Questions Every Smart Entrepreneur Should Ask Themselves Before Starting A New Business
Business owners are the bravest people we know. They have guts, they have drive, they’re not afraid of a challenge. And they currently have what it takes to succeed. Starting a business from scratch is no easy task and we’re damn proud of the ballsy business owners we work with.
What we come across a lot in our industry is these determined business owners don’t stop. Not at one business, not at one product, not at anything less than extraordinary. We get it–it’s the entrepreneurial bug.
As one of these badass business owners, you’ve likely learned some lessons that you wouldn’t have otherwise–lessons that can surely be put to use when your entrepreneurial bug kicks in and you’re on track to start up business number two.
Lessons From Starting Your First Business
Starting a business is hard work. And starting a business without previous entrepreneurial experience–now that’s another story. Trial and error, Googling (a lot), and endless lessons learned are what come along with starting a business, especially when it’s your first time.
Entrepreneurship sure isn’t for the unmotivated, but if you’re one who has pushed through and has made it to the other side, you’re damn proud of what you built. You’ve sure learned a thing (or 100) along your journey, and those lessons from starting your first business are full of valuable information that can be taken into future businesses and opportunities.
Here’s a look at some of the most common lessons we see first-time business owners learn.
1. Your Brand Needs An Identity
It’s crucial to know who your brand is and consistently show up with that identity. Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose? What are your goals with your brand? Consistently and authentically communicating these elements will give your audience insight into who your brand actually is and why the only smart choice is to love you.
2. Messaging Must Tell Your Story And Be Consistent
You know your story, now make sure you’re telling it. Determine how your brand talks, writes, and interacts with its audience, and then consistently communicate in that way. With on-brand messaging, your audience knows what to expect when they come in contact with your business.
3. Visuals Should Knock Your Brand Out Of The Park
The messaging, visuals, and identity of your brand should play equal parts in your business–no one part is more important than the other. That being said, all visuals have to be consistent across the board and always on-brand. Brand guidelines are a great place to start, that way you can be sure a customer will recognize your brand no matter where they see it.
And don’t forget, visuals have to also align with everything else–your messaging, goals, and purpose–and tell that same story.
4. Learn To Market In The Right Places
Continued marketing can’t be forgotten after a business has initially launched. And determining where to market your business will ensure you don’t waste money on the wrong places and the wrong people. Make sure you have a plan for reaching your audience, and this all starts by knowing exactly who those people are. How will you reach them and how will you provide them with the most value possible?
5. Processes Are A Must
Wasted time will kill you as an entrepreneur. That means minimizing the time for routine tasks is a must. You probably found this can be accomplished by determining processes to help you and your team become more efficient. Do so for repetitive tasks and streamline your processes to make the most out of your time.
6. A Team Of People Who Take You Seriously
Whether it’s an internal team, an outside time of marketing experts or an account that keeps your business life in order, having people associated with your brand that take it seriously and care about what you’re doing is a must. You don’t have room in your business bubble for people who aren’t all in, so develop the right relationships and make sure those people know you mean business.
7. Connect With The Right People
No matter what people might say, who you know will sure go a long way.
Meet good people, continue relationships with the right people, and use them as valuable resources for all things business. If you don’t have a pool of valuable connections or you’re looking to grow your number of relationships (and you should–there’s always room for new connections), start by going to local networking groups. You’re likely to find people there who are looking for the same thing you are.
Starting a Business: Round Two
As an entrepreneurial badass, you now think, why stop here? You have business number one in a steady place, or maybe you’ve moved on completely and it’s time to take the next step forward into something new and exciting. You can’t say no to that entrepreneurial bug–you’re starting another business.
While some might think you’re crazy, you’re confident that you have the experience and knowledge as an entrepreneur to start off in a much better place than you did with your very first business.
You’ve jumped through hurdles you would have never expected, but now you know how to conquer them. You didn’t realize how crucial starting off a business with more than just an idea actually was until you fell flat on your face in Q1, but now you’d never be caught making that mistake again. And another day won’t go by without a well-rounded marketing team standing behind you.
What valuable lessons. You’re well-prepped to take on something new, just be sure to ask yourself the right questions before getting started.
Questions Smart Entrepreneurs Ask Themselves Before Starting A New Business
Whether this is your very first business or your fifteenth, you should be asking yourself these questions before taking off on a new business venture. Have you answered these 6 questions?
1. Who Are Your Primary Competitors?
Before taking on a new market with your big ideas, make sure you have a clear understanding of what’s currently happening in that said market. This starts with finding your competitors.
You can learn valuable lessons from other brands you’ll be up against, without having to go through that trial and error phase yourself–learn from their mistakes so you don’t make your own.
Are your competitors showing success with your target audience? Is how they’re communicating resonating with potential customers? If the answer is no, what can you do differently? If it’s yes, take away what’s working and craft it into your own brand.
2. How Is Your Solution Different?
There are thousands of saturated markets out there. Your brand and your idea have to be different from the rest in order to stand out and succeed. It could be a difference in product features or product ability. Or it could even be about what your brand believes in and stands for.
Take one of our clients for example. Do you know how many protein and energy bars are on the market? A lot. Rowdy Bars is surrounded by hundreds of other brands selling similar products, so they had to put their focus on their USP (unique selling proposition).
What makes Rowdy’s products different than everything else on the market? Rowdy Bars focuses on creating gut-healthy snacks for active people who are health-conscious–that’s their USP. They make their bars using the prebiotic ingredient, yacon syrup, and make it their priority to educate their audience on why gut health is a crucial part of overall wellbeing.
3. What Does The Future Of Your Industry Look Like?
Make sure to do your research on trends and the history of your industry. While some industries have been around for decades and are here to stay, others only attract consumers for so long.
Look back on the past performance of your industry and the brands among them. If it’s something like, let’s say, body wash, you’re likely to find that the overall industry has been stable for quite some time while the products within it have transformed. It could be that customers are more conscious of the ingredients they’re using on their body. While body wash once was full of chemicals, consumers have lost interest in unnatural products–now they want soap that’s packed full of organic ingredients and free of anything that might harm their skin.
Learn from this history and don’t make the mistake of introducing a product or service to an audience that is no longer interested.
4. Who Is Your Ideal Customer?
Everyone is not your customer. If you haven’t clearly defined who your people are before starting up your new business, you’ll inevitably lose money trying to sell to the wrong people or waste marketing dollars using the shotgun approach. How do you know if your customers will love your products if you don’t know who your customers are or what they want? And if you’re not clear on who those people are, you won’t be able to efficiently get in front of them.
Knowing your target audience goes deeper than their gender and age. Occupation, buying power, lifestyle, habits, even their coffee vs. tea preference–they’re all crucial pieces to the customer profile puzzle. Know them first, then you can work on selling to them.
5. Where Will You Market Your Business?
Once you know who your people are, you then have to know where to get in front of them. Is content marketing the right approach for your brand? Will people read and value what you have to share? With something like, let’s say, toilet paper, writing weekly blogs might not be the best approach when it comes to reaching customers.
Now if your brand sells indoor plants, content marketing could be your way to go. You’ll find value in educating your audience on best practices for plant watering, your favorite plant foods, and more–it’ll be a great way to reach your people and add value to their lives.
Content marketing is key, but if it’s not ideal for your brand, be sure to define exactly where you’ll be able to reach your audience and get them hooked.
6. How Will You Determine Success?
Starting a business is not all about making money, especially during the first year. While revenue is certainly an important factor to weigh, you have to define other milestones of success. That way you can make (and achieve) goals from top to bottom.
Here are some great examples of other entrepreneurial milestones that don’t have to do with money.
- How many new people have you reached with your brand during its first year?
- Has your email list grown? If so, by how many?
- Have you perfected your product with round two of production in year one?
- Maybe you clearly defined some important processes that you can put into effect next year.
Have You Asked Yourself The Right Questions?
Amongst everything else the small business owner life throws in your direction, it can be difficult to know if you’re fully covering your grounds. Have you asked yourself the right questions to prepare for opening another small business? And if you believe you have, did you answer them honestly and with the right research to back up those answers?
Having an honest and open conversation with a team of business question experts is the best place to start to ensure you’re fully prepared for what starting another business will bring to your plate. We’ll let you know if you’re asking the right questions and are answering them to prepare for your new brand’s future.
Let’s have a constructive conversation (over beer, of course) and get clear on your goals and direction. Buy the team at Bareknuckle a round to get started.