Following on from last week’s blog, here are further insights to the challenges you should take into consideration before handing in your resignation and going it alone with your own business.
5. Know your target market and core customer: this is so important, you need to narrow down who is going to buy your services and spend your time business developing into this core group of Companies / individuals. Ask yourself the following: where will I sell? What will I sell? Who will I sell to? The answers to these questions will allow you to narrow down your business development opportunities, where you should spend time networking and where to focus your marketing.
There are many sources of marketing and only so many avenues you can go down to get your services to market. Don’t waste your time trying to be everything to everyone – if your target market is following Instagram, then have the best Instagram account you can possibly have. Those providing businesses with services, it’s unlikely that you need to have anything more than a presence on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and your Company website is possibly where you need to spend your time. Marketing takes time, effort and money to maintain, focus only where you clients are likely to be checking you out.
6. Networking: There are many ways to network in the region - BNI, speed networking and business groups are a few examples and not all networking groups require you to pay an annual membership. To decide which one works best for you, the easy answer is to try as many as you can, you can attend most as guests, and don’t feel any pressure to join immediately until you feel comfortable with your choice.
The best networking meeting is the one where your target market will also be attending, or the people in the room share the same target market as you. Take your time, make a considered choice, networking is an amazing way to find new business through referral partners and connections. However, it needs to be the right group otherwise you are spending your time drinking coffee with people that you are not able to help and are not able to help you.
7. Ask advice: In the beginning try and find someone that’s been through what you’re going through and get some free non-judgemental advice and support. Friends and family will try and help, but realistically you need someone that’s taken the plunge themselves, that are able to give solid and practical advice rather than the “well dear, best get yourself a full-time job and monthly salary!” well intentioned I’m sure, but not helpful when needing to know what action you need to take next.
Find someone that you feel safe talking to, someone you trust to listen and give advice. When things settle down business wise for you, to grow and expand your business, get yourself a business coach and invest in yourself and your Company. The most effective way to grow your business is down to the help and business support your coach can give you.
8. Remember your why: There are going to be days where you wonder why you ever decided to do this! As I mentioned in last week’s blog, this is likely to be the hardest thing you will ever do. At times of self-doubt you need to remember why you decided to set your own business up in the first place. Remembering your why will help refocus your day and dampen down the flames of self-doubt.
9. Be present: followers of this blog already know my frustrations on the assumption that the summer months will be quieter business wise. There is business to be won during the summer, and you need to be present and available to your clients to follow up quickly. This is not just limited to summer, when you are running your own business, your business follows you wherever you go, you need to access and answer your clients, this means being present on social media, email and if needed Skype/Zoom sessions.
Clients are understanding of the need to travel for work/holidays, answering and arranging meetings for when you are back shows your commitment to your services and potentially delays them looking to your competitor for answers.
10. Set yourself a routine: I have personally found this really helps. Remember your why, did you decide to run your own business so that you have more time for yourself, to work flexible hours, to go to the gym/ beach on a regular basis? If you did, then make sure you do this. Set time aside in your diary for personal events and keep to them.
Working from home can also be a time-wasting monster, so many distractions that can stop you getting your work done. Try and set yourself a working routine, a set start and finish time, find yourself a shared working space and work from there occasionally.
Keep a to do list and start the day with a list of what needs to get done that day and cross them off as you go, its rewarding to know what you have achieved in a day.
I hope the 10 points covered in the 2 weeks have given you some things to take into consideration should you be thinking of setting up your own business. If you would like any advice or a friendly pair of ears, please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org