Find a business idea
This is probably the most daunting area for people. In fact, the most common reason why people haven’t started a business on the side is that they “just don’t have a good business idea.” This is just a mental barrier though, one that you can easily get past if you look at one area: your strengths.
Here are four questions you can ask yourself to find a solid business idea:
- What skills do you have? Now, what do you know and know well?
- What do your friends say you’re great at? The answers they give you can be turned into side business ideas.
- What do you do on a Saturday morning? What do you do on a Saturday morning before everyone else is awake? This can be incredibly revealing on what you’re passionate about and what you like to spend your time on.
- What do you already pay for? You don’t even have to play to your strengths and talents. Instead, you can look to things you already pay for. There’s no reason you can’t turn one of those things into your own online business.
Know the operational needs
Most people, who are thinking about starting businesses, focus on what they’ll sell and who they’ll sell to. What they often don’t consider is how the business will actually operate. For instance, if you’re selling items, how will they be delivered? How much customer support will be needed – either to answer questions about the product or to respond to people whose shipments haven’t arrived? Who will build and maintain your website and social media presence? These are issues you should consider and plan for.
You sometimes hear people advise would-be business owners not to move ahead with their businesses until they have investigated every last detail of the businesses they want to start and are absolutely sure that everything will work and be profitable. The problem with that approach is that it leads to procrastination. No one ever really has all the pieces in place – even after they’ve started their business. Yes, you need to research the market, have a rudimentary plan in place, but if you try to make everything perfect before you launch, you may never get around to starting the business at all.
Don’t fixate on mistakes or get demoralized by them
The difference between successful people and everyone else is that successful people learn from their mistakes and move on. They don’t dwell on failure, blame the economy or blame other people for their fate. If the path to their goal is blocked, they look for an alternate path or sometimes choose a different, more attainable goal.
Learn from others
Find mentors, join groups with like-minded people, learn everything you can about your industry and what it takes to get from where you are to where you want to be. Attend industry conferences. Take training courses when they are available. You’ll save a tremendous amount of trial and error by learning from people who have been there before.
Embrace digital marketing
Even if you’re running a local business, you need a comprehensive digital presence. At a minimum, you need a professional-looking website, an email list that lets you communicate with customers and prospects on a regular basis and presence on the social media channels that your customers frequent. While you may get many of your customers by word of mouth, referrals or networking, you still need a strong digital presence. The reason: prospective customers are likely to look you up on the web before they decide whether or not to contact you.
Never stop learning and trying new things
What’s profitable now, won’t necessarily be profitable next year or 10 years from now. So, don’t let yourself fall into the “this is the way I’ve always done things” rut. Keep your eyes and ears open for new things. Are there newer or better ways to market your products and services? Are customers asking for something you’re not offering? Is there a different type of customer you should be targeting? Get answers by reading everything you can about your industry and listening to your customers. Always be looking for ways to improve your business and to make it stand out from the competition. Recognize that you don’t know everything and be open to new ideas and new approaches to your business.
Provide great service
There are many successful businesses that forget that providing great customer service is important. If you provide better service for your customers, they’ll be more inclined to come to you the next time they need something, instead of going to your competition.
Consistency is a key component to making money in business. You have to consistently do what is necessary to be successful day in and day out. This will create long-term positive habits that will help you make money in the long run.
Don’t let fear get in your way
Many allow fear to stop them from ever reaching their true potentials. You will experience self-doubt at some point in your life, but if you face your fears head-on, you will overcome them.
Surround yourself with inspiration
Think about those with whom you surround yourself. Do they inspire you or add value to your life? When you connect with those who push you to be better, you can’t help but dream bigger. Be a lifetime learner. Find those patterns and use what others are doing to inspire you. Remaining stagnant prohibits you from achieving what you need to accomplish in your career and in life as you launch your business and expand your company.
These tips work. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith, pursue something new and be open to the changes that stem from it.