For those who are still slaves to the rat race starting a side business might be one of the best options available. A side business will bring you a second stream of cash flow which will help you pay the bills, create more financial security as well as reveal a path to freedom! It is also an amazing real world of vast experience that will definitively make you smarter and stronger.
For a few basic reasons about 75% of new small businesses fail in the first year. Failing is a great learning experience, and I have to admit that my greatest victories and worst failures were the things that gave me the most valuable lessons during much of my life. Having said that, it is way better to win than lose! By giving you this “business starter check-list” I hope you will get more chance to gain a great victory or at least prevent yourself from failure because of basic rookie mistakes.
1 Your business must emphasize your primary skills and passion
Your business must be something that you’re good at and very knowledgeable of, otherwise why someone would ever pay for your products or services?
I get a lot of my supplies from Walmart because they have the most of what I need under the same roof for the lowest price in town. Why the hell would I go buy something in a small mom and pop store? Sometimes I need specific expertise, specialized products or higher level of quality. Those are the main reasons!
If I ever to hire a contractor to install an audio video system in my house, he better knows what his doing and be able to provide very high quality, otherwise I will install it myself or ask a friend!
If you have a special skill set that you have learned at school or even better because it’s your passion, this is where you need to start! Anyway, to make it work you must be your business and your business must be you! Passion is a crucial factor for success, so you better focus on something you love to do, something you’re very good at!
It is not so much about the idea- everybody have ideas- but rather about the potential to executing them!
2 Your business must grow in a niche that feels like home
You must know your niche like the back of your hand. How the industry work? What is their business model? What are the rules of the game? What are the scams? Who is your competition? Why are they selling? Who are their clients? Who are your clients? What is their profit margin? Who are your possible allies? What is the motivation and main concerns of your clients?
There are some books about every types of businesses on Amazon.com. Read about it! Do some research on it on the web. You need to know as much as you can about it until you feel you can write a book on it!
3 Your business must solve real problems with a quality solution
This is a big one! A lot of businesses fail simply because they are not solving any problems! They have this creative new idea that will revolutionize the world simply because it’s “cool.”
Like the iPad, for example! Yes, Steve Job did it with the iPad; creating new needs without solving any real problems. Well, the thing is that with a 1 billion dollars a year in marketing, you can pretty much convince anyone to buy anything.
But for you, the small side business starter, believe me when I say that your best shot is to provide a solution to a real existing problem. A problem that you have most likely already solved on your own!
You don’t need to solve a problem that nobody ever solved before! You can twist or fine-tune an already existing solution or simply have the exact same solution than your competitor; also make sure that you add to it your charming personality!
Sometimes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is only that little extra.
If you’re proposing a solution to someone who has a problem causing him pain in the present, then you have a real possibility to be in business!
4 Your business should run on a pre-tested business model
Why trying to reinvent the wheel? This is very risky and time consuming. Look how your competitor operate and do as them! Of course, you will add your little twist and eventually improve the formula, but it is way smarter to start with a system that has already yielded positive results! Also before going crazy, test your business! Don’t start investing money in marketing, networking and banking before you have made at least 5 sell! This would make no sense!
What is the first thing you need to do when you start a business? Well, 8 morons out of 10 will tell you that you need to incorporate and register a name!
WTF? This is pure waste of time and money! The only thing you need to do is start selling! Test your business on a very small scale. Convince, sell and deliver your solution to at least 5 clients before you can even call it a business idea. Friend, family, neighbour or any random acquaintance …
5 Your business must be easy to sell
If you’re not able to convince anyone to pay for your service or product, you have a big problem. You need to know how to pitch and sell your business! I strongly advise you to buy a book on the subject like Selling For Dummies by Tom Hopkins or Sales Closing For Dummies by the same author. You need to understand the basic structure and process of a good selling pitch! Fortunately, if your business has the first and second aforementioned characteristics, you already have knowledge and passion on the subject which will greatly help, but it might not be enough to convince them to give you money for your solution! Test your skills and if you’re not good enough, then learn, practice and retest! If you cannot convert this business, then you are on the sure path to failure.
6 Your business must please clients
Small side business rely a lot on words of mouth kind of recommendations. For that reason it is critical to make the entire business experience pleasant for your clients. It must feel like a smooth and comfortable ride for them, and of course, you must offer real-time solutions to their problem. That’s why if your business focuses solely on money, then you’ll never make it, but if you love what you do and always put your clients first, you will be on the sure path to success. Also, for that same reason, your most unhappy customers will be your greatest source of learning experience!
Without customers, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby.
7 Your business must be connected
If you want to make business last, your eventual client must somehow know about you! That why you need to make connections with other businesses that offer a different service to the same people you target! For example, a painter can make a deal with the Hardware Store owner, giving him an incentive for every good business referral; the same way affiliate marketing works on internet: if you connect yourself with hundreds of other small business and entrepreneurs, you will surely have business coming your way! The deal is simple: if you scratch my back, I’m going to scratch yours!
On this last one, if your new side business doesn’t meet at least one of those characteristics, you have to seriously reconsider your strategy. A lot of powerful corporations have begun as small businesses like, for example, the famous Apple that started in Steve Jobs’ garage. If you do your homework and you have within you the strength, the patience and passion. YOU CAN get out of the rat race and become financially free doing what YOU LIKE TO DO.
Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” –Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO
If you’re interested to start a side business from your hobbies and passions, but need more ideas and practical advice how to actually do it. Then, I strongly recommend you to take a little of your time to read this great “How-to” book, Turn Your Passion Into Profit by Walt Goodridge. This book is basically a step-by-step guide for creating a passion-centered home based business and is packed full of very useful information.
Until next time …