end of the world. For every one hater, you will find at least one inspired person who likes the idea. It is important to remember that even your ‘haters’ are only trying to help you and could turn out to be useful connections in the near future if you explore their suggestions and feedback more openly.
- If you notice that multiple people are iterating the same comments about your product, it means that you should take their advice more seriously. It is one thing to ignore a single negative comment, but if many people are suggesting the same thing, it is probably time you took their word seriously and gave it more thought.
- Ask the important questions. If someone says they don’t like your idea, it is important to not take it personally or to heart. Simply ask them why they didn’t like your idea or what you could have done (or still could do), to improve their thoughts about it. Your end goal is to make the product or service better. This can only be possible if you are open to suggestions, no matter how harsh. Entrepreneurships and small businesses are always about exploring all possible options and taking feedback.
This is where you will need independent insurance companies; to step into the picture and help you through the legal jargon so you don’t end up getting on the wrong side of the law. You will first need to figure out your business structure, business name, tax IDs (both Federal and State), permits (if needed), licensing (if needed), bank accounts, patents, copyrights and a host of other legal requirements which demand consultation from a proper insurance agent in St. Cloud, FL.
There are a lot of aspects of the business which you could handle both on your own and with assistance from your business partner, but there are certain things which you shouldn’t leave out in the open. Legal issues are one of those. It is therefore, important to search for the right insurance agents to consult with before starting a business in St. Cloud, FL. Taking help from insurance consultants that reside in the same hometown/area is a plus because these agents will know the ins and outs of the entrepreneurial landscape of the region.
Drafting out a business plan
Business plans are made with the end goal in sight. You will write exactly how your business will start out and evolve, from start to finish. You should take about 20 pages of written content and an additional 10 pages of projections for the every month. It is important to realize that if your business plan is taking more than 40 pages, it likely isn’t summarized well enough and could just be dismissed by an investor.
The idea comes to life
After everything has been said and done, you will feel absolutely amazing to actually see the idea pan out in practice, instead of just on paper. After all, there is a world of difference between practice and theory. All you need is that extra juice, that extra oomph to persevere through the odds, critics and hurdles to see your business thrive.