If you want to succeed in something, having a solid and actionable plan is crucial. Running a business is no exception. Writing a detailed business plan might sound daunting but it gives you a blueprint how you can turn your intangible business idea to a reality. A typical business plan includes sections such as market analysis, customer analysis and financial analysis. All this information serves as a solid base to build your business.Without a clear understanding of the market, for example, you might waste months to build a product that nobody would buy.
Don’t know your target customers
When you create a product, you have to design the features and functions with your target customers in mind. Let’s take the mobile phone as an example. You want to develop a smartphone that is super easy to use for the elderly. The very first step you should do, before designing anything, is to talk with some elderly and understand their struggles when using the smartphones available on the market. They might have problems such as the touchscreen isn’t sensitive enough, the phone case is too slippery, the interface is too complicated, etc. After your research, you would know how you should design your product so you have a market. This step is extremely important, it validates your business idea as well as helps you understand better what your target customers want.
In addition to the product, knowing your target customer scan also help you find the right channels to engage with them. For instance, if you want to sell a smartphone to the elderly demographics, you might want to advertise on a newspaper or magazine that most elderly read instead of running an ad on Tik Tok.
Under-price your product
Selling your products at a lower price to gain more marketshare might not be a bad thing. It is called marketing penetration pricing. If done right, it could help increase your profit in a long run. However, this strategy isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have enough fund to cover the initial loss of profit, you might sabotage your business. Also, be prepared that there is a chance that your customers are accustomed to the lower prices and they would not stay once your products are getting more expensive.
When starting a business, we want to have the best – choosing the best business name, the best logo, the best tagline and the list goes on but you don’t have to have the best software and hardware at the start, especially when your budget doesn’t allow expensive purchases. For instance, you don’t need to have costly accounting software to manage your bookkeeping –try Excel. Same for your business website, you can easily build one using one of those drag and drop website builders. It’s affordable and you can manage the design and content without hiring anyone.
Do everything by yourself
Doing everything by yourself is unavoidable at the beginning but as the business grows, it’s time to think about hiring someone to take some tasks off your plate. Getting the most needed help doesn’t have to be expensive.You can start with getting a part-time virtual assistant to help you with some admin tasks, such as taking general enquiry calls, managing your diary, travel booking, bookkeeping and so on. With this assistance, you can focus on the tasks that grow your business. However, don’t forget to grow your team strategically. Your first hire might be a part-time virtual assistant to help out with the repetitive tasks but look for someone who has the potential to grow with your company. The virtual assistant might be doing the simple tasks at the beginning but he or she might want to or have the potential to be a sales manager in a year or two. At that time, you could hire him or her full-time to help out with your sales.
Running a business will never be mistake-free. The most important thing is we learn from our mistakes and make better decisions. My final tip to make your entrepreneurial journey a bit smoother – talk with the people who are on the same boat or have been where you are so you can learn from their experience. Their first handed experience is the best and the most valuable advice you can ever get.
Image by Artem Gavrysh