In this post we'll take a few steps back from the details of running a business which can distract us from establishing a solid business plan. The goal of this article is to help you choose and launch a business which provides you with the satisfaction and income you desire - focusing on the big ticket items.
Step 1: Your business niche
- Inventory your skills? What skills have you gained from life? Do you have a particular work-related skill that gives you great insight into an industry or that you can teach others? Is there a service that you can provide as a free-lancer?
- What do you love to do? Hobbies and past-times can be leveraged to launch a product based or education based business.
Step 2: Identify your ideal customer
- Who needs your skills? There is an audience out there that needs your services and will be raving fans once you launch. Find out the types of social media platforms they use and determine related interests of this group. This will help you to target advertising campaigns and blogs to your audience.
Step 3: Pitch your work
Introduce yourself. Build rapport by introducing yourself and leverage connections you may already have with potential clients.
Be a problem solver: Your industry knowledge gives you insight into the types of problems your client needs to solve. Communicate how your service solves these problems.
Start small. Allow your intended client to try out a less expensive, or even free, version of your product. This helps to build a relationship with trust and gives you a chance to demonstrate the value and integrity you provide. After you have built trust and demonstrated value, ask the client for their business. This is known as the call to action.
Step 4: Establish your price:
If you are offering a service there several ways to go about setting your price.
- Research on google and industry sites to determine the going hourly rate for your service. Be ready for the client to ask what is the lowest rate you would accept. Your answer is twice the lowest pay-rate you would accept. Don’t under-sell yourself; you’re setting an example for future clients that your work is valued.
- Focus on the increased value of your product. In this case you are establishing yourself as a partner of the clients business. Determine the increased ROI of the business and work out a percentage. For example, consider a consulting project that is expected to increase net income by $100,000; your total fee may be 10% of ROI for example; that is if the fee meets or exceeds your intended hourly rate.
Step 5: Build Long-term Capacity
As a business owner you want to carefully build your business in a way that you can design your ideal life. Working 80 hours per week living like a pauper is not the intended goal of having your own business. You'll want to establish working hours, take care of your health, and invest in yourself by reading inspirational business books, taking classes and sharpening the saw. Make blogging and running ads a part of your weekly routine to keep business coming in - otherwise you'll be in a boom and bust cycle.