“I have an idea for my business… where do I start?”

“I have an idea for my business… where do I start?”

In the words of the prolific African-American millionaire from Birmingham, AL, A. G. Gaston, Find the need and fill it. Successful people are founded on the needs of the people.

Everything ever created began from an idea, a curiosity, or a what if? Most businesses never start because the concept, interest, or question isn’t answered, pursued, researched, or developed. Starting a business seems daunting, but what do you do if you are ready to seek the answer to that problem? A few steps need to happen before applying for that LLC. 

  1. Write – get all your ideas on paper. Think about your likes and dislikes, the things that keep you awake a night or distracted at work. 
    1. Answer the five questions – who, what, when, where, and how. 
  2. Research – make sure that answer does exist. There may be a gadget or program already in place that is unfamiliar to you. Is there a process or problem at your job that you could improve?  
    1. Examine the competition. If a product exists in the market, find out the distribution, customer feedback, price point, and manufacturing.
    2. Consider how you will fund your idea. Will you require a loan? Do you have family members that might invest? Will you need a grant?
    3. Find your tribe. Social media is a great place to find groups of business owners in your field of interest. 
  3. Talk – do you have a mentor or a trusted group of friends? Provide them with an overview of your idea. Let them ask questions. They should be someone who will provide insight and ask questions, giving you a perspective that you haven’t thought of before. 
    1. Don’t sabotage yourself! Do not talk yourself out of a space because of fear of oversaturation. Even if someone is doing what you desire to do doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you. 
    2. Don’t allow your family and friends to discourage you. Use their feedback as fuel. 
  4. Draft a business plan – this step seems like a big one, but it will give you a launching pad to just do it.
    1. Create your executive summary – this is your elevator pitch. You should be able to tell a stranger your business in 30 seconds or 3 – 5 sentences.
    2. Describe and name your company – Google your ideas to ensure the name doesn’t exist. Decide if you will be an LLC, a corporation, a partnership, a non-profit, etc.
    3. Determine your marketing strategy – this answers why you or your product and why now.
    4. Define your avatar – who is your ideal customer or client? Where do they live and work? What do they drive, or how do they commute? What is their family makeup? How do they spend their free time? Think through all the aspects of who you want as your business consumer.
    5. Decide your price point – how much would you like to make each month? Don’t be unreasonable but don’t sell yourself short. There are customers who will pay what you offer. 
    6. Think big – what is your 3 – 5 year projection for your business? 
      1. Create goals and establish benchmarks. Failing to plan is planning for failure. 

Starting and owning your own business is a big leap and requires a lot of faith. Take your time and do your research. However, there will never be the right time to start. There will be setbacks as well as setups. You are the answer to someone’s problem. 

Go.Be. is here as a resource for you. Learn more at www.gobe.org

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