Starting a new business is always uncharted territory. If you haven’t done it before, you may not be prepared for the bumps along the way. Even if you’ve broken the ice as an entrepreneur, each new venture brings with it different twists and turns to navigate.
No matter how many times you’ve been in business for yourself, turning your idea into a marketable product or service is a challenge. Your first priority is to refine your idea until it’s to the point where it becomes a viable prototype. Enlist the help of help friends and family if you must but take the time to make sure your business model is practical and sustainable. This will give you a chance to work out the proverbial kinks along the way.
During the testing phase, make sure your product or service meets a need or solves a problem. When you feel you’re ready, get started on market research. Market research is essentially the act of gathering data to see if there is a demand for what you have to offer.
ActiveCampaign notes several ways to perform market research online for free including the question-and-answer social media platforms Quora and Reddit. It’s also a good idea to research your competition and scour the internet for reviews of their products or services to see where they fall short.
Getting your name out there is another challenge you must face head-on. Some potential clients want a quick and easy-to-follow rundown of your expertise and experience. This alone can be an intimidating process that can be achieved by creating a professional Curriculum Vitae and resume along with a cover letter, like when you’re applying for a job.
Other ideas for getting your name out in the public include speaking at trade association events, writing a book, and volunteering in your community. Something as simple as hosting a booth and giving out free water at your local farmers market can plant the seeds of your business’ name into the minds of your potential clients. Other ideas recommended by GovLoop include creating an audience on LinkedIn and looking for opportunities to be interviewed by the media.
FEAR ISN’T AN ASSET
When you’re young, a healthy dose of fear can keep you from making big mistakes, but when you’re starting a business, you have to be strong and understand that some risks are worth taking.
If you plan well, there will be no question as to the price you’ll pay for failure. But if you never try, you won’t know what rewards lay on the other side of entrepreneurship. Fear is not your friend. It is an enemy that forces you to contribute to someone else’s success.
FOLLOW THE LEADER
While the entire point of owning your own business is to become a leader yourself, don’t overlook those who’ve gone before you. Take inspiration from some of the world’s most successful startups. Businesses like AirBnB, Facebook, and Pinterest did not start out as multibillion-dollar mega companies. These and other major corporations were often born from an idea by frustrated—and broke—aspiring entrepreneurs.
There is little doubt that jumping the chasm from a predictable paycheck into the unknown is frightening. But you can’t let fear keep you on the wrong side of your life. Turn your idea into something you can be proud of and support yourself along the way by doing your research, getting yourself recognized, and getting things done.
About the Author
Erica Francis writes for ReadyJob and thrives on helping young people prepare for the working world. She aims to help teens develop the career skills needed to be successful in the workplace.
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