Australia’s start-up scene is thriving. But you probably know that being a small business owner. At last count, there were 355,722 new business entities in Australia, in this ever-growing market.
Want to know the secrets of how to become a successful entrepreneur? Here’s our step-by-step guide.
1. Start With Why
Most businesses start with an idea, often a passion, or filling a gap in the market. It could be that your local high street doesn’t have a coffee shop, or you’ve come up with an inspiring product. Whatever the kernel of idea, you need to ask yourself one question: WHY?
If you haven’t heard of Simon Sinek, now’s the time to dust off your library card. The famous author and TED speaker believes that if you want to know how to become entrepreneur worthy, you must first understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. This goes back to the fundamentals of business planning and understanding your purpose. If you can identify WHY you’re going into business, you’re on the right path.
Perhaps most important of all, you need to be passionate about what you do. This is what drives entrepreneurs when the chips are down,
2. Research and Testing
So, you’ve got a great idea and know your purpose – great! Next, you need to see if there’s a market for your entrepreneurial endeavours. There’s several ways to do this, including desk research and face-to-face contact.
Start with researching your competitors and the industry as a whole. Can you make a living out of your idea, what are the current market trends and can you piggyback any of these?
As you evaluate your idea against existing competitors, ask yourself what is your point of difference too?
If your business idea lends itself to it, get out on the streets and speak to customers. Yes, it’s a little daunting, however there really is no compensation for first-hand feedback. It will also help to build your understanding of your target audience, which is vital for business success. If you have a tangible product, offer out samples and ask for feedback – this is your moment to test your product with potential customers and glean insight from it.
3. Creating your Brand
Now to the fun part – coming up with your brand identity.
Although there is no blueprint in place for how to become an entrepreneur, business leaders tend to use a mix of; market research and data, customer feedback, and a touch of intuition to bring their business idea and brand to life.
Before you register your business, do your due diligence and research the company name, as well as its availability online. Regardless of your business sector, you will benefit from an online presence, and should try to reserve domain names and social media handles as early as possible. You don’t have to spend a fortune either, there’s plenty of great tools available that allow you to create a free online store for your business.
And, if you have a unique product, you may want to protect your brand with intellectual property. Australia has a robust law around this, and it’s never too early to create a trademark or register your brand design.
4. The Business Plan
What’s the one action required in how to become a successful entrepreneur? How about writing a business plan?
A business plan is an essential overview that will serve you well in your entrepreneurial journey. This framework outlines your vision, objectives and strategy for success. It should lay out a roadmap, helping you to stay on track.
This can be produced at any stage, but ideally six to 12 months prior to launch. This will ensure that your strategy remains top of mind, and relevant in the ever-changing world we find ourselves in. Of course, being agile is increasingly important, and if the past year has taught us anything, learning to ‘pivot’ (buzzword alert!) is highly valuable.
Not sure where to start? There’s some great guidance and small business support on the government website: https://business.gov.au
5. The Finance Bit
Hand-in-hand with your business plan, you’ll need to consider your finances. Contrary to popular opinion, entrepreneurs don’t need a bag of money to start up. But, if you want to know how to become a successful entrepreneur, you will need to understand cash flow.
How will you fund your business, and what investment do you need to bring it to market? It’s worth reviewing if there’s any business grants in place too, since there’s lots of support available for start-ups in certain markets, particularly those in innovation.
As you consider all the financial aspects, be sure to include the incidentals too; insurance, overheads, stock, rent, deposits, staffing, equipment, maintenance, machinery, etc.
If you’re selling a product or service, you’ll need to consider how to price goods, promotions and offers, as well as a robust point-of-sale for transactions. It will serve you well to start thinking about the end-to-end experience early on.
6. Production/Set up
As you edge closer to unveiling your product or service, you’ll need to put plans in place for launching to the public. Whether you’re selling solely online, or in person, there’s infrastructure to consider; from hiring retail space to launching your e-commerce website, to hiring staff.
Going back to ‘what is the meaning of entrepreneur’, remember that it’s about turning your passion into profit. Therefore, converting a shopper into a customer needs to be high on your agenda.
One of the most important areas in pre-production is to consider the customer journey or experience. For retail, you’ll greatly benefit from a seamless process for customers, that makes it easy to buy goods. For instance Square’s dedicated all-in-one POS system for restaurants was designed with speed and flexibility in mind for a busy dining environment. Square for Restaurants is one of many great products available for small businesses.
If nothing else, put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Walk through the experience, and think about how you can make it as seamless as possible to get their custom.
7. The Launch
Finally, the big day has come for you to launch your business, and with a robust plan in place, it should all go well. If you have enough budget, it’s worth hiring PR or marketing support to create a buzz around your launch, even if it’s just locally. Don’t undervalue the importance of social media either.
Once you’re up and running, maintaining the momentum and customer experience is vital for growth and scalability… but that’s a whole other feature!