5 Tips to Starting a Business
Posted on 27 March 2019
Entrepreneurs are undercover superheroes. No, they don't wear capes, but it does take a certain amount of courage, dedication and gumption to open a business on your own. If you are thinking about starting a business, but you feel like you've heard it all before, today on Zeena Uncovered CEO Bayan Jondy shares her top 5 tips for how to follow your passion and take the first steps before taking the plunge.
Like most creative endeavors, there is no top-secret formula for starting a business. If it were easy enough to just wave a magic wand and then *poof* you've found success -- we'd all be business owners. Truth is, when I first began my journey with Zeena, I relied heavily on my mentors. I had an instinctual sense of style and I knew I wanted to create my designs on a larger scale, so Zeena began as a way for me to help the women in my life feel empowered by what they wore (myself included). I believed that my idea to give women the choices they needed to build endless modest outfits and still look modern and sophisticated was a winner. So, I ran with it. After eight years as an entrepreneur, I've learned a few things along the way that maybe no one has ever told you.
#1 -- You Already Know Your Customer
Chances are, if you're ready to start a business, you've recognized a problem that needs to be solved. It could be that 'you are your own customer' (like I was), but more than likely it's a close friend or family member. Test the viability of your ingenious idea by pitching it to your closest allies (in business terms, this is called focus group testing). And don't be afraid of criticism either. It's human nature for people to notice mistakes, so instead of letting negative feedback stamp out your motivation, use it as fuel for your fire. What issues did they bring up? What bugs need fixing? The earlier you can address these red flags, the better. After all, having a focus group is a golden opportunity to tailor your product or service to your customer right from the start.
#2 -- Plan, Plan, Plan!
It's all in the details. Ask yourself, where do you see your business in 3 months, 6 months or a year from now? Dedicate a journal to your ideas and jot down every single thing that crosses your mind. Having a business plan is like having a roadmap when your GPS goes down. Never underestimate the power of pen and paper! Besides a memorable name, here are some key ingredients your business plan should include:
- Who is your customer?
- What is your product/service?
- What problem are you solving (how are you making their lives better)?
- What is your time-frame for launching your business?
- Where will you be located? (Online, in-store, pop-up's, craft fairs? Consider every possibility)
- How will you reach your customer? (aka marketing...how will your customer find out about you?)
#3 -- Your Outlook is Everything
If you have fears and doubts about becoming an entrepreneur, guess what...you're normal. Getting started may seem daunting at first. You might even have questions like this racing through your mind: What if I fail? Where will I find investors? What if someone steals my idea? Sound familiar? Eliminate these nagging thoughts by reminding yourself why you're starting a business in the first place. Find your conviction --- your mission --- and tape it to your desk, the wall, your laptop...everywhere you need a little pick-me-up! Starting a business is an adventure. Sure, there will be roadblocks along the way, but it's all about how you handle them. Keep a positive attitude, remind yourself why you're here and encounter every obstacle like a hurdle you can leap over. Pretty soon, those pesky self-doubts will fade away.
#4 -- Stay Focused
What makes your product unique? What is the hidden talent you intend on sharing with the world? Stay focused on that 'special something', whether it's providing outstanding customer service, designing quality products or creating an amazing experience. Be consistent and remember, tackle each project one baby step at a time.
#5 -- Put Yourself Out There
After all the baby steps, it's time to take a leap! Putting yourself out there is by far the scariest thing about starting a business...it's also the most exciting! (Read about the launch of our first retail store in Tyson's Corner.) Enjoy this moment -- it's your time to shine! Celebrate all your hard work by letting the world know you're open for business. Remember step #1? Think back to who your ideal customer is and find the magazines, newspapers, blogs or podcasts they tune into. Get your name out there and keep at it. Consistency is the key to success.
We would love to hear from you! Are you thinking about becoming an entrepreneur? Which of the 5 business tips resonate with you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below. See you next time!