Anything can happen in 90 days.
Starting a business and setting goals for an entire year can be overwhelming, at best. Sometimes the goals can get so big that we often fail to take action on them, feeling they are unattainable. Because of that, I recommend you create and implement 90-day action plans when starting your business.
90 days is long enough to make big things happen but also short enough to know that you will be reaching your goals in no time!
My signature group coaching program is broken into a 90-day plan, I did this after working with so many different clients and realizing that at the 90-day mark is where the magic happens they have an “A-ha” moment, where results start happening.
This is why I encourage you to make plans for your most amazing 90 days ever. When you do and implement that plan, you will see that small actions can add up to BIG RESULTS.
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”
free 90-day planner
Free 90 Day Planner
Episode 3: Transcript
Writing a Business Plan using the 5 Pillars of Success.
You ever hear the saying “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Well – I am willing to bet that someone had a plan! And that is what we are talking about today.
Writing a simple business plan is going to decrease future stresses and overwhelm so you can move forward confidently with a plan in place.
So many new entrepreneurs skip this part of starting a new business – and I think it is a HUGE mistake. Creating a business plan is something that I find truly inspiring and love doing. I visit mine regularly, and basically treat it as a living document, updating and tweaking it as both my business and my goals change!
Now you have a rock-solid foundation on which to build your business – let’s start planning it! Your business plan is going to help you create the business you want. You don’t want a business that becomes just another paycheck, you don’t want to start your own company just to have another job – you want a business you love, a business with purpose and that is why I am going to help you write a simple but effective business plan focusing on five essential pillars for success.
So, let’s get started!
Why is a business plan all that important? Especially if you are looking to be a micro business or solopreneur and don’t plan on applying for grants, bank loans or look for investors? I will get to that, I promise. First, I want to talk to you about a quote I heard recently. During a speaking engagement, Werner Erhard once said “If we don’t change our direction, we’re likely to end up where we’re headed.”
Let that sink in.
“If we don’t change our direction, we’re likely to end up where we’re headed.”
Now, I get it – if you are going one way, you will end up where you are going and if you change your direction, you are still going to end up where you are going, only now you won’t be going where you were headed the first time.
So the quote is nonsensical or even ridiculously impractical BUT it is saying something that I want you to think about.
That is – starting a business without a business plan will still get you a business. You will still make sales and who knows – you may become the next Sara Blakely. But like I said – who knows…
Now, if you change direction and create a business plan, you know that you will be giving Sara a run for her money. 😉 Because your plan is going to give you the direction you need to get to the end goal you set.
That is why you need a business plan and why I am going to help you write it!
Your business plan is going to cover the 5 essential pillars or key elements that every business needs. These 5 key elements are – People, Product, Purpose, Promotion, and Profit. If you don’t have these five things, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby.
Now, it is time to get to work.
The human element is the most important yet always forgotten part of a business. Most entrepreneurs get overwhelmed and sidetracked with marketing, bookkeeping, product, tech, etc. But when you think about it, every part of your business boils down to people. By understanding the human element, you will be more profitable, create brand loyalty, close more deals, and ultimately be more successful.
The first and most important person, on your people list, is you. You cannot start building a dream business and build relationships until you are working at maximum capacity. If you aren’t at your best, your entire business could eventually collapse. So, be sure you are taking care of both your mental and physical health to the best of your abilities.
You are also going to need to be at your best when it comes down to what you are good at – and be honest about what you are not so good at. Because if you are not great at something, you will put it off and it could be a vital part of your business. Do this by completing a SWOT Analysis. This is a simple but useful way for you to focus on your strengths and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
What exactly is a SWOT Analysis? It is simple. Swot stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. What makes this especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it will help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. When you start your business by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your success.
When doing this, consider the answers from your own perspective and the perspective of others around you. Don’t be shy – dig deep and be honest.
- What are your strengths? What advantages do you have that others don’t? Such as skills, certifications, connections. What can you do better than anyone else, what achievements are you most proud of?
- What are your weaknesses? What tasks do you tend to avoid because you don’t like doing them or lack the confidence in your ability to complete them? What do people around you see as your weaknesses? What are some personality traits that might be holding you back?
- Looking at Opportunities, what new technology is out there that can help you, who do you know that will be helpful to you on your journey? Is there a need in your industry that needs to be filled?
- When considering threats think about any obstacles you may face, competitors, could any of your weaknesses lead into a form of a threat?
Once you have completed your SWOT Analysis you can turn it into actionable strategies to help your business grow.
- Use your strengths to take advantage of opportunities and minimize threats.
- Improve weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities, or outsourcing to someone who has it as a strength.
- Work to illuminate weaknesses to avoid threats – be pro-active, not reactive.
Hopefully, when you have done your analysis you will be able to see any roadblocks long before you hit them.
Next, your customers! We’ve all heard how important it is to create your client avatar or dream client. Knowing who your ideal client is going to be knowing both who you want to help and who you are really excited to work with, but most importantly, who can actually afford to buy your products or services. In the beginning, you may want to help everyone with your products or services and be less focused on your ideal client. It is extremely important to be very clear about who you want to reach.
You may already be clear on who your ideal client is or you may have some work to do. There is a lot of information out there about how you should create an actual person, give her a name, birthday, a family, know the names and ages of her children, what she does for hobbies and what shows she watches, and when her anniversary is.
This method works very well if you are able to create and believe in this person so deeply that anytime you make a decision on a new product or create new copy you think to yourself “would this speak to…you should give this person a name. Would this speak to ‘Clientina Moneyspender “?
If this method doesn’t work for you, then think about and focus on the problem you want to solve and who needs your help solving it. You may want to help everyone with your products or services and be less focused on your ideal client but over time it will need to become clear exactly who your target audience is so, be sure to revisit this every few months and with every new product or service you are going to offer!
Now, your competitors! Whether you want to admit it or not, they are out there and they are hungry for your customers. Just as hungry as you are for theirs! And while it might seem like too much, given everything else you need to keep on top of while building your business, you do need to consider dedicating some time and energy to keeping tabs on or at least checking out your competition.
If you do this, on a regular basis, you will get to know their behaviour and start to anticipate what they may be likely to do next. This will help you gain what is called competitive intelligence. The idea is to plan your own strategies so that you keep your customers and maybe win (not steal) some new ones. Therefore, doing a little recon and keeping tabs on your competition is an important strategy for growing your business and gaining success.
If you are providing products or services, it does not matter. Health coach, Multi-level marketer, Taro Card Reader, Artist creating pieces out of discarded highlighters – whatever industry or narrowed down niche you have decided to focus on, you need to be crystal clear on what exactly you are providing to those in your people plan.
Remember, your business is not about what you want or your needs. It is about your client’s wants and needs and about how are you going to fulfill these for them.
Discovering the purpose of your business is the first step to creating your business plan. Why do you want to start a business? I want you to seriously reflect here, “to make money” or “to be my own boss” is not the true answer. Yes, these may be a part of your reason, but they are not your “why”.
I am sure in all of the research you have done about starting a business that you have come across a hundred articles telling you to understand your why.
Why did you start this business? If it was just to make money – if that was the case, you could be a nude model and pose for sculpting students at the local art college. If it was just to be your own boss – I need to ask you really? When you were a kid, would you yell “You are not the boss of me!”? Of course, you did, we all did. Because we truly believed that we were already our own boss, am I right? When did we lose that? Sorry, I veered off track, your purpose relates to your “Why” as a business. To quote Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do or how you do it, they buy why you do it.”
Your purpose should be a large part of everything you do. Every decision should be looked at in terms of purpose and your purpose should impact every aspect of your business. This is why it is the first element of your business plan.
So, reflect, come alive and take a moment to determine your true purpose. Why did you pick this business and why are you taking this action and starting this journey!
This portion is your marketing plan. When you are pushing your business, people can tell. It just does not work. Gone are the days of just shameless promotion, because it is transparent and people tend to feel they are being conned. So, today you really have to love your work and believe in what you offer. Being 100% authentic when sharing your message will allow your purpose to shine through and be able to sell a product or service without being sales-y. (Is that even a word?)
When I first started in the photography business, I was working with my mentor and was able to sell him like he was going out of style. I believed in him, his work, and his values. I knew his clients were getting the best of the best in both product and services. When it came time for me to leave the nest and go out on my own – the struggle was real. I didn’t believe in my capabilities as much as I did his. My lack of confidence shone through, my inexperience was obvious and my sales were horrible! It wasn’t until I really started to love my own work, have confidence in my own strengths and started to build my weaknesses into assets, that my business started to skyrocket. My point is, the more you love and believe what you are offering is going to help your customers, and the more real and honest you are, with yourself and your customers, the more people will trust you and want to work with you.
So, when you are creating your marketing plan, create a marketing message with confidence, authenticity and honesty because that is exactly what your customers will be looking for.
If this is intimidating, don’t let it be. With this part of your business plan, I will help you create a system so that you know what you need to do in order to reach your financial goals.
When I was ready to leave the corporate career and go back to being self-employed hubs and I had a talk. My new business had to bring in a specific amount of money before I could give notice. So – that was my goal. Working backwards from that number helped me figure out what I had to do to generate that specific income goal.
You do this by starting with your Annual income goal and break it down from there. With that amount in mind, what is your monthly target, and then what is the weekly target? What do you need to do, how many products, courses, programs, whatever(s) do you need to sell, per week, to reach that amount?
If you already have or know what your expenses are, do the same for them because it will give you even more clarity you need to reach the end goal. If you do not know – that is okay, we are not creating a budget here, we are just creating a simple profit plan to move your business forward.
I do not doubt, this section will involve some frustrating number crunching. But, whip out that calculator and tackle it head-on!
There you have it – The 5 essential pieces every business needs to get started on the right foot for success. A simple business plan that covers People, Purpose, Product, Promotion, and Profit!
If you are still listening and have made it all the way to the end, I applaud you and THANK you for sticking around. Creating a business plan, even one as simple as this is probably the hardest part of starting your own business because it requires restraint, patience and vision. I am so excited for you to start creating yours and extremely proud that you are going to! Now go and celebrate this accomplishment!
Be sure to download my FREE Business Plan Template, for you to simply follow and fill in the blanks for your first business plan!
Episode 2: Transcript
Creating a solid foundation is the key to long-term success.
You’re not starting a business because you don’t like your current life. You’re not running away from the day job — you know that if you did that, your old devils would just follow you into self-employment! You’re starting your own business and leaving your 9-5 job because it’s finally time to go it alone and be your own boss. It’s time for you to shine, doing what you love most in the whole world. – and today we are going to make sure you are prepared to shine!
Today, I am going to talk about the details of what has to be in place before you start your business. About all the steps you need to take to ensure a solid foundation for the entity you are about to create! You know, all that boring stuff no other course talks about…because it is boring. So please stick around and listen because I will be covering some important topics like knowing your business structure, business banking, setting up your home office, and how to set boundaries for success. All things you will want to know.
I know that starting a new business very would be easy if you had a million dollars in start-up capital sitting comfortably in your savings account. That way you can just pay people to do all this uninteresting and boring work that needs to be done before you even start —but even then, without that great business idea, it wouldn’t go very far.
Here’s the good news: You don’t need to have a million dollars in your savings account. Countless entrepreneurs have “done it” on what is known as a shoestring budget, and countless entrepreneurs have done it from a position of desperation or lack.
The latter is not recommended and not ideal—but people who have done it will tell you there are creative ways around lack of budget: And if they’re successful, they will also tell you they knew what to plan for, and what to implement quickly as they started to make money.
The important thing, however, is to know what YOU need for YOUR start-up. Whether you can get started on one hundred dollars or you need one hundred thousand, make sure that it is a figure you can raise—without betting the farm on it.
If you’ve listened to the last episode, you should have done the research to ensure your business idea is sustainable and are ready to go with starting your new business. Now it is time to it’s time to demystify, simplify and take care of necessary house-keeping.
- Niching Down Your Business Idea
- Deciding on your company business structure
- Getting a BIN (Canada) or EIN (United States) for your business
- Setting up your business bank account and bookkeeping
- Preparing to set boundaries for your home office.
Is your niche narrow enough?
Selecting the RIGHT niche is a critical first decision to make for you and your business. Think about the type of niche that’s best for you. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are your passions and interests? (i.e. helping people, yoga, travel, etc.)
- What are your top skills? (i.e. accounting, teaching, photography, building stuff, etc.)
- What are your relevant experiences? (i.e. travelled the country, taught grade school, etc)
- Based on your passions, skills and experience, what niche markets appeal to you most?
What profitable niche markets fit well with your passions, interests, skills and experiences?
If you are planning to serve a broad niche (example: ‘weight loss’) you will be drowned in competition. Specialize, and find a specific small segment that you can serve. (example: ‘ovo-lacto-vegans’)
Is your niche sustainable and scale-able?
Once you’ve solved your customer’s problem with the specific product or skill you’re offering, is there someplace else for them to go within your business? Is there a natural “next step”? Can you create multiple programs and products for them?
Deciding on your company business structure
Now that you have your business identity and idea all mapped out, you have done the research and ready to go, it’s time to de-mystify, simplify and take care of necessary house-keeping. Including this disclaimer…
This Podcast is intended to help you start your new business on the right foot. It does not go into the legal aspects of starting a company, for jurisdiction reasons.
Please understand the importance of deciding where and how you plan to operate your business may require municipal, provincial (or state), and sometimes federal licensing and registration before you can open.
Although a business license is not required for all business types, registering your business with your city may be required.
For more information on what businesses are required to be licensed, and business tax information, visit your local municipality office or website.
Before you can decide what sort of business entity you want your company to be, you need to make sure you understand all aspects of your proposed business. Be sure to discuss your proposed business with a business lawyer and/or accountant.
How do you know which type to choose?
- Sole Proprietorship: – YOU ARE YOUR BUSINESS and intend for it to vanish when you decide to retire or walk away, then this is the right structure for you. Only consider sole proprietorship if you never plan on having partners, selling the business, hiring actual employees or seeking any sort of business loan. And be aware that, as a sole proprietor, you are legally and personally liable for actions taken against you or your company.
- Limited Liability (LLC) – If you DO plan to sell your business one day, hire actual employees, acquire a partner or seek out financial investors or loans for your business LLC is the only option for you.
Also, if you plan to be dealing with large amounts of money, services where there is some risk (however small) of someone getting injured (client or employee), again, this is probably the wiser choice. LLC stands for ‘limited liability corporation’; which means if your business goes bust, only the business assets are seized—not your personal assets.
Finally, if you have even one business partner (and I’m not talking simple JV partners), then you need to go LLC. Especially if both partners are to share equal signing authority in banking matters.
- Incorporation – If you don’t have a partner but you do plan to sell shares in your company, you will need to incorporate. Doing so gives you some liability protection and additional tax deductions over a sole proprietorship.
Do research into which is better suited for your company before you move forward. Once you have made the decision on your business structure, you need to look into business taxes and tax numbers.
Getting your BN or EIN
Once you have your business structure identified and your licence is in place, it is time to look into everyone’s favourite – taxes… There are so many rules and regulations in regards to business taxes – all dependant on where you live. Even from province to province and state to state.
Business Number (BN) – Canada
In Canada – it is simply called your Business Number (BN) is a 9-digit business identifier used in Canada to which businesses can register program accounts with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
This number is basically your CRA Identifier when communicating with the CRA about your accounts you have or wish to register for. For example, if you would like to discuss your GST/HST account or you would like to register for a payroll account, you need to provide your BN.
You can register for a business number via mail, phone, fax or online on the CRA Website.
Visit the Government of Canada website for more information on when you need a business number or another program account.
Employer Identification Number (EIN) – United States
It goes without saying that if your business resides in the US or US Territories, you will need to get an EIN number which stands for: Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity.
Generally, businesses need an EIN. You may apply for an EIN in various ways, and now you may apply online. This is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service and you can get your EIN immediately. BUT you must check with your state to see if you need a state number or charter first.
Where ever you are – inside or outside of North America
Please check with your country’s, State, or Provincial government website to determine your specific business registration needs.
Setting up your business banking.
Before you decide how to run your business banking, you should have identified how much start-up capital you have and have some idea of the income you plan to make, and what you intend to budget. At this point, a ballpark or projected figure is just fine! We will move into business planning and future goals in future goals, financially at a later episode.
It’s always best to talk to your accountant and/or lawyer before setting up legal entities like bank accounts, but at the very least, very least, you will need a separate bank account dedicated to your business. Not separating business and personal finances is the number one mistake that entrepreneurs make. (According to Corey Whitaker and Parker Stevenson of Evolved Finance.)
A tip from one of their recent webinars: “If you move money from your personal checking to business checking, you need to realize that you are giving your business a loan—make sure it’s not mistaken at tax time for income—very important to specify this amount in your bookkeeping as a ‘loan’. You are literally lending your business money from your personal account. So, if you realize that if you move money from your business account to your personal account, write it down as a payment to yourself. (The government expects you to pay yourself.)
And all income HAS to go into your business account straight away before you do anything else with it.
If you prefer to do all your banking online and/or you are worried about bank fees (if you’re starting out on a shoestring), Canadians – check out Tangerine, it is who I use and is completely fee-free. One great thing about Tangerine is it is an online branch of Scotia Bank and if you use a friend’s “orange code” or referral code, you each get $50 deposited directly into your accounts! (Let me know if you want my code! Who doesn’t like referral cash?)
My American friends, and a great one, check out Spark Business Banking, which is completely fee-free. It is a totally online branch of Capital One, and many entrepreneurs have reported satisfaction with this system.
Set up Your bookkeeping
The best way to cut down on any future headaches, confusion, and accounting/bookkeeping costs. Choose how you are going to post business entries now, then make sure when it is time, that you do so daily—don’t wait till you have shoeboxes stuffed with receipts to try and sort them out. Get into good money tracking and reporting habits right away, and you’ll make it painless for yourself, your bookkeeper AND your accountant at tax time.
Before you do anything else, talk to your accountant and run your projected bookkeeping spreadsheet by her, to make sure you have created all the right fields for your unique business. AND, if you have a bookkeeper, be sure to check with her to see if any software you want to use is compatible with hers.
A few things to remember when it comes to your bookkeeping:
- An accountant deals strictly with tax-related issues and prepares your income tax
- A bookkeeper does your day-to-day recording and posting of transactions
- THAT ALL revenue and income from your business HAST to go instantly to your business account before you disburse or use any of it!
- Proactively save 20-40% of all income for your annual tax bill, because you will have a tax bill.
Be sure to check the show notes for a link to the most common small business bookkeeping categories for your spreadsheet. As well as some other great financial resources.
Office equipment and other nitty-gritty details.
As a new business owner, you will absolutely need a quiet, distraction-free (or at least a dedicated) place to work. Ideally, it is a separate room in your house (with a door that shuts) or a space such as a room over your garage…but many online entrepreneurs have started out with a nook in the kitchen or even just a laptop on the back porch! (Actually, who am I kidding? The laptop on the back porch is my favourite place to work in the summer…) And, personally, my “dedicated space” is the smallest wall in our basement. Technically, I have a “cloffice” My desk is squeezed into a cubby that was a wet-bar and I have a bookshelf beside me.
While my husband’s “office” is on the wall opposite and the treadmill is directly behind my desk like a fake wall separating us.. I get it – you do what you gotta do when space is limited, which is why at least having a dedicated and distraction-free place to work is ideal. When it is recording time for the podcast – I have to request to be alone and kick hubs out – he’s okay with it…so far but this IS only episode 2…ask how it’s going come episode 20…
But – I digress, if you do end up working at your dining table or living room, you will quickly want to adjust this once your business starts to roll and money comes in. It’s nice to have dedicated bookshelves, a paper shredder, storage, reference books close by, a place for office supplies and maybe even a file cabinet, at the very least—and, depending on your business, you may need other specialized tools or equipment such as a postage meter if you ship goods, a feature wall or backdrop for videos, or a massage table if you are Spiritual Healer who does hands-on Reiki Sessions. Start thinking about this now – make a plan and start implementing the changes that are needed.
Besides, having your own office, distraction-free and decorated to your taste helps you feel confident and competent, it signals you are a professional to a visitor, provides you with a place from which to do your podcasts, webinars or videos—and helps ‘train’ other family members that when you’re in your office, you are AT WORK! Because those boundaries are going to be very important moving forward.
Well, there you go, everything no one ever talks about in a podcast or in their online business programs. It is long – it is not pretty – it is boring and quite frankly, not many are even interested in any of that stuff.
BUT – that stuff is all very important when you are starting your business. Much like anything else you have ever done, creating a solid foundation is the key to long-term success and your business is no different.
Episode 1: Transcript
Welcome to the Idea to Income Podcast!
Today, we are going to be talking all about the Idea to Income Podcast, a little about me and give you a heads up on what to expect and dive into the first 2 things every entrepreneur should do before starting their business.
For the last four years, I have wanted to start a podcast that empowered women to step into their boss role and start a business. The other day, I was killing time on social media as we all do and came across one of those motivational quotes that said, “A year from now, you would have wished you started today.” and it hit me. It has been 4 years since I started toying with the idea of starting my very own podcast. 4 YEARS of me thinking about it! Do you know what else happens every 4 years?
- There is a leap year every 4 years.
- The Olympics are every 4 years.
- The World Cup – and I don’t even watch soccer.
- And apparently, it takes that long for me to get off my butt to stop dreaming and start doing…
So – here we are! This podcast has been created and is based on my Idea to Income System, which is a group coaching program I offer through my coaching business to aspiring entrepreneurs. So, in season 1, I will be bringing you that system directly. I will be providing actionable tasks on how to start your own business. I will be providing you with some great insights and letting you know mistakes to avoid. Each week, I will be sharing practical lessons and having candid conversations about everything you need when you are going from Idea to Income.
Where should we start? This is the most common question I get from aspiring entrepreneurs and I think it is the one question that actually prevents many from getting started. That question really packs a punch because it isn’t just one question – it is actually a LOT of questions packed into one tiny little package. Today, I am going to share my answer to where to get started, and it is actually a lot simpler than you think. It isn’t building your website, it is not harassing everyone you know to start buying stuff from you. It is taking a realistic assessment of yourself and your idea – ensuring your idea targets a paying market.
Now, let me tell you why it is important to start here.
When I made the decision to start my second business, I figured I was already a success in my first company, this should be easy. After all, I had a large network of friends, I have colleagues that are all entrepreneurs, this was going to be a piece of cake!
Boy, was I wrong!
I jumped in, head first, created a website, emailed everyone I knew telling them about my new passion project and all the amazing stuff I to offer because I had taken the time to create them.
The response was astounding. I got a lot of ‘Congratulations’ – “sounds exciting’ and my personal favourite, “you go, girl.” BUT NO ONE wanted to buy from me. This made zero sense, I have so much to offer, YEARS of experience, I’ve mentored dozens of now successful entrepreneurs…Where did I go wrong? Why is nobody willing to pay me for what I am doing? I am going to get to that but first – let me tell you a story.
When I was about 5 or 6 years old, we lived across the street from one of those inner-city parks, where it was like, the center of the block was actually just a playground. Where, parents could kick their kids outside for the entire day, and be able to keep an eye on them by just looking out the front window or hollering out the front door (which is how my mom always got my attention). This green space had a playground, a tetherball a few trees, a picnic table, it was just a place where kids could go and hang out all the time.
Well, one day after a few days of rain and being trapped inside, my brother and I went to the park to play. Now, I am a puddle jumper – even to this day. So, when I saw that a tree was sitting in the middle of, what looked like to me, a great puddle. I was excited. Floating in this puddle was a piece of Styrofoam, no idea where it came from but me being me I jumped right onto that piece of foam, not caring. Just having the drive to jump in and make it sink. Well, let me tell you…It didn’t sink, it slipped right out from under me and I was the one that sunk. Next thing I knew I was waist-deep in a mud pit! I couldn’t move and every time I put my hands down to push myself out, they would sink too. I started crying for my brother to come to save me, he couldn’t pull me out and had to go get Mom – who, from the beginning, told me to stay away from the puddles, so I didn’t ruin my corduroy pants…and we all know how fancy those pants were back in the day…I knew this was not going to end well and I was right. It did not end well.
How does this have anything to do with starting a business? Well, where do YOU think I went wrong when I was five and again when I started my second company? At the age of 5 – I didn’t know any better. 5-year old logic told me I would float on that piece of Styrofoam.…as an adult, my excitement and lack of logical thinking told me I had something to offer – and people to offer it too…I wasn’t starting my business because I didn’t like my current life, I wasn’t in it for the money. I was driven by the idea of helping as many women as I could. Once again, I jumped in feet first, without thinking and once again – I didn’t land well.
So, as a kid, I learned not to jump in if there is no visible bottom. As an entrepreneur, I learned that the smart entrepreneur would always take two simple, steps before heading into the water. This is what I am going to tell you all about today, so you don’t have to sink. Like I did.
Taking a realistic assessment of your idea.
The first thing you need to do is to take a realistic assessment of your idea. You have probably heard it said time and time again, you should only put your time into a business you are absolutely passionate about—your life’s mission. While that’s the ideal scenario, it’s actually kind of like that bible verse that gets misquoted all the time (“money is the root of all evil”). If you read the verse, in its entirety, you’ll see that it’s not money that is the root of all evil-It is
“The LOVE of money is the root of all evil”, meaning that those who place undue emphasis on acquiring it are likely to trip up and make horrible mistakes out of greed. IN other words – if you are only in it for the money, you are probably not going to get anywhere – and that money isn’t so bad after all.
So, before you get started, take a step back and reflect, why are you starting your business? I’m hoping you are starting a business because:
- You love the idea of helping others it completely excites you.
- You know it will make a difference – both to yourself AND your clients for customers.
- Lives will be transformed for the better – again, both yours and your customers.
- And of course – I hope it’s so you can make money and start building the life of your dreams. Without money being your main priority.
I get it, it sounds corny. Especially if you are looking at starting a Multi-level Marketing business or making custom jewelry – for example – but even with product-based companies, it is the serving of others that is going to bring on success.
Finding out if there is a paying market for your idea.
Now, the second one requires a little bit of research and leg work. It is to find out if there is even a paying market for your idea. Whatever your business idea is, it could be selling software as a service, professional training services, coaching, info-products…anything in any type of industry – none of it is going to matter if there isn’t a paying market for it.
Remember my email, that I sent out telling everyone I knew about my new business – the mistake I made there was that I sent it to my entire network of friends – who either – have already been in business long enough they didn’t require what I had to offer 2. Already had what I was offering. Obviously, they were not the paying market I was looking for but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a paying market out there. I just had to actually do some research.
And that is the challenge I want you to do this week, I want you to go out and find out if there is a current need for your idea? Is it something people always need (like plumbing or tax help) or is it a hot new trend right now where there is a giant gap and you can fill it? There is only one way to do that – and that is through research.
Here are a couple of ways to find out.
First – Are people writing about it?
- Go to com or Amazon.ca, click “Departments” then scroll down to “Books,” or “Kindle Store.”
- The search bar will change to search that department automatically for you, search for your idea, product or specific niche.
- Choose a book that appeals to you, and scroll down the book’s listing page until you find the “Amazon Best-Seller’s Rank.”
- If that number is LESS than 150k, you know it’s selling quite frequently.
- If you can find at least 3 books with low ranks, you can assume you’ve hit a hot topic.
Second – Just ASK! Yes, just ask, seriously. How many communities are you a part of? Join a few more and ask around.
- Create a free Survey Monkey account at surveymonkey.com. Click on create survey. Choose a title.
- Create these # comment/essay questions:
- In your own words, what is your biggest frustration with (Insert your topic)?
- What problems is this frustration causing you and your (life/family/work/business)?
- What do feel is missing with available solutions for (insert your topic) in helping you overcome the struggles you have with (insert your topic)?
- How would your life be different if you were able to overcome the struggles and frustrations have with (Insert your product or service)?
- Click “Done” once you have added your questions and edit your buttons and save.
- On the Bottom right-click “Collect Responses” and SHARE YOUR NEW SURVEY!
- Share your survey across all your social media accounts and groups that you belong too, that allow it. Don’t forget to share it in the 12 Weeks to Freedom Private Group and the TVS Network too!
- After 24 hours, start analyzing your results. What is the common thread? What are their pain points? How can you help them through their struggles and end their frustration?
Because if you break it down, there isn’t a single business out there, big, small, or even micro companies whose purpose isn’t to solve a problem for their customers. Which is exactly what you are going to do!
So, be sure to take a step back and assess your business idea and make sure there is a paying market before you jump in feet first.
Be sure to check out the show notes for a FREE checklist, to help you to ensure your business idea is solid and that there is a paying market for it! And a direct link to the episode’s webpage for a complete list of the suggested questions to ask in your survey.