How to choose the right business for you
When it comes to business, most people would rather start their own instead of working for someone else. If you are one such person, you will know just how tricky it can be to choose the right business for you. There are plenty of things to consider, as you will be laying a lot on the line, not to even mention the fact that others (investors, employees) will likely be relying on the success of your business to get by.
When it comes to business, most people would rather start their own instead of working for someone else. If you are one such person, you will know just how tricky it can be to choose the right business for you. There are plenty of things to consider, as you will be laying a lot on the line, not to even mention the fact that others (investors, employees) will likely be relying on the success of your business to get by. Before you jump in the deep-end and start making difficult decisions, consider the following factors to help you choose a business that will work well for you.
What do you have to offer?
Think about your strengths and weaknesses, and let those guide you. For example, if you are a people’s person, you could probably do well in an industry that involves a lot of client interaction, such as the service industry. If you’d prefer not to have to interact with too many people on a daily basis, perhaps opening an online store is a better option for you. Either way, you need to establish where your strengths and weaknesses lie, as this will guide you in the right direction.
What does your skill-set allow for?
Nothing is more important than feeling fulfilled in your job. We spend so much of our time working, so it’s important to make sure that we enjoy as much of that time as possible. Most people are trained in what they enjoy most – either through formal education, or through gaining experience in that field. Look at where your skillset will point you, and consider starting up a business in that field. However, try and make sure that you can also offer something that sets you apart from your competitors.
What does your experience tell you?
Over the years, you are sure to have seen business models that work and those that don’t. Look back on the experience you have, whether it be in a professional or personal capacity, and pick up on areas that you think are lacking. Think about what frustrated you when you were a client at another business, as well as what you knew was frustrating your clients when you worked for someone else. Perhaps try to fill a gap in the market with your new business and look at what you can do to make clients’ experiences more enjoyable.
Where do you want the business to go?
Before you decide on what kind of business to start, think about where you want to be in five years’ time. Do you think you may want to sell the business, or would you rather take a hands-on approach and stay with it every step of the way? If the former sounds more like you, then consider an industry that allows for it, and do the same for the latter if that applies to you.
Starting a business can be challenging enough as it is. However, smart business choices can help lead you to a place where you know exactly what kind of business it is that you need to start. No matter what kind of business you end up starting, Sage One offers Business Start-Up Bundles, so that once you’re up and running, you can stay on top of all your business management needs.
Featured image: http://www.isvmag.com
Getting into exporting
Our globalised world requires giving thought with global scope to our business. Where appropriate, you may come to believe that your product has a market beyond the confines of your immediate surroundings. You may be right, and here’s how to begin to evaluate whether the grass is greener (and the profit margins wider).
Barriers to entry
You may have a product that can compete with foreign products of a similar calibre, all things being equal. But it’s rarely so simple – depending on your product and your prospective market, the target country may look to exclude foreign companies from competing with domestic producers. If you’re a South African producer, there are a number of beneficial trade agreements of which you may take advantage – AGOA, with the USA opens up a large market to your goods. Check which tariffs you may be subject to using the WTO website.
Linked to tariffs are what are known as Non-Tariff Barriers-to-entry, or NTBs. These are standards that importing countries place on certain goods in order to protect domestic consumers. Sanitary regulations might be in play – the EU, for instance, insists on strict (some say excessive) quality controls for certain agricultural stock. Your product may get turned back if it doesn’t accord to the importing country’s standards
You know a lot about your product. You’ve developed it, discovered the costs, and, following your importing research, you’ll know where you can sell it profitably. But you need to know which of those countries has a market that might want to buy your products.
There are a number of ways that you can go about discovering what sort of interest people in foreign markets may have in what you’re producing. As a small business, you’re unlikely to have the funds to hire a market research firm in your target country, but you can get a semblance of that knowledge via other means.
One effective way to discover whether people are interested in you products is to run online ads across a demographic on certain key words. Using Google’s keyword planner tool can give you an indication as to whether there exists a natural interest in products of your kind, and using targeted PPC ads will drive potential customers toward your product. You don’t necessarily need to have you product available in your target country at this stage – your interest is in the interest of other people.
Contacting foreign agents
Once you’ve discovered a market that will import your products, with a consumer base that can make doing so profitable, you can either rely simply on the internet to handle your purchase orders, or, get in contact with an agent in that country to take larger stock orders. For many, using an agent means a greater level of stability – bigger orders, stable supply, local exposure and know-how at the cost of a reduced margin.
Completing these steps can provide you with enough evidence to be confident that your product can compete outside of your home territory. The rest will be up to you.
Here’s what you should be doing differently when it comes to your small business
Sometimes in business, entrepreneurs just get it right. Others will look on in awe and wonder what the secret to their success is and what they could be doing differently in order to become as successful. Establishing, running and growing your own business is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things you can choose to do, and it requires consistent patience, persistence and dedication.
Sometimes in business, entrepreneurs just get it right. Others will look on in awe and wonder what the secret to their success is and what they could be doing differently in order to become as successful. Establishing, running and growing your own business is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things you can choose to do, and it requires consistent patience, persistence and dedication. As a small business owner you need to be constantly re-evaluating your business to ensure it’s performing at its absolute best. Here’s our list of a few things you should consider doing differently, if you aren’t doing them already.
Tweak and diversify
In order to have a successful business, people have to buy what you’re selling, be it a product or a service. If you noticed that sales have taken a dip, it may be time to make some changes to the things on offer. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean complete replacement, but perhaps only a few tweaks here and there. For example, you may consider creating new packages for clients that consist of a handful of your products, thereby adding value. You may find this better speaks to the needs of customers, something that should be constantly being met by your business. Diversification can also be an effective route to go and involves branching out a little. If you own a fashion business, you could think about expanding into garment care by offering a range of products that can be used to maintain the items of clothing you offer. You can end up not only appealing to already existing customers, but to an entirely new consumer market as well.
Don’t just market your product – sell your story
The key here is context. Consumers will be far more inclined to buy your product if they understand how it can help solve their problems. So how do you as the business owner go about achieving this? It’s simple: you provide the story behind the business. People tend to connect with stories, especially when it comes to those linked to specific products. The story will automatically inject meaning and emotion into the purchase process, but most importantly, telling a story brings a human element to the often clinical business world. By putting a face to the brand and sharing the story behind it, consumers are bound to feel more connected to it, and connection can not only lead to more sales, but to brand loyalty as well.
Whether you like it not, the reality is that the role technology is playing in the success of small business is becoming more and more important every day. You can’t expect to grow in a technologically saturated world by turning your back on it. We don’t mean becoming tech-savvy overnight and investing in every possible element of technology pertaining to your particular business, but rather embracing it slowly but surely over a period of time. A good place to start is with social media– when used correctly, it can completely transform your marketing strategy…and for the better. Another thing to consider is the power of the Cloud. Software that operates within the Cloud can help to change how you run and manage your business dramatically. Sage One Software provides you with a fast, efficient and simple way of dealing with the financial side of your business, such as payroll and accounts. Don’t shy away from technology – it could be just the ingredient you need to boost your business.
Don’t compromise your vision
Among other things, flexibility and adaptability are two important aspects to bear in mind when it comes to running your own business. There’s no doubt that you will experience bumps in the road that require you to adapt and make changes fast, but in doing that, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of your purpose and core values. This can be easier said than done, but at the end of the day, if you compromise your vision and the principles you hold dear, you may end up regretting it. By all means make adjustments at times, but that shouldn’t mean having to sacrifice your vision completely.
Part of running your own business is learning as you go. You will stumble at times but the important thing is to get up and keep moving forward. Observe the businesses around you – you can only learn from them.
Featured image: http://michaelhyatt.com