Starting a business is a challenging yet gratifying experience. I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing entrepreneurs who drive Uber and Lyft part time. If you are embarking on a journey to start selling your own services or products, here are some tips for first time small business owners:
#1. Until you put it on paper, it’s just an idea
If you can’t articulate the problem you are solving, how you are solving it, your competitors, and secret sauce to win you need to do more homework. I like using a pitch deck approach to organize my business plan to make sure I can clearly communicate my plan of attack. PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
#2. Plan for success, but walk before you run
You need to have a mindset for success, no matter what obstacle gets in your way. With that said, you need to be realistic and understand the risks and threats that await you. There are many business tools for planning but I still find myself reverting to a traditional SWOT analysis.
#3. Find your perfect customer and make them the center of your universe
If you don’t know your customer, you don’t know anything. That is why you should start good habits with your first customer which should carry through to the 100th customer (and beyond). Create a customer advisor or advisory board early in your venture because they will keep you honest.
#4. Find the right people to help guide you
It is nearly impossible to create a successful business alone.. Your weaknesses (skills and abilities) should be what you seek from others who help you. Finding a mentor who has already traveled the path you are on is extremely valuable.
#5. Know your metrics
If you are starting a business today without a basic understanding of how to use data, you could be outmaneuvered by your competition. A “metric” is a simple way to measure the success of your business. In short, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
#6 Don’t start your business with legal and financial risk
You will need legal, financial, and other foundational investments to start your business on the right foot. There are many resources online ensure you are in legal, financial, and regulatory compliance.