Step 1 - Who are we and where are we headed?
Every successful business started with an idea, does not matter how small. I believe that most ideas have the potential to turn out successful with planning, a little logical thinking and a heart full of passion.
"If I only knew what I know today" is a common saying among business owners, but I do not think there is a manual or guide that will ever be able to protect you from mistakes. I do think that if you kick off on the right foot, your school fees will be cheaper. I would like to share some tips for those who want to listen.
Identify the “problem”
Every business starts with a "problem".
When we buy a drill, we do not want a drill, but a hole in the wall or even a work of art against the wall. The drill is just a tool to get to the desired result. You also need to be aware that there are multiple ways to obtain your photo against the wall. Your need is not to own a drill, there are many ways to decorate your home. This example is a form of indirect competition which is discussed in more depth later in this article.
In the process of identifying a "problem" over time, it becomes more straightforward for us to work later when we need to market the service or product. The person who wants to decorate his house does so quite possibly to solve another problem - possibly to experience peace and appreciation when they are in their house or possibly to be able to show and brag to others.
By digging deeper, we have unknowingly already identified two target markets.
Identify the value of the “problem”
This may be taken for granted, but problems have values and direct and indirect competition plays a big role in the price you can charge for a service or product.
What is direct and indirect competition?
Direct competition is a competitor that delivers an identical product or service. Indirect competition refers to products or services that solve the same problem but through a different product or service.
A fresh creative way of doing something is only a solution if we can offer it faster, more thoroughly or cheaper, otherwise, there is nothing unique that can attract potential customers to your product or service.
The easiest way to determine the value of your product effectively is, to be honest with yourself. Avoid selling tactics on yourself (yes, you read that right, stop guiding yourself around the forest and convince yourself of the 'good' things). Do not just try to get the answers you want to hear. Rather, focus on the answers you do not want to hear. It forces you to build your business and resist potential challenges.
A good way to look at it is to take a target customer and put yourself in his shoes and then weigh alternative solutions against each other. Again, it's important to not just look for answers you want to hear. A strong business is built on honesty (especially with yourself).
The marketing sector is a good example - software that automatically searches for customers and sells their products can sound expensive as it requires almost no time and effort to use. But the software can lead to significant sales which in turn leads to more profit.
Sometimes it takes a little time and energy to explain it to customers, but if we spend $3000 which leads to us making $30 000 more profit, is it not then a decision that has taken itself?
Start with "why?"
"Start with Why" is a book by Simon Sinek. The main focus of the book (as one can relatively easily deduce) is around the focal point of your business around the question "why?" to centre.
Once it's your angle, it's making your strategic planning a lot easier. This offers us a clear representation of the “right” answer for most questions that will come your way. I suggest any entrepreneur read this book.
Make a list of core values
Core values are a very interesting concept (for me). A few years ago I would have been the first person to tell you that it is not necessary. But in my search for depth (in everything I do), I did realize that core values are one of the most important elements of a business.
But the problem with core values is this: sometimes we choose principles just to be able to say we have them - however, they are wrong. Core values should be part of your day-to-day operations.
It's part of the business's personality (yes, every business has a personality, it's discussed later in the series) and forms part of your decision making. However, the purpose of the exercise is to think deeply about your business. Everyone is honest, sincere and accountable. In my opinion, these are just nice words against a wall, the assumption with core values is that we use them as a decision-making criterion in EVERYTHING we do.
In every situation the question must be - are we being honest and sincere? Core values do not have to be complex, it is more important to live out simple core values in your business than it is just something you filled in at a “Start your business” workshop somewhere in your past.
Wrestling with money generation and the end-user
I often see people diving into opportunities just because they see the opportunity making money fast. I may not be smart enough to understand many of these things (that may be why I do not make a lot of money), but fortunately, this is my series and I can force my agendas on you (wink).
I will use the recent "tree" in the game industry as an example. To this day, no one has been able to explain to me why game prices are so expensive. It is always explained to me that the reason for the high price is because the animal is gold or because its horns are so big, but most of the time it is just said: Game sells for x number at an auction as if it completes the case.
So, I just want to confirm, we buy this goat and hope with everything in us that his children also get his good genes and then sell his children to the next sheep that is having the problem.
Let's take the auction out of the picture (and yes, I'm still ignorant), I assume there's another use behind buying a game than just selling it, who's your end-user then? The hunter? Does the price make sense then?
Not really. So all that happens is that some guy decided he was willing to pay x number for something and everyone else saw it was the price the product was going for and also jumped on the bandwagon. There is no logic behind the decision.
I include this as I want one to think about the value you offer to users with your product or service - This is the cornerstone of a sustainable business.
Set your goals
I think one underestimates the value of goals. We can distinguish between short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are usually something we can achieve within 12 months. These are also the steps to reach your long-term goals.
The value of a long-term goal is greater than one might think. First, it forces you as a business owner to think (and dream) about the future of your business. If you do not actively have the long-term plan in your head, it's like going on vacation without a final destination and just driving and hoping you'll get somewhere. Your short-term goals are the route you follow.
I also believe in acting as if you have already achieved your goals, decisions should be based on the future.
Write your organogram
What is an organogram, you ask?
An organization chart also called an organization chart or organogram, is a diagram that shows the structure of an organization, relationships and relative ranking of its parts and positions/positions.- Wikipedia
An organogram is a funny thing, one does not always realize how much guidance it offers.
My philosophy is to compile the organogram with titles instead of names. Also, write down your organogram as if you were already a mature company. When you're done, assign names to titles - one name can add more than one title. The reason is that there is a clear hierarchy in place as you move new employees into titles. The responsibilities of each title are also incredibly important.
The organogram also serves as a road map for new employees to see where they are and where they are going.
Please also read the following article for more "in-depth" guidelines. https://www.emyth.com/inside/your-organization-chart
In conclusion, I believe that these tips will definitely assist you with the goal of starting a successful business. Never stop learning and trying, you only fail when you stop trying.