Tips for starting a business
If you have decided to start a business, congratulations on taking steps to put your future in your hands. There are a number of things to do before you start a business and of course it involves doing your homework and putting yourself out there.
Research, research research!!!
Whether you are starting a dog walking business, becoming a contractor, opening a storefront, the best and most important beginning to a successful business is to do your research.
Check out your competitors. Now entrepreneurs have a window of opportunity to look into their competitors’ business which has never existed before. Use the internet to its fullest to check out who your competitors are, how they present themselves, pricing, what their reviews are, the colours, what they convey to the marketplace and learn from them both the good and the not so good. Find out where your competitors are located, what the population of potential clients are, household incomes, what their behaviour and activities are. There is so much information available with just a few clicks.
If you are opening a storefront, walk the street where you are thinking of locating. Go in every store, see where people are going and where people are passing. Look at the cars, clothes people are wearing, if they have children, if there is accessible parking, if the sun is on the side of the street you are looking at. If the neighbourhood is vibrant & busy or quiet and dull.
A good decision comes from hard work and research. A poor decision is more likely when you don’t take the time and effort to dig deep before you start a business.
What makes your business unique?
What are you going to offer to separate your business from your competitors? Often people will think of coming to the marketplace offering a cheaper price for the service or product.
Remember in doing this, you are restricting your ability to promote, expand and service your business needs such as advertising, equipment, social media. Establish something that makes your business model different from your competitors and promote that. It could be the time you have been in your industry, new technology, fresh ingredients, whatever assets you have, put them in the forefront of your business.
Network, network and more networking. This is so important. Join associations in your industry, put the word out with friends, join Rotary, community business groups, golf, curling anything that connects you to others can assist you and your business. Find existing business owners who are successful and tap into their experiences. Most entrepreneurs are more than willing to take some time and teach you the things they have learned during their tenure in business.
Build your own social media
When you are starting a business, the one thing you typically have more of is time. Use this time to start and build your brand through social media. In today’s world, you have so many resources available to you. Many of these are either free or inexpensive. Get your brand out there and the business and revenues will follow.
Start a Facebook page for your business, start your website, have the business get on Instagram or Etsy or any free forum that will get your business in front of the peoples eyes and in their minds.
You can use many platforms to sell your product or service without having your own website such as Kijijii, EBay, Craigslist, shopify, local community websites. Try out ideas or products on friends and family, see what their reactions are, ask for honesty to assist you to learn how someone on the outside views what you are selling. Do they understand it, want it, is it appealing, does it catch their eye etc.
Trust in yourself. You will have good and bad days, there will be learning curves, upsets for sure but there will also be highs, beats, and wins. Learn from the negative, appreciate the positive and step into each and every day a better business owner.
Listen to what people are telling you
The great thing about consumers, is more often than not, they will tell you what they think of your service or product. Listen to each person with open ears, open heart and mind. For each person who says something negative or positive about their experience, there are a number of people behind them who haven’t taken the time to offer the opinion. These people are gold to both you and your business. Treat them well, listen and thank them for their input. Take what they have said and review what you can do to offer a better experience if the comment was negative. If the comment was positive, ask the person if they would be kind enough to give you a review on whatever platform you have available to them.
Take care of yourself
It’s not talked about often but it’s important for you as the business owner to take care of yourself. Being an entrepreneur has more positives than I can explain but there are also the pitfalls of working long hours, not eating properly, not sleeping well and not exercising. Take time for yourself to re-energize whether it’s for a few minutes to go grab a bite or take a day away from your business. Your business can only be as good as you are healthy.
Concentrate on what you are passionate about, what you believe you have to offer the marketplace and when you do this, the money will follow along with success and accolades. Be honest, humble, engaged, informative, friendly and committed.
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Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional.