Article #56, April, 2007
How to 'Start' Starting your Own Business
Most people in very small businesses start their businesses from a passion. This an excellent place to start - assuming there is a need in the marketplace for what you are selling.
A business associate of mine is a residential real estate agent in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California. She told me recently that there are 14,000 real estate agents in the San Fernando Valley!! Holy cow that's a lot! Anyone considering starting a real estate business in this geographic area should do a lot of research and hard thinking before getting their license.
When you are deciding to start your business, the absolutely most important question you need to answer is: Is there a market for this? Big companies spend sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars on market research answering that question before introducing a new product. You have a fabulous tool at your disposal that is almost totally free - the internet. That can give you a good start in your research.
The next very important question that requires an answer is: Who is your target market? In other words, who, specifically, will pay for what you are selling? If your answer to this question starts with "Anyone who..." that's not a target and your chances of success are very limited.
If you try to appeal to "Anyone who...", it will be almost impossible to make an emotional connection of any kind or to build any kind of relationship with prospects with your message. What will ultimately happen is you will water down your benefit statements and marketing copy to try to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, which will result in boring, mediocre marketing that leaves no lasting impression on anyone.
One more basic requirement for success in starting a new business is - mo'ney! That really tired statement, "It takes mon'ey to make mon'ey" is actually true. I suggest having at LEAST 24 months of living expenses saved, plus your start-up costs, before starting your business. If you have already committed to it without that kind of savings, you can expect to incur some debt. This is normal!
So, in summary, to start a business, it is important to have a passion, a need in the marketplace for your product/service, a clear, narrow target market and some start-up mon'ey. Can you make a success without these? Of course! It is just a lot more challenging!