Contributed by Amelie Ward.
Starting a personal business is a difficult endeavor.
But it’s also one more that a lot of people are undertaking today.
Some working professionals have lost jobs and are looking to turn personal skills or passions into paying work; some new graduates find the idea of inventing their own jobs more appealing than that of finding employment;
And countless people are in the process of turning “side hustle” activities into more concrete businesses.
Add all of this up, and it’s fair to say that entrepreneurship is rather trendy these days.
As much as that appears to be the case though, starting a successful business is still difficult, it requires a great deal of effort, and to some extent, every budding business will pose its own unique difficulties.
There are however some general ideas that can be helpful for a majority of hopefully entrepreneurs looking to start off on the right track.
The following are a few of those ideas we’d recommend prospective business owners take to heart.
1. Figure Out Your Story
In explaining ‘How to Start a Side Hustle While Working 9-5’ the advice was given that if something “doesn’t touch the customer” you shouldn’t touch it.
This can mean a few different things really.
In that context, it was referring to the idea that you should only spend money on things that directly improve the customer experience. Similarly, though, the advice can apply to the branding of your business and the story you tell.
When you’re just starting out, it’s crucial to figure out a concise way to communicate your passion, what problem your company hopes to solve, and what value you provide to customers.
Figure out a message that will “touch the customer” and you’ll be in good shape to pitch the business as it grows.
2. Establish Multiple Streams of Revenue
If possible it’s a good idea to launch your business with multiple streams of revenue as well.
For instance, if you’re selling products, you might also consider selling a subscription box.
If you’re selling a service, you might also set up a blog with paid, premium content relating to said service.
If you’re looking to turn a blog into a business, to begin with, perhaps a subscription newsletter or some blog-related merchandise could bring in extra revenue. Whatever the specifics, multiple revenue streams will make your business both more profitable and more resilient.
3. Start With Dynamic Payment Processing
Whether a business is being set up entirely online or it has a brick-and-mortar component as well, dynamic digital payment processing is vital.
This may sound somewhat complicated, but really it just means investing in the systems and devices needed to process payments with different currencies and from different sources (such as credit cards, PayPal, digital currency, and so on). This is mainly a means of making sure that each prospective customer you encounter can conveniently purchase goods or services.
However, FIS Global’s take on growing digital companies points out that a dynamic processing setup also introduces the potential for global expansion.
Even a small business can generate international sales if it’s built to handle payments of different kinds.
4. Set Up Influencer Marketing
Seeking support from so-called influencers is one of the hottest trends in the marketing world these days — to the point that a Business Insider analysis on the topic claimed that brands will spend $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022.
Now, to be clear this is mostly referring to major investments in famous celebrities with massive social media followings.
For a big brand to make use of influencer marketing, that’s what it takes. However, an “influencer” doesn’t have to be a celebrity. It can also just be someone with a literal influence in a given industry or market.
For this reason, it’s worthwhile to take some time to consider the big voices in the field you’re entering and to see if any of them are open to helping to build out your brand. If it works out this can result in a significant boost in activity and attention, and can really help you get off the ground.
5. Address Debt From the Outset
Lastly, you should also address personal and/or business-related debt as early as possible when you’re just starting out. This enables you to launch the business as free as possible from unwanted financial obligations.
From there, you should also consider Entrepreneur’s tips for avoiding debt as you grow.
These tips include sticking to a budget, avoiding credit cards, consolidating bills, and doing your homework when you’re seeking loans or other influxes of cash. These are not obscure or uncommon strategies, but they’re important to keep in mind. A business free of debt is one that’s free to grow.
The success of your personal business will ultimately depend on a number of other factors unique to the business itself. With that said though, these general tips will help to lay a foundation for growth that you can build on.
Last modified: September 15, 2020