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So you want to start a business and be an entrepreneur? But where should you start?

Last night I was having a conversation over a coffee with a great friend of mine that said “I want to start a business, you know, work from home… I’m thinking of selling [xyz]… but I don’t know where to start, I think I need to do a business plan… What do you reckon?”

This is a question so many people have when starting out in business or when they have an “idea for a business”. Often the first things they think about are business cards, flyers, logos etc.

Many times over people start out with these less critical components in the early stages and think they have started a business only to give up when no customers pick up the phone to buy your product.

Although all these things are important, they are logistical aspects of a business that come second to a number of more important areas of any start up which should be about-

  • Market research
  • Niche
  • Target markets
  • Branding and brand culture planning and development
  • Product validation
  • Customer experience
  • Mission and visions
  • Business goals
  • Protection

The particular market that my start-up friend wanted to venture into was quite a flooded market to which I said to him, especially so, that he needs to look at doing what his competitors are doing and do it both differently and better such that he develops a customer experience that supersedes that of the current market experience and even so far as the current market expectation. I also pointed our that the culture around his business needs to be exceptional and above those of his competitors.

When a market is flooded particular care needs to be taken around planning out how you will improve customer experience so that the customer buys from you and not the guy next door. For example, in the cosmetics market, specifically with body moisturises, there is almost an endless amount of products that all claim to be the best at diminishing wrinkles, reducing stretch marks and making you “look younger”. Those that succeed financially bring the customer into the experience of the brand and it is also the brand and brand culture around the company that makes the person “feel” younger or healthier or improved, not just the product itself.

In an example like this it would be arguably smarter to narrow down your target market to a specific niche such as stretch mark creams soley for pregnant women who experience stretch marks during and post pregnancy. In this instance value comes from not just the product itself but a community of mothers who are experiencing the same issues. Your product culture should bring these woman together for support where your product is at the centre. Added value in the form of a blog and an online community offering solutions driven advice around experiences felt during pregnancy especially with stretch marks centred around your niche product would serve you better than another contract manufactured mass marketed creams on the shelf. In this example your customers will ultimately sell your product for you.

Have you ever been told to just start, start somewhere, anywhere, just start? It’s true. I would suggest starting from a different perspective as discussed above as it’s from here you will quickly find out what you don’t know which will form a good basis for what needs development within your particular niche in your market space. Starting a blog is a great way to gather feedback about your niche, begin the process of product validation through things like pre-sales or surveys and ultimately a great way to build your list which in the long run is your goldmine.

I would love to hear hear from you! What did you think about my post? What business ideas have you been wanting to kick off the ground? Fire me a question and I will be happy to give you some ideas from a different perspective.

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