Due to the instability and reality of our current economic climate, more people than ever before have found the “job” they thought would make the perfect fit for them does not necessarily exist. Resultantly, thanks to the myriad of resources our generation has at its disposal, many have come to the conclusion that they would rather create work they love, incidental to their goals, passions and dreams. If you possess the right attitude, determination and resilience, then becoming your own boss may be a viable option for you. Read below as Linda Gieskes, Founder and Owner of African natural & Indie hair care line, Suki Suki Naturals, gives 10 tips on succeeding in your journey to becoming your own boss
Identify the right business for you
Starting your own business comes with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Anyone can start a business but it is much more difficult to grow and sustain one. It does not suffice to go into business in a specific field for the sole purpose of selling a product or service and making a profit. An entrepreneur should be passionate about his business. That passion will be the deciding factor as to how far he or she will go to ensure that his or her business prospers and that his vision and goals are met. When a company faces challenges, it’s your passion and commitment that ultimately get the business through to the other side. However, if you don’t have a true passion for your business, everyone will sense it: from your customers, your team, your advisors and even your investors.
Conduct market research
In order to acquaint yourself with your competitors, it is essential to conduct a market research of your competitors before going into business. A market research will help you to evaluate whether the market is saturated or whether there is room for your business in any specific field. Knowing your competitors can also be helpful in molding your product or service so that your product is unique and it fills the relevant gaps in the market.
Acquaint yourself with your target market
Understanding your target markets’ demographics helps you determine exactly what your products or services will be and what kind of customer service tactics work best. It is essential to let your customer know that you think of them as an individual and that you understand their lifestyle. If you don’t speak to their lifestyle, a customer will tune you out.
Don’t be limited by your business plan
Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting and/or operating a small business. However, it is important to revise and modify your plan when necessary; as circumstances are likely to change within the course of planning, starting and operating your business. Always update your plan to reflect these changes so that it is never outdated.
Create a Work Schedule
If you run your own business you most likely have precise operating hours, in the event that you do not, you should nonetheless consider setting a work schedule for yourself. Working for yourself allows you to have the luxury to set whatever type of schedule you like, so if you like to sleep in or work only mornings you can do so. However, once you set your schedule you should stick to it and avoid the temptation to start work late or stop working early.
Use Social Media Strategically
We are lucky to live in a time where internet is relatively cheap and accessible to many people. Social media are a great tool to advertise your business at little or no cost. Use it strategically, as too much social media can drive away your customers.
Evaluate Your Progress
When you work for yourself, it is crucial to evaluate your progress to ensure that you are constantly evolving as a business. This entails looking at the aspects of your business that you are succeeding in and the aspects that still need improvement. Brainstorm a few tangible ideas for how you can improve upon your faults and better work towards your goals.
Sell by Creating Value
Most marketers focus on securing a sale and securing it quickly. However, there is a new way of selling called sale by value. A sale by value is centered around measuring success based on how your company can help the customer succeed in all the ways that are important to that customer. The satisfaction of the customer thus becomes your business’ focus and not the amount of sales you obtained. This is the best way to differentiate yourself from your many competitors.
Don’t be quick to give away equity
Often when an entrepreneur is seeking funding, he may be asked to abandon a certain amount of equity in exchange to the funding he requires to get his business started. I would highly recommend against this in the beginning stages of your business being formed. At the pre-launch stage, you do not yet know the value of your business and you may find that you gave too much away in exchange of the funding you need. Having a solid value established is the most important item to check off the planning list when raising capital, especially during the earliest rounds of funding. It should help the entrepreneur give up smaller stakes for smaller investments in the pre-launch rounds and save sizeable equity stakes for later rounds. One should bootstrap as long as you possibly can, before giving away equity and accepting external funding.
Have a Solid Vision
A vision lets you set goals that define your path and progress. For each goal you can plan a strategy for achieving it. A strategy let’s you choose tactics you can employ to achieve those goals. Setting a vision helps you to know the direction in which your business is going. It helps you discern between activities that are beneficial and those that are valueless distractions.
Article By: Linda Gieskes, Founder
Read about Linda’s journey to starting Suki Suki Naturals HERE
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