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Starting your own business is a very empowering and validating step in your career. A side business is oftentimes preferred in the first business development stages, as it assures a backup plan in case your company isn’t as successful as anticipated. Thus, starting with even a few hours a week to build our own business from scratch can help, and the difference can be significant. At least you’ll get to pick your hours!
According to a recent study, “Women-owned Enterprises in Canada,” as of 2013, there were approximately 275,300 businesses owned by women. In this context, women-owned companies accounted for almost 20% of all private enterprises across Canada, while almost 70% of the private enterprises were owned exclusively by men. The rest of the percentage is depicted by equally-owned enterprises.
If you want to contribute to raising the percentage of businesses owned by women and become your own boss, follow the tips below.
Start with an Amazing Business Idea
For many, this may be the most difficult step that they have to manage. Many of us don’t start their own businesses because we simply don’t have a great, innovative business idea. However, in most cases, this is only a mental barrier. Finding the perfect business idea depends entirely on asking yourself the right questions:
- What skills do you have? Think of what you know how to do and what you do very well. Think of all the knowledge and skills that you’ve acquired over the years. If you have to, think of this matter from a different perspective. What would you pay others to do if they were truly skilled at it? For example, this could be anything from language classes, instrument lessons or other specialized courses that you may be able to teach.
- What do your friends say you’re good at? This will certainly give you a little ego boost, and it will reveal more things about yourself than you expect. Ask your friends and family what you’re really great at. Answers will vary, but you’ll be provided with the opportunity of introspection once you hear their answers.
- What are those things that you already pay for? Instead of looking into your talents, ask yourself what are the services or products that you already pay for. Think if these expenses can be eliminated by opening your own business to produce or offer those services.
Once you find the answer to these questions, you’re more likely to find a business idea that suits your talents, needs, and lifestyle.
Business Planning Will Boost Your Chances for Success
According to several studies, businesses in Canada (and other countries) go bankrupt due to the manager’s inability to carry out their responsibilities, and planning is the first responsibility that comes to mind. Make sure you get over the temptation of jumping right into a business without a thorough planning process. A business plan will help you gain perspective and help you focus on the most important aspects of opening your own company as well as on your goals. To outline the perfect business plan, ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I building?
- Who is my target audience?
- What products and/or services am I promising to my clients?
- What are my objectives, plans, goals, and strategies?
Your answers to these questions will help you outline an effective business plan that will enable you to take control of your career and life.
Know Your Target Audience Before Investing a Dime
Before you start investing in your business, find out if people will actually spend money on your products or services and more specifically, what type of people you’ll attract. For example, if you’ll have to cater to a younger audience, you need a suitable approach to connect with this segment. If your products or services target elders, of course, you have to adapt your strategy.
Market segmentation will help you determine your audience and how to adapt your products and services, but also how to adapt your marketing efforts to boost your business’ potential. Determine the following in your analysis process:
- The size of your target audience.
- The demographics of your target audience.
- How your products and services will find their place into your target audience’s everyday lives.
- Why they need your products and/or services.
You can find out the answers to these questions by conducting market research. If you’re unable to conduct a research project like this on your own, you can hire a team of professionals to help you in the process. Alternatively, you can ask your potential customers directly what would they look for in a product or service like yours. Once you establish these pieces of the puzzle and put your products up for sale, make sure you continue to approach this step carefully.
Find the Right Financial Resources
If you don’t already have the necessary resources to start your business, you can look into the alternatives offered by various lending institutions and banks. A business loan may be the perfect choice if you need large amounts of money, but for small startups, solutions such as home equity loans may work perfectly. Compare home equity loans and see which one might suit your financial needs better.
Sell by Creating Added Value
When purchasing goods, people don’t like to feel like they’re giving into buying from companies or being “sold” to. Instead of simply selling your products and services, think about creating a whole experience for your customers. The more consideration you show to your customers in the retail process, the more you’ll sell. Remember that on average, approximately 150,000 new businesses open in Canada each year. Think of the following for higher rates of success:
- What can I give people?
- How can I help them become successful in their own lives through my products or services?
- How can I add to the perception of delivering a higher value?
This approach will help you find new ways to market your products and deliver more value, a factor that most consumers actually search for in products or services.
Find the Right Marketing Approach
Getting the word out about your products and services is, in the end, the variable that will help you start selling more and generating higher revenue. Embrace the use of SEO, social media marketing, and other smart marketing tricks and tips. This will help you sell more, even if you have a product that “sells itself.”
The journey of taking full control over your career and becoming your own boss is not an easy one, but if you plan the process carefully, your chances for success – even in those highly competitive market segments – increase significantly.