How to start a successful small business? – This question has been asked over and over again on the internet. Every day, people spend ridiculous amounts of time searching the web in hopes that they’ll come across ideas that would help them answer this question. The thing that really bugs me about these people is that they are not looking for guidance, they’re looking for someone to literally tell them, speaking in metaphorical terms, where to dig, what kind of shovel to use and how big a hole to create.
Although there are tons of article in this digital cyberspace that offer all sorts of different tips and tricks on how to overcome various of types of obstacles that stand in your way on the road to success, most of them are not really helpful. In fact, I tend to see them as pretty dangerous.
Why? – Well, because they banalize things. They present certain information as bulletproof tips and tricks, while completely ignoring the fact that every business venture, no matter how similar it might look to the one that a certain author is describing in his post or comment, is actually a completely different adventure.
Having stated that, I can’t give you a hands-on idea on how to achieve success in the small businessman’s world. How come? – Because that would never work. If I had a great idea that I strongly believe is destined to make some serious cash, no offense, but I wouldn’t give it to you. I would develop it myself. Even if, for the sake of this post, I decide to share some of those million dollar ideas that are currently jumping around in my head with you, they still wouldn’t do you any good. Why? – Because you probably wouldn’t approach them with the same level of enthusiasm and dedication as I would.
So what now? Why should you even consider reading the rest of this post? Well, because I’m going to help you with different things. What I can do here is offer you some information that could be of great value to you, once you finally figure out what it is exactly that you want to do. I can guide you in the right direction, and even help you see where to start, what the emerging market opportunities for small business developers like yourself are, where to get investments and what kind of problems will be awaiting you on your road to success.
So, if this kind of information is something that could be of certain interest and value to you, please continue reading this blog post, and if not, well, thank you for reading this far.
Before coming up with a new business idea, have a long, honest and detailed look at yourself. We are all products of our past experiences and we all have unique sets of skill that could come in handy if put into right use. Apropos that, when thinking about what to do, it is highly advisable that you focus on what you already know and start a business where you have an unfair advantage. No one is going to welcome you with open hands into this business world, especially if you’re seen as a direct competitor. Founding companies is difficult so you need an unfair edge to win.
If you have a unique skill or network or knowledge – start there. Don’t let it go to waste. Like I already wrote on this blog, in this day and age, people only do business with experts. Why? – Well, because they can.
It doesn’t matter what kind of products and services they’re looking for, there’s always a ton of choices out there for them. These days, no one wants to pay for a bad service. Before spending some real cash and making a decision with whom they’re gonna do business, people spend hours and hours reviewing each and every potential company until they finally decide which one is the best for them.
By carefully investing in your company, you can present yourself as an expert to the world and make your potential customers see that you’re worth their time and money.
Knowing this, you probably shouldn’t start a business in a market where you as a consumer don’t fit in. For example, if you don’t like camping, maybe you shouldn’t try to sell tents and all that other outdoorsman gear.
As John Rampton, founder of Due, an online invoicing company, who was recently ranked third on on the Top 50 Online Influencers in the World list by Entrepreneur Magazine, wrote in his post for this publication: “Regardless of size, most businesses face many of the same challenges every day. Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations.”
Although he listed growing revenue, hiring employees and increasing profits as the top problems for every up and coming small business, I think he forgot to mentioned that knowing your audience, niching down your products and services, and figuring out how and where to market them has proven to be a common roadblock for this type of businessman.
As I already wrote on this blog, the key to winning big in today’s business world lies in niching down your ideas. You’ll have a greater chance of success if you design a product or service that solves problems for a specific group of people, instead of a larger crowd. The more niched down you can get, the better your results will be.
Most inexperienced owners of young businesses make the same mistake here – they market their work in passive spaces where competition is high. Want to make real money? Go where there isn’t competition – be proactive and hunt for problems to solve.
So, looking at everything written above, once again, it all boils down to your idea and testing it with the right crowd, before choosing to back it up with some real cash.
The internet is the biggest market in the world and the one that has been profiled down to the smallest detail – if your business isn’t optimized for it, you’re as good as dead. Okay, maybe not dead, but you’ll have an insanely hard time reaching out to your desired audiences and anticipating their intent without it. That’s why it’s of crucial importance that you, when you come up with your small business idea, think how and where you’re gonna market it online.
What I found to be common among most of these entrepreneurs who don’t add internet to their marketing mix and drag failed small business ventures behind their name, is the inability to understand that online marketing is not a one shot game, like buying an ad in the local newspaper or renting a billboard. On the web, you cannot just buy your way to the top of Google search engine results for every possible keyword that is somehow related to your small business. No, you have to earn your spot by constantly coming up with valuable content that stimulates people to engage with you and become loyal ambassadors of your brand. You need to invest in all sorts of different fields and know exactly where and how you’re gonna target your potential customers.
Successfully marketing your business online requires a lot more knowledge and effort than promoting your brand on various offline channels. That is why most people who don’t know that stupidly blow their budget on online advertising, get discouraged with the results and close up shop.
As someone who has a rich background in internet marketing, I have noticed that most of my former clients fail to see just how little they know about promoting their small business online. Instead of targeting a specific “ideal client” profile, they’re taking a generalistic approach. Therefore their messaging within their online marketing campaigns fails to reach those compelling prospects that would most like convert down their sales process.
I read an interesting post on MOZ a while back, which claimed that every business should spend at least $1 per day on Facebook advertising. Read it to have a better understanding of what I’m trying to present you with here.
Next to all of this, most small businesses don’t have a clearly identified online marketing strategy, meaning they don’t really know what makes their small business different from their direct competitors. How are you going to stand out from the crowd is there isn’t anything special about you and your business?
When coming up with an idea for a business, my suggestion is to always check all the available source like Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner and other to see if there’s any search volume behind them.
I hope that this blog post helped you better understand how to come up with a viable small business idea by yourself and test it to see if there is any sense in investing your time and money into making it real. This is a pretty broad subject, I tried cutting it short as much as I could, so if there something you feel I forgot to mention here – feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. If you have any questions about what I wrote here, write them down below and I’ll more than happy to answer them asap.
Thank your for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this article, I really appreciate it.
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.
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