Many of us start small businesses to follow our passions: bookkeeping, fixing cars, teaching children – anything. However, some entrepreneurs also start small businesses to pursue an activity or interest they like, but may not be an expert in.
At GoForth Institute, we are firm believers in jumping into a small business venture with your eyes wide open. That means education, research and planning. You don’t have to know your industry inside and out, but if you’re a dog lover interested in opening up a dog grooming business, you need to prepare yourself as much as you possibly can. And that could very well mean you’re not the one doing the actual grooming. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is knowing where your strengths and weaknesses lie – wouldn’t you rather have the best groomers in town working for you, instead of you hacking away at poor Rover’s fur and then charging $200? Of course, you should still have a passion for your small business. You’ll still be working just as hard as any other entrepreneur, after all.
Our GoForth Expert Norman Leach has recently answered a question from an entrepreneur interested in starting up a cafe, but who doesn’t have any cooking or baking experience. Check out the advice Norman gives about starting up a small business in which you may not be an expert.
So you’ve had your A-ha! Moment. You’ve come up with a great small business idea and are ready to start a small business.
But, are you?
Before you start your small business, you need to create a business model – your roadmap for small business success. And no, a business model is not a business plan. You can’t even begin to write a business plan until you’ve created a “blueprint” for your success with a business model. Confused? Let’s take a closer look at a business model.
A business model is a blueprint for small business success
Building a business is a lot like building a house – and who can imagine a house built without preliminary sketches? Creating a small business model means planning – on paper – the fundamentals of your business. It helps you, as an entrepreneur, to put aside the excitement and make a realistic evaluation of the potential success of your business idea. A proper business model helps you to figure out elements such as: Your business concept – what problem are you solving for whom; how you will create customer value; how your product or service will get to customers; how your business will stay competitive; and all revenue and costs you can anticipate.
Take your time creating a business model
You may have a few ideas scribbled down on a sheet of paper – name ideas, product prices and ideal locations. This is a great start, but a proper business model takes time. Starting a small business is exciting, but you also need the strongest foundation possible to ensure small business success. Don’t guess what your business’ customer value will be – research! Survey your friends and work your business network to find the true value of the solution that your product or service offers to the marketplace. Taking your time creating your business model will ensure you don’t underestimate – or overestimate – anything.
Consider all possible areas of concern
There are many moving parts when it comes to running a business and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. For example, how exactly will your product make its way to your customers? Make sure your business model is thorough and covers all the bases. Once you’ve proven the feasibility of your new business or your business expansion plan on paper with a business model, you’re ready to write a more comprehensive business plan. Proper planning takes time and effort, but you’ll see the return on that investment when your great idea has become the great, successful small business you envisioned.