Develop a message. You need a message or a theme. Something to make you standout in whatever area you are starting out in. But it needs to make sense and be and sound professional. Avoid cliches and catch phrases. Could make you sound to small or too much of a here today and gone tomorrow type of organization. Sort of like those continuous improvement programs your old company was always setting up to better the workplace – but they never worked. Form a committee... have a few meetings and... fail. Remember? Right... skip that step.
Fully understand the market. Make sure you fully understand the market and know your competition as well as your target customer or audience. Not understanding the market and how you should insert yourself into it and consider your growth pattern can lead to early disasters that you might not recover from.
Start small and grow. Growth is nice. Slow growth is great. Avoid explosive growth as you might find yourself over-promising and under-delivering. Most areas right now have a great supply of workers, but on-boarding any employee takes some time and is not without cost. Not to mention the physical limitations of space that needs to be consider during any period of growth.
Consider your strengths, skills and availability. Know your own strengths, skills and abilities. Anytime you start a business, starting one where you have some solid knowledge and expertise is wise – and starting one where you have passion and interest will mean you're likely going to enjoy the entire adventure that much more. Passion drives success. Skills and knowledge form the foundation for that success.
Surround your self with advisors and mentors. You have the knowledge and skills – but you also need your support team. Be sure to surround yourself with some knowledgeable go-to individuals who have been there and done that and have some industry knowledge. You might have some competition so having experts on your side will be a plus to sustained growth and success.
Know your numbers. Know what you need to be successful. Know what your revenue needs to be, what your profit margin needs to be in year one, two, three, etc. I was doing a fundraiser booklet one time for an organization in a small town and the local gas station owner – bless his heart – had no idea how much % off he could give on an oil change and still remain profitable. It was painful to watch him twitch.
What about the pandemic? One can't consider starting a business in any state without at least giving some consideration to the Coronavirus pandemic. As people are eager to get out and do some shopping it is far better to be starting a business late in 2020 than last Spring.
Consider your own expertise and knowledge base and bridge the gaps... fast. Go with what you know. This goes without saying but if you have no knowledge of animals or don't like animals, don't open a pet store. But if you dogs of fish or cats or birds, then by all means follow your passion. Your success should come easier. Your learning will be more fun and enthusiastic.
Network and attend the right workshops – you can't do it tomorrow. There's workshop, YouTube videos, Facebook groups and face to face networking meetings and clubs on nearly every topic imaginable. Immerse yourself in several to gain additional knowledge and to add to your support circle.
Check out all the legal angles – you must do it right. Be sure to set your business up correctly from a legal sense. Know the area specific laws and requirements – a wrong turn and legal fees can quickly bankrupt a business.
Start NOW and improve as you go – waiting for “just the right time” will mean you never start. Don't be afraid to fail. Failure is learning – success is too, but we learn more from failures. Think about all those couples that wanted to wait till they had enough money to start having kids and then never did and regretted it forever. Don't be them. Take the leap of faith.
Don't forget insurance. Investigate what kind or type of insurance is needed or advised for your business choice and get it. You won't be sorry.