I come from a family of largely lawyers and servicemen, so no one really did business in our house. My husband’s family is also largely of engineers. My father-in-law did have his business for a while, but he later took up a job as a senior consultant as well. So, when I started my entrepreneurship journey at 39, I did not have any support or guidance from those around me. Today, my agency Sarvashreshtha Solutions stands tall as a reputed digital solutions agency in India, and I am happy to share with you all that we won 3 awards last year in 2021.
I had to struggle a lot to get where I am today because no one told me the basics of starting a new business. This blog post is my way of giving back to the community by sharing with you the things I was never told about starting a new business from the comfort of your home.
Making a Plan
I have found entrepreneurship to be 80% planning and 20% execution.
First, you need to make a plan, and have your end goal in mind, starting with the basics:
- What is your product/service?
- Are you solving an existing problem or creating a new need?
- Who is it for?
- Is this a passion project or do you plan to turn it into a living?
- Is your business a B2B or B2C?
- Do you have the apt knowledge, resources and qualifications to start this business?
- If not, how do you plan on obtaining them?
- Do you envision this to be your primary source of income?
- How much initial capital would you need to start with? Where will this money come from?
- Would you be making the product/delivering the service all by yourself or will you be outsourcing it?
- What will be the cost of your product/service and subsequent profit margins?
Answer all these basic questions and take baby steps to make your plan and fulfill it. Your product/service should fulfill a need or create one. Ideally, it should be one that you can sell over and over again to your target audience, so your business is sustainable in the long term. You also need to market it well. Give it a distinct and catchy name and logo, but keep it simple. Overcrowding your advertisement will overwhelm and confuse the audience. You need to be clear and simple so your audience can understand everything. You can also use more localized language and resources to target remote areas of your audience.
Know your audience
Next, you need to take time to get to know your customers. If you are planning to start a B2C business, you must keep your end consumer in mind and be careful not to become out of touch with their needs. You need to know which audience your product/service is for and what their needs are, and what they may look for in a product/service like yours. Once you know their needs, you will know better how to fulfill them using your product/service.
If you plan to do a B2B model of business, you must know and analyze the companies or MSMEs you plan to work with. Carefully study their business inside out, including their requirements, business model, records, etc. as well as what they are looking for in a business like yours.
Study your competition
In both B2C and B2B, you must know your competition well. You need to assess if any other business is looking to also fulfill the needs you are fulfilling. You need to figure out how you can be better than them while also being unique. Your target audience needs to have a reason to choose you over your competitors. That reason is your USP. USP stands for Unique Selling Point, and it is what you do that separates you from others in this line. Are you better at some factors than your competitors? Do you offer something completely different and bring something new to the table? It is often better to have more USPs and you need to market them well and explain them in a way that your end consumer understands you and is convinced to choose you over your competition.
If you are partnering with an e-commerce platform like Amazon, you can get data-driven insights in real-time. It becomes much easier to see what the competition is selling and how is it pricing its products. By looking at the reviews on a product, you can see the market gap and how you can design your own products to fill that gap.
Highlighting your USP in an Ecommerce setup is simple and effective. You can make your product cataloging attractive, with images and videos.
Where is your customer?
Once you know who your customers are, the next logical step is to find out where they are and how you can reach out to them. With the ongoing pandemic and the continuous evolution of the internet, e-commerce seems to be the future of business as we know it, as people spend more time online instead of going outside. It is imperative for your business to also evolve with times and with consumer behavior. It is important for you to always know your audience and how their wants and needs change. I find social media and e-commerce platforms to be a great way to get customer feedback, as well as to increase the reach of your product and get more eyes on it, using things like promotions, ads, and SEO.
The engagement you get, such as likes, comments, ratings, and reviews will give you feedback on your product and means of business. Listen to the feedback and use it correctly to improve your product. These platforms also help you easily connect with other businesses and MSMEs, and your products become more accessible as people across borders can view and order your products, which will help grow your audience.
Platforms like Amazon, which support small businesses and MSMEs will help you grow your reach by promoting and marketing your product to a large audience, and making your product easy to purchase for customers across the globe. Take full advantage of social media and e-commerce platforms and utilize their tools to the max.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any queries. I am always happy to help.
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