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by Jason Lewis
The number one goal of all business owners is to have a successful business. While that may seem obvious, there are still a substantial amount of businesses that fail within the first 2 years of opening. Those first couple of years set the tone of how your business will run, and in order to succeed, you must plan for it! Here are a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.
Find your niche market
One of the first steps you need to take on your road to business ownership is to find your niche market. Your niche market, also known as a target audience, is your customer. These are the people buying from your business and keeping your doors open, which is why this is one of the most critical steps in planning a business.
A common mistake many business owners make is thinking that they can sell their product or service to everyone. Believing that everyone is a potential customer for your business is extremely unrealistic, and it could actually cost you your entire business. You need to identify who it is that needs your product or service and doesn’t mind spending money to get it. For example, it’s not enough to say your target audience is women. Delve deeper. Imagine the kind of woman that you want buying from you. Is she married? Does she work? Is she a mother? How does she spend her free time? What age group is she in? This may seem like a lot, but the more you narrow down your audience, the more well received your marketing efforts will be.
Creating an online presence is an easy way to reach out to your market, and these days you don’t have to be a professional to make your own website for your business. Tailor your branding and outreach to the specific niche you’ve selected, and don’t get too caught up in the idea of attracting everyone. Always remember that no matter what, there are some people out there who do not want or need your services. Directing your marketing efforts to include the people that won’t be buying from you will be a costly mistake.
Do a financial projection
As a business owner, it is a must that you have a document that outlines what your business is and how it will grow in the future. This document is called a business plan, and included in that business plan, should be a well-thought out financial projection. A financial projection is a forecast of future revenues and expenses. Many business fail because the owners do a poor job of monitoring what is going out and how much is coming in. If you are looking for investors, your financial projection will be the first thing they want to see because they want to know that you have a detailed plan in place to return their investment.
Every expense that your business will incur (excluding unforeseen costs) should be in your financial projection. This includes rent, utilities and the cost of supplies. A detailed financial projection will allow you to see how much money is being spent, how much revenue is coming in, where you will break even, and where you will begin to make a profit. Because this is just a projection, everything will not be completely accurate, however you will at least get the gist of how your business will survive.
Making the decision to start a business comes with a lot of emotions. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed and even afraid, but you must be persistent. The best way to guarantee your success as a business owner is to be prepared. Remember to relax and enjoy the journey into entrepreneurship!