You Got an Idea So What Do You Do Next?

So you are a young entrepreneur with a hot idea that you are sure that will be the next big thing. You are gung ho to start your own business but you don’t know what any of that entails.

Before you begin to spend your last dollar you need to visualize, as much you can, the steps you will need to take to get you where you would like to be. Doing this will help you understand what you want and what you don’t want and where you really need to spend your money.

Some of the questions that you will ask yourself are: What am I selling? Who is my most likely customer? How will my customer find me? How will I get my product to my customer? Which method of selling will it entail? Post card and direct mail? Stores? Wholesale? Face to face contact? Phone sales? Flyer delivery? Push Cart? What do you feel most comfortable with? What is the part of the business that you most like to do? If you are a chef and you are too shy to talk to your customers and just prefer to work your magic in the kitchen, then you will need to hire someone who a) likes people, b) genuinely likes selling and c) may even have a professional background in selling. At the very least it should be your partner or your friend who has a gift of the gab and is thrilled with your product. Once again determine how much it will cost you, before you begin.

If you write a business plan most of these questions will be answered. This is a good thing to do because it keeps your goals and your plan immediately in front of you, and it show your target spending goals and earning goals. You also have to do some homework to find out if there is a similar product being marketed and how is that product being marketed and at what cost? They would be your direct competition. But just because they are competition that doesn’t mean that you can’t also succeed with your product or services. The exact opposite is most often true. If you are in the right place at the right time, and your price is right, that could be you. That is one of the keys to succeed in business.

The other is consistency. If you begin to develop a customer base, they have to be able to find you consistently; and you have to be able to deliver consistently what you promise, and you need to stay in touch with them on a consistent basis.

If you have the push-cart first on Second Ave and then on Tenth and then back on Lemoine, your customer will give up trying to find you to buy the sandwich or tostada from you. Day in and day out you have to be at that designated spot, and you have to be there in the rain, in the snow, in the hot sun and with ample product. If you get your product from some other source, you have to have a reliable distributor, if not you have to find one who is reliable and who takes your account or business as seriously as you do even if you are only placing relatively small orders. If you are consistent at delivering, and keeping in touch with your customers, and consistent at ordering pretty soon you will be placing larger and more frequent orders.

But probably in the beginning everything will be small. So act accordingly. Do not make monster orders without knowing that you will be able to sell all of the order. You don’t want to have a huge inventory in the beginning so that you can keep your cost down. Sell out most of what you got and get orders coming in before you invest in thousands of dollars of merchandise. Test everything; the products with your customers or potential customers, test ads that you run to see how many orders it pulls in, test location, test method of marketing, test small changes in wording, logos, designs etc…

According to the Small Business Administration, most small business fail because they are undercapitalized. That means they don’t have the money to jump on an opportunity for growth, or to keep their products well stocked, or spend money when it is imperative for their business. Instead of jumping head first into a new business, and losing your shirt, it might be better to plan it and put away some money for a period of time, such as six months, one year or two years for the eventually launching of your business.

You should decide upon a brand or logo and signage for your business so that you can build product recognition. Make it clear for your customer to read, get in touch with you and order or reorder.

You would be surprised at how careless people are with their signage. I have seen signs with misspelled words, incomplete phone numbers, disconnected or no phone number at all. I have seen signs with the words crammed together, or with scratch-outs, to make it unreadable, and confusing. You don’t want your potential customer walking past you because he/ or she doesn’t know what you offer. If you’re marketing, keep it simple. For an example at a quick read, “TASTY CHICKEN TOSTADAS” is more effective than Marguarita’s and Dave’s tasty extraordinary, famous, Mexican Tostadas in chicken with a fine sauce or meat in a cream sauce. You have about ten to thirty seconds to make an impact and consequently a sale with your customer.

All this planning prior to your launching is not to intimidate you but for you to know how much it will cost you, to clearly target your customer, and what marketing method will work best in getting them, and keeping them, what products do you need on hand immediately, and to plan an effective campaign that will take you to your goals of starting and of course succeeding in your business. Even though you have to do the work prior to, during, and on an on-going basis; don’t let this stop you from fulfilling your dreams of your own business.

Take some time today to envision yourself and where you want to be in one year, three years, five years or ten. If you don’t like the outcome, now is the only time you have to change your future. You can make it happen!! Take action and do it now!!!! At least start!! There is really no perfect time to start. You will not have all the elements perfectly in place but if you don’t start to take steps to accomplish your goals now, the years will come and go swiftly whether you are fulfilled or not.