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Article Contributed by Kara Masterson

Planning to take that crucial first step towards becoming a new business owner? If you build your business properly, there’s no limit to how successful you could be. It’s unlikely that you’re going to “get rich quick,” but if you’re willing to put in the work and you know what you’re doing, it’s certainly possible to create the business of your dreams.

When you’re a budding entrepreneur, knowledge is power. It’s important to learn from both the successes and failures of previous business owners. Here are four pointers to get you started on the right track.

Find Your Unique Selling Proposition

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is how you differentiate your business from its competition. If you don’t have one, why would a customer choose you over all their other options?

Think about what you can offer to your customers that your competition doesn’t have. Maybe that’s a special product feature – M&M’s set themselves apart by using a hard sugar coating to prevent their chocolates from melting. Or it could be your pricing – Southwest Airlines did this by offering no fees on your first two checked bags at a time when all other airlines were going the opposite direction.

Take Your Time Putting Together Your Business Plan

Too many entrepreneurs are in a rush to get their businesses launched and spend minimal time on their business plans as a result. Then, they waste time and money on issues that could have been avoided with proper planning.

Your business plan should include your USP, your startup costs, your target market, your profitability estimates and your plans for the early stages of the business. You should spend at least a day putting this together, and you may want to spend a week putting it together and revising it.

Surround Yourself with the Right People

There’s a saying that you are the average of the five or six people you surround yourself with the most. If those people are ambitious and have positive mindsets, they will likely help you succeed. If they’re lazy and negative, they’ll only hold you back from achieving your dreams.

It’s especially important to find the right people in terms of business partners and employees. You want people who are just as driven as you are and who you can trust. When you’re launching a business, you also need to find people who have versatile skillsets and can fulfill many different roles.

Hone in on Your Target Market

Just like you need to know what your business offers that’s unique, you also need to know who exactly you’re targeting with your products or services. The more you narrow this down, the better, because it makes your marketing easier. You wouldn’t use the same marketing methods on teenagers that you would on senior citizens, which is why you need a precise target market.

An example of a target market that would be far too broad is “women ages 18 to 45.” You’d want to narrow that down to something like “women ages 24 to 32 with a bachelor’s degree or higher and annual income of $60,000 to $100,000,” which will give you a more specific profile to use as the focus of your marketing efforts.

You shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes when it comes to starting a business, but you shouldn’t be eager to make them, either. Remember that even large and successful companies with a history of good customer service can have their names dragged through the mud, like during the supposed ACN scam, so a little adversity is to be expected. When you keep these four pointers in mind as you start your business, you can avoid some of the most common mistakes and have a far better chance at success.


 
 
 

 
 

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