If 2016 was the year for small business owners and entrepreneurs, then 2017 is the year that millennial entrepreneurs are redefining businesses that place value on quality and social purpose.
According to Statistics Canada, almost 959,000 Canadians worked at least two jobs in 2015. Whether it is to chase a passion or to cover the high costs of living, it’s become the norm to diversify your income stream on your own terms.
In America’s SBDC (Small Business Development Center), it’s been found that nearly a third of millennials have started a business. 75% of millennials reported that they’d be open to starting a business if they had access to some kind of resources.
What does this mean? It means that we’re trying to find a good balance between surviving in this current financial climate and creating something of our own. With the rise of digitalizing work and social media, it is easier to reach a larger audience out there and tell your story. We’re no longer in the era of selling products door-to-door nor are we required to open a business in the traditional brick-and-mortar style.
If you think you have a good business idea but are unsure how to get started, here are ten things we think you should know:
1. Have a Vision
What is your standout product or service that you are offering to the world? Is it something that you are passionate about?
Consumers nowadays are very interested in knowing the back story of your project and how it impacts the world around you. Whether it is supporting a local business, limiting carbon footprint, buying sustainable products or supporting a charity, people want to know that they are contributing to something bigger than just buying product.
2. Be Realistic
Once you’ve decided on your offering, it’s time to pool your ideas down and decide if you’re ready to launch your business. Take the time to carefully plan and research your product and the current market climate. Take the necessary amount of time to consider what is realistic. Don’t use up too much of your valuable time and money without having a detailed plan in place.
3. Be Flexible
Sometimes, you may need to shift focus or to alter your idea to better cater to a specific need. That’s why the best approach is to start with a simplified idea that can be tweaked and adjusted along the way.
In a highly competitive and fast-paced market, it’s important to have the flexibility to refine operations when necessary. Being able to do so is never a sign of failure, it’s always a sign of adaptability.
4. Know Who Your Customers Are
Who is your key demographic? Construct a marketing and communications plan that includes a feasible distribution strategy. Decide how you will market your products, drive customers to your website and deliver your products or services to them. Knowing your audience’s purchasing habits and where they get information are key factors in building that strategy.
5. Identify Your Competitors
Scope out similar businesses in your geographical area and in your industry. Do they offer something similar? Take from their best practices and adopt them to your own business. If there is a similar business, become their customer by visiting their website, following them on social media and subscribing to their e-newsletter. From these learnings, it may inspire you to provide something better, more cost-effectively or more impactful to your client base.
6. Research the Market
You may be enthusiastic about your big idea and may be raring to get started but is there a need for what you are offering? Does it solve a problem? Is there market potential and how big is the market share? Put yourself in the shoes of your customers to fully understand if your product fills a gap in the market.
7. Community Support
It takes a community even if you are running your business on your own. There are many resources and support communities available to assist you, and many of them are free. Seek out specific groups on social media platforms, such as Facebook, and resources, such as the Joint Development Collective team, and talk to fellow entrepreneurs about how they got started. The important takeaway is that you don’t need to do this alone.
8. Trust Your Instincts
Do you believe in your big idea? After thoroughly planning out the steps to launch your business and talking to support groups, friends and family, do you still feel passionate about what you have to offer? It is important to find your niche but what is even more important is to believe in it. Having the drive to get your idea of the ground, especially when things times are tough, is key to continue pushing you forward.
9. Keep an Eye on Trends
It is neither a smart idea nor a possible task to be oblivious to current and upcoming trends. Stay abreast of trends by following similar accounts on social media, reading articles from industry experts and listening to business podcasts. Follow similar businesses in other cities and analyze what they are doing differently.
10. Put Yourself Out There
We are our worst critics and we often sell ourselves short before giving us a chance to succeed. It is all too easy to discourage ourselves from trying, but you never know until you take that leap of faith and try it out. Don’t be afraid of taking the risk. As long as you have done your research, take pride in what you have to offer.
Want to develop your business ideas even further?