Starting your own business begins with you

If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life

If you are thinking about starting your own business, it’s important to know what you want to achieve and why you’re going out on your own.

Let’s be honest, in the start up world, the self employed and small businesses far out number the big tech start ups many times over, but most courses, articles and books assume that we all want to be the next big thing!

Whether you want to be the next Elon Musk or just want to spend time doing what you enjoy, the decisions you make and your own preferences will have a greater impact on the approach you take than any article or book you’re told to read or course you attend.

You should have a rough idea of what you want to do, and how you want to do it, but that doesn’t mean having a rigid business plan, just be honest with yourself. One great approach is the Lean start up, which suggests that a plan is a set of questions not answers, and as we ask each question you learn more, pivot and get closer to the final shape of your business.

Some questions to get you started

What do I want to get out of this?

For most of us, we start doing something we enjoy, and then look for ways to make a bit of money out of it, or we want to be our own boss. Others are looking for the next get rich scheme, or looking to get and spend a load of VC cash.

Whichever approach you are into, your decisions and plans will be very different, but remember, none of them are wrong!

Why am I doing this?

According to Simon Singh’s Golden circle, people buy into why you do what you do more than what you de, so having a passion and mission are very important, and will help you make the right decisions going forward.

Who is my audience?

If you have an audience that respects you and is interested in what yo have to say you can find a way to monetise it. Understanding you your potential audience is will help you develop marketing and content strategies that you will need to promote your business, and help develop and define your products and services.

What are they trying to achieve?

People don’t want products, they want solutions to problems that they often don’t understand fully, leading to a lengthy research process. Understanding what your audience needs help with lets you build a sense of authority and relevance to the audience long before they get to a purchase decision and can help you build a broader range of products and services.

How do I think I can help them?

It’s likely that your business will pivot many times before you get to a final product but you have to start somewhere. The lean startup approach suggests you treat each idea as a hypothesis to be tested, not an answer set in stone so you should be open to feedback and revisions to your initial idea whilst it’s being optimised.

Get a mentor.

Most Governments have enterprise offices to support local businesses, so engage with these and see what support they can offer. In Ireland, the Local enterprise offices provide business mentors who can help potential, new and established businesses define their direction and support growth.

To find out more about mentoring services, click here

Business canvas Sections

The Business canvas approach helps you put down ideas and thoughts about your business idea quickly and easily

Customer Segments

Our clients are people first and by understanding their issues, we can craft and communicate solutions of real value.

Customer relationships and marketing

To build business we need to tell people who we are and why we are relevant to them, building relationships we can convert into sales.

Channels

How we deliver our value proposition needs to be carefully matched to the product and its target audience

Value proposition

Our value proposition represents a solution to a problem, and needs to be defined in those terms, with a clear focus on what our clients will gain from any feature.

Revenue streams

The type of product and the relationships our clients create will have profound implications for our pricing model.

Cost structure

We need to be profitable, which means ensuring we can deliver on our plan for less money that we bring in.

Key activities

Now we know what we want to achieve, we need to put it into practice

Key Partners

Who do we need to work with to deliver on our vision

Key Resources

What physical, financial, human and intellectual resources do we need to attain to achieve our goals

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Estate agents like Keller Williams are increasingly adopting relationship and content marketing as they realise the transactional model can’t last.