So you’ve decided you want to start a business. Now what? Where do you even begin? This 8-question quiz can point you in the right direction and provide you with information and guidance to get started on your own business venture.
Innovate and Disrupt
Plenty of people participate in the gig economy, working sidelines with companies like Uber, Instacart or SpoonRocket. But someone like you started these services. If the idea of creating a disruptive solution to a common problem appeals to you, think about the problem you’re trying to solve and find a way to do so with your skill set.
If your background is in managing construction supply chains, for example, finding an innovative way to make that easier could be a winning strategy. Think about how you can use crowdsourcing and technology to reduce overhead, create networks of reliable people and services, and make things easier on your potential clients than your competition does.
If innovation is for you, it’s worth noting that innovation isn’t easy. For every Uber, there’s an app-driven service provider that didn’t quite make it, and recognizing the potential pitfalls and obstacles will be key to your success. Is there demand for the marketplace you’re creating? Are you providing enough incentive to use your marketplace? Are you effectively matching up customers and service providers, and is the price right?
Provide a Service
Nearly every business outsources tasks to other businesses. Companies hire cleaning services, IT firms and delivery services, and private individuals need services too. To decide what kind of service to provide, think about what your strengths are. Are you organized and good at cleaning? Skilled with computers and technology? Do you know how to build a car from the chassis up? Start a service that capitalizes on your skills as well as your interests.
Think about whether your service is seasonal, who it’s for, what areas might make the best locations and who is your competition in that area. Be aware, also, that knowing how to provide a service is different from knowing how to market it, sell it, and provide customer support. Once you’re able to, hire (or contract with) other people with skill sets you lack to help you with those aspects of your business.
Location is key for an entrepreneur who provides services such as cleaning, repair or delivery. Ensure that the location you’re thinking about has strong enough demand to keep your business healthy, and pay close attention to your competition.
Become a Maker or Creator
Makers and creators include artists, writers, web designers, carpenters and other people who create for a living. You might make handcrafted, artisanal products, or you might be interested in larger-scale manufacturing. Whichever you choose, your biggest challenge is going to be getting your product to your customers.
Setting the right price is key. You need to ensure that your price is competitive, but that it grants you enough margin to make a living when all is said and done. You’ll need to figure out how to manage your supply chain, where to store your raw materials or equipment, and whether you’re selling your product through retailers or direct to consumers. Some makers, like web designers or graphic designers, work on a contract basis, selling directly to consumers and creating products to their specifications.
As a maker, you’ll need to get involved with sales and marketing, to ensure that people know about your product and have an easy way to buy it. If you need raw materials, you’ll need a way to get them that is cost-effective, and an equally cost-effective way to store them and to ship the final product.
Start a Franchise
A franchise is a ready-made enterprise using a proven business model, but that doesn’t mean it’s without risk. Franchising typically requires a significant upfront investment and may not show profitability for at least a year. Franchises also fail at about the same rate as independently run businesses, so franchising is by no means a guarantee of success.
That said, a franchise can be a great choice for someone with the drive to open and run a business, but who wants to buy into an already-successful structure. As a franchise owner, you’ll be a professional manager, and your people skills will come in handy. Unlike many independently owned businesses, when you open a franchise, you’ll have employees and customers out of the gate, and you’ll also spend time working with vendors, fellow franchisees, and your franchisor.
Knowing which franchise to open is important. There are some franchises with proven success records, but it’s important to know which franchise is right for your area. Who is your competition? Who is the target audience? What other businesses are in the area that can provide customers or synergy?
The Rivier Advantage
No matter what kind of business you decide to start, an online business degree from Rivier University can help. Learn the skills you need to start and manage your own business venture, and do it on your schedule.