Walking the entrepreneurial path is both rewarding and challenging in equal measures. It’s a choice that will completely alter your life. It will reveal aspects about you that you never knew existed, and make you face hurdles and obstacles you could never have foreseen. Unpredictability is synonymous with business, at least in its initial stages.
Having said that, it is undisputed that one needs to be thoroughly prepared before entering the business realm and arm themselves with extensive knowledge of what is required to flourish in their chosen industry. All preparations for the new venture can only start once you have zeroed in on the business you want to create. In this post, I will tell you how to choose the small business that will fuel your creativity, imagination, and also keep your pockets warm.
1. Recognize and Tap Into Your Strengths
'You are really good at this!' Heard this once too often about something you do? What is that talent you possess that gives you an edge over the rest? Can you cook like nobody’s business? Are you an expert organizer? Does everybody stop to listen when you speak?
The point is, you need to identify what your strengths and passion are and figure out if you can make a profitable vocation out of it. Any business is a product of passion and skills. The two primary determinants of the right small business for you, hence, will be:
a. Does it get you excited? Will you want to do this every single day?
b. Do you have the skills and qualities needed to run the business?
If the answer to the above questions is yes, then you should consider the business option seriously. An ideal business is one that demands and allows you to use your strengths optimally. So if you have planning skills, you can consider going into a business like brand image building, public relations management, or even event management. If you have the gift of the gab and are proficient with words, consider setting up your own writing firm or venture into something more adventurous and fulfilling like travel writing.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Charter into New Territories If They Seem More Lucrative
Drawing from our previous point, being an entrepreneur is not always about taking the safe route. If there is something you feel passionately about, go ahead and do it. Money and return on investment are obviously important but don’t make these the sole motives for starting a business.
Do not resist investing in something that seems like your calling, but you feel will not prove lucrative. Most successful entrepreneurs and businessmen followed their passion and went on to achieve huge success. If you are doing something you are passionate about, the money will follow. Don’t let passion take a backseat for short-term monetary goals.
3. Do Ample Market Research
While some of us are fired up and sure about achieving a specific goal, a lot of us get pulled in different directions and feel like we have multiple talents, passions, and skills. So how do we encompass everything and arrive at the ideal business that we can begin on a small scale?
The answer lies in market research. Do thorough and extensive market research in the domains you are considering. Look for gaps and unmet needs in the market. Assess the potential customer base realistically, check prices of complementary and substitute products, if there are any.
Figure out the initial investment you will require, and the ways in which you can gather funds. Seek out lenders and investors and find out if you can get adequate funding. Feel the pulse of the market and the ongoing trends, and decide which business will address the demands of a large section and rake in the profits while also allowing you to function independently.
The thing with small businesses is that if you have too many external agencies and suppliers involved in the initial stages, you get highly dependent. This will cause you to become capital-intensive and also affect the end result and overall productivity. So it is imperative that you zero in on a small business idea that centers more around you and your skill set, and less on external elements, at least in the initial stages.
4. Think of the Time You Are Willing to Devote
A lot of entrepreneurs tend to ignore this basic aspect when thinking of a small-business idea. In the short and long terms, the time you are willing to devote to your business is of paramount importance and will determine the trajectory your business takes.
How much time are you ready to invest in your business? Do you want a business that allows you free time during weekends or are you ready to opt for a business that needs you to be alert, up and about at all hours of the day?
Your choice of business should be directly based on your mental frame, and the time it will require vis-a-vis the time you want to give. Having said that, all businesses require more effort, time and dedication in the initial stages. Assess your priorities and then opt for a business idea. If you don’t, there's a high chance of your business will wrap up quickly once you start facing obstacles and start feeling frustrated due to your inability to give it enough time.
5. Get Your Finances Sorted
Do you have the required capital to start your business? Are you going to bootstrap or seek out loans from banks and financial institutions? Do you meet the financial eligibility to even receive adequate loans?
Get financial projections for your business done by expert firms, and take these preliminary projections seriously. Make sure you have the financial aspect of your business sorted out unambiguously. Evaluate and assess the risk-versus-investment ratio. Make informed decisions about the business you want to start accordingly.
6. Look within and Assess If You Have What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur
Not all of us have the drive, the motivation or the courage to become an entrepreneur. If you are planning to become one, I am sure you have put a lot of thought into it. However, do introspect regularly, look within and be sure you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Read biographies of self-made entrepreneurs, and invest in a few motivational books. If you can, do a trial run of your small business on a demo group prior to launching it in full force. When starting out, you can run your business alongside your job so you get the hang of running the business, while still maintaining a steady source of income. However, make sure you only do this if you are not going to compromise in either area. It’s a good way to pilot test the business, innovate and also find out exactly how you should run your business.
So these are the cardinal rules to follow if you intend to start a small business or are exploring different small-scale business ideas. Hopefully, this has been helpful, and you are on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.