If you want to be one of the small business entrepreneurs of the future, now is the time. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 9.6 million self-employed Americans in 2016, and the number is projected to increase to 10.3 million after ten years–that’s a whopping 700,000 new small businesses across the country by 2026!
Identify your talents and skills
Are you creative and innovative? Are you methodical and organized? Do you have any useful skill sets that you think you can sell? You can list down all of your strengths that you think are potentially profitable, and that could serve as your starting point for product ideas.
If you think not enough ideas have come to mind, you can look into your hobbies and interests to find something useful. You can also trace back your past experiences, such as previous employment and skills you have gained in your past roles and responsibilities. What were you good at? What did your peers and colleagues depend on you for?
Come up with a business idea
Working from your identified skill set, try to match them up with profit-generating ideas. You can look through home business ideas online to give you some inspiration. A popular group of small business ideas are desktop businesses like virtual assistance, copywriting, and graphic design. Still, there are other small business ideas that fall under products such as custom jewelry, party giveaways, food and drink, and souvenirs; and services such as photography, events planning, cleaning, and caregiving.
Assess each idea for compatibility and profitability
The primary reason you are setting your business up is for profit. If it does not grant you returns, then it’s not worth investing in. But how do you know if a business idea has potential? It will involve the next three steps listed below.
Another thing you have to take into consideration is compatibility. You surely can’t start a small business at home if it doesn’t fit well in a home setting. Try to assess your space, family members, pets, and the company itself, if everything jives well together or if any one of those factors needs some adjusting. For some, it would mean something as easy as renovating. For others, it could be as drastic as building an extra room and having everyone follow a strict schedule.
Decide on your target market
Your target market is the group of persons or sections of the population who are most likely to buy your product. For example, if your business offers wedding photography, your target market will most likely be working men and women in their twenties to thirties. If you provide house cleaning services, your target market could be middle to upper-class homeowners within your suburbs.
Identify your competition
In identifying who you are up against when starting your small business, ask yourself the following questions: Who else is offering the same services as you within your scope of location? What are their specific products? What are your similarities and differences? Most importantly, how are you better than them?
Make a business plan
If you want to ensure the success of your business, making a business plan is probably a great idea. It gives you a detailed roadmap of how you can build up your business for success. A business plan is composed of all the details of your business, your competition, your ideas, and how you want to manage it.
Test your business idea
Even though upon initial assessment, you might still want to conduct a little test-run to get a feel of your new small business. It will also give you a glimpse of exactly how profitable your business idea could be in actuality. You get to have an actual experience of how it could be if you were already running it full-time and on full speed.
There are several ways you can test your business idea. You can start out by doing your business part-time while still maintaining your employment. Many aspiring business people are not into taking blind risks. The decision to let go of a day job permanently creates a tremendous impact on you and your family’s finances, so if you are currently employed, it is best to tread lightly at first.
You can also offer trials of your product or service and receive some valuable feedback in return. On the other hand, you can put your product up in a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter to see how much other people like it and receive investment for capital at the same time.
Fund your business
If you already have ready capital in your bank account, funding your business wouldn’t be a problem. However such is not the case for many aspiring entrepreneurs. It is likely that not everybody has had the opportunity to save up how many years’ worth of capital for their dream business. Luckily, there are several ways that you can fund your small business without digging into your own pockets.
One of the popular ways nowadays is through crowdfunding platforms, just like the one mentioned above. You can also apply for small business loans or simply borrow from friends and family or close people who believe in the potential of your idea. Make sure that you open a business bank account that is exclusively for your business to avoid any confusion when handling your finances.
Market your business
It is crucial to get your business out there. Marketing ensures that your target market knows about it and is convinced that your product or service is something they have to avail of. One of the best ways to market small businesses these days is online. You can easily do this through social media sites, or you can go the extra mile and invest in a company website where you can make your products easily accessible to your website visitors.
The moment you decide to start a small business, even if it’s just at home can be an intimidating thought. Enrolling in an online class on how to start a small business might help shake those jitters off and push you step into the entrepreneurial scene armed with all the knowledge and confidence that you need to succeed.