Starting a business is a long and arduous process, but watching it succeed and flourish is a major source of pride. These are just the basic, beginning steps of developing your own business so that you can find success no matter what your business model is.
Developing a Concept
If you’re thinking you’d like to start your own business, but you don’t have any idea as to what exactly you’d like to do, there are some questions you can ask yourself to help you get started.
- What do you like to do?
- What do you hate to do?
- What are you especially skilled at?
- Is there a type of business you’ve always wanted to run?
Developing a concept is the very first, basic step. You don’t need to hone your concept at this point—focus on what kind of business you would like to run. Once you have that decided, it’s time to move on to the next step to focus that broad business concept into something more specific.
Research the Current Market
Many businesses, especially small businesses, fail to research the current market and look at the competition for their business, but this is an absolutely critical step. This is the step where you can focus your business concept into something more specific. How does that work, exactly? Well, researching the current market and your potential competitors gives you an opportunity to look for business models no one else is using.
You may have decided your business concept is a clothing store. This is a great broad concept, but there are tons of clothing stores. At this point, you will need to do extensive market research to determine some important things:
- What are businesses with this same base concept already doing successfully?
- What are businesses with this same base concept already doing unsuccessfully?
- How can you set your business apart from the competition?
Once you have your concept more fleshed out, you can perform a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths include what unique aspects you bring to the business concept, what assets you already possess, and what particular knowledge or skills you or your team bring to the table. Weaknesses determine where you need to improve—what assets you need but do not have, knowledge or skill gaps, and what competitors do better than you. Opportunities focus on finding space for your business based on the current market—what trends you can take advantage of, needs of the industry that you can address, and the potential ability to raise prices. Threats are issues your business may have to overcome—laws or regulations that could potentially harm your business, the chance of your team being poached by competitors, what happens if you have an issue with your manufacturer or supplier.
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