Creating your business is one of the most exciting and challenging adventures at a time. I have the chance to meet entrepreneurs who have managed to build very beautiful companies (from 0 to several million dollars per year) and this has always been a huge source of learning and inspiration for me.
I am often asked for a lot of advice on this, from a legal point of view as well as pure entrepreneurship. So I decided to give you some tips that I regularly give to entrepreneurs who are starting out.
7 things to do before starting your business
Setting up a business is a real challenge. 80% of companies close their doors within 18 months of their creation. So you need to analyze things step by step and break down what you are going to do.
1. Simulate the operation of your project on paper
This is called a business plan! The objective of a business plan is to allow you to simulate the operation of your paper business to see all the problems that you are likely to have before you have to spend your cash to settle them. This ensures that you are able to control your costs and determine if your project is profitable. This allows for visibility BEFORE you start your business.
2. Talk to at least 200 clients / prospects before you start
Creating a business is about putting oneself at the service of others (by being paid). This implies that you start by asking the opinions of the people whose problems you want to solve. The majority of entrepreneurs who fail always begin with the same assumption:
• "I have an idea"
• "I think that"
• "I want to mount a product that ...”
You have to reverse the situation: it is your customers who dictate the measure. It is up to your customers to tell you what they want and what they are willing to pay for. You must leave your ego aside.
You cannot seriously start a business without having discussed and analyzed the needs of at least 100-200 potential customers. This will cause you to completely revise your initial idea. The majority of the time novice entrepreneurs try to avoid this step (it is stressful), to realize after all the efforts they have made to mount their products do not solve a real problem market.An easy way to do this is to analyze negative comments on Amazon.com or If you have not discussed with at least 200 clients, your project is not ripe or is not a reflection of a market need.
3. Surround yourself with experienced entrepreneurs
Even if you give up a substantial part of your business, your progress will be increased tenfold by having experienced people who will support your project and give you the course to follow. Succeeding a business project is a skill that is acquired. This is why many successful entrepreneurs have successfully completed the following projects. It is a skill that is acquired over time (it takes 10 years wholesale to be able to set up a business that makes 500K of profits per year).
The biggest mistake of novice entrepreneurs is to want to set up their project alone to keep most of their profits. This is the hard method. The advice I can give you is to reverse the situation: set up your first project with very experienced people (+10 years of entrepreneurship). You will learn step by step how the process works. And even if you do not win much, in 5 years you will have an excellent understanding of the process and will be able to set up your own business. You will be a winner in the end because you will be able to reproduce this almost infinitely and have the necessary experience to do it and solve the problems you will encounter on the road.
4. Start by building a community around you
One big mistake I made personally is to start by building a product! Never again ... It cost me practically 2 years to realize in the end that the product did not really correspond to market needs ... Ouch ... But that's how we learn!
The best advice I can give you is to start by building a community around you - that has business potential. And only then to create a business. For example if you want to start a business in the field of travel, start by building a blog about travel like many places to stay in Boston, or a YouTube channel for example. This will allow you to interact with potential customers and ask them what their real needs are and what they would be willing to pay for.
The advantage of this approach further is that one does not need to create one's business (which has a high cost). And in the day you have enough prospects around you, it will be easy to make them a commercial offer. This saves you a lot of expense and will allow your business to be profitable immediately.
5. Do not waste your time with intellectual property
The advice will surprise you, especially since it comes from a lawyer! But I'm talking about experience. Do not file a trademark or - even worse patent - it is a total waste of time when an entrepreneur starts and wants to start his business.
A brand strategy has a substantial cost and is not intended for start-up companies. Regularly, I have contractors who ask me how to file a trademark. My answer is always the same: when you start you have no idea of the real economic profitability of your business. The job of an entrepreneur is to do tests to see if any product works. And to succeed in a business project, do dozens and dozens of tests. So if you spend $ 1000 in intellectual property each time, it will quickly become a total abyss.
Intellectual property is a chasm for small businesses and offers no real profitability.
Reserve a domain name and expand your sales. When you make 200K profit per year it will be time to think about intellectual property and think about a brand strategy. Before, drop, you do not know if you have a stable business and you will not be able to digest the hidden fees associated with trademark filing. It will always be time to change your name if you grow!
And even. Personally I know many entrepreneurs who make 1M profit per year, and who have never registered a mark and to whom it would serve no purpose.
6. Focus on the value you bring to others
Creating your business is above all bringing value to others. For this, you need to determine what has value for them. This involves interviewing enough potential clients to find out why they are willing to spend money. You have to ask yourself these essential questions:
• What value will your customers get from your product?
• How do you measure this value?
• How your product will improve the lives of your customers
• What are your clients' personal and professional priorities?
• How will your product help your customers meet these priorities?
Personally, I appreciate the undertaking because you cannot lie: either you have a solution brings value to others and you are given money in exchange. Either the bank account of your business is empty - meaning that the value you bring is not sufficient. There is no in-between.
You must focus on others and help them progress. It is the only way to create a business and make it live.
7. The main thing is to develop sales, the rest is incidental
The # 1 concern of a young entrepreneur who wants to start his business must be to first develop sales. You have to be in contact with your prospects and propose your solution to help them progress. This should take 90% of your time at the start of the activity.
Once the business works - things change and the role of the entrepreneur is to build processes and ensure to develop more comprehensive structure. But "first things first". First, develop sales! Everything else is incidental when you create your business!
Forget questions about the best status, the risks you may have here and there. We must start, and move forward. The first function of a company is to sell. Building a community, and selling. The rest is incidental. Stay focused on the essentials ("keep the main thing").