Researching the industry you want to enter is key to understanding what works and what doesn’t. Some university libraries provide access to reports from companies such as Mintel. If you’re not a student, then this list of market research businesses will get you started. Trove also has historical industry information. Try and become an expert in your field – knowledge is power.
Get inside the minds of your customers. Learn their challenges – what they like, what they don’t like and why. This information can help you develop your product and service offering, and find your niche. Read how Innocent Drinks did this in the UK.
Hearing about successes and challenges that other entrepreneurs have faced can help you recognise your own success and pick yourself back up in hard times. It can also help you spread the message about what your business does and the products and services you want to sell. Inspiring Rare Birds is a global hub that’s dedicated to supporting established entrepreneurs and women who want to start a business. They hold regular networking events, provide entrepreneurs with mentors, and produce resources and information to help start and grow businesses.
Business plans are great for getting your thoughts on to paper and will help you set goals, expectations and timelines. Not only does a business plan map out growth or prepare for bumps in the road, it can help you secure investment. Once you have your plan nailed down, the next step is to write a strategy for how you’re going to reach these goals.
What is your unique value proposition? How do your products and services solve your customers’ problems or help their situation? Defining why your offerings have a competitive edge is an important step in ensuring they provide better value than the competition.
Financial literacy is an area where many entrepreneurs go wrong. Making sure you are financially savvy early on will start your business on the right foot. Accounting software such as Xero can empower you to manage the finances yourself.
Most entrepreneurs are the sole owner of their companies, but many aspiring entrepreneurs also seek out co-founders to help get their ideas off the ground, especially if they need tech founders inside their businesses. This is where incubators, networking events and platforms such as LinkedIn can really help you form the necessary connections.
A clear marketing strategy is all about getting your brand out into the world and helping your audiences understand your products and services. If successful, the plan will help you increase revenue. If marketing isn’t your forte, seek the help of an agency or consultant.
Incubators bring entrepreneurs together in one physical location so they can network and access resources, such as mentoring, lawyers and accountants to help their companies grow. Often those running incubators have money to invest and can also help founders access venture capitalists and angel investors.
The name and visual identity of your business is a hugely important part of differentiating yourself in the market. Getting the branding right can help you portray what your business is about in an instant and attract the right customers.
Once you are happy with your brand name it’s time to register for your domain name and build your website. Budgets may be tight so consider a platform such as Squarespace. There are customisable templates that are simple to set up, and you can secure your domain name easily. As your business grows you can look at doing a full website build with the help of a developer.