In the last three months I read a lot of books and articles about how to start and grow a successful small business. Usually, before I read in detail on a domain or theme I gather a big bunch of materials and skim them in order to get a panoramic view of the domain. After this I read deeper into the gathered materials and outline a new perspective on the theme. From now on I read in detail, in other words, fill the gaps like a puzzle.
Here I show you my vision on how to build your own successful business step by step:
1. Identify an Opportunity
A good way to identify a business opportunity is to make use of your keen observation. Whenever you find yourself in the street traffic or online traffic use your observation to identify niches that aren’t filled or are filled in a way that can be improved. Become an opportunity detective. Train your eyes and mind to detect signs of business opportunities.
2. Find a Creative Way to Fructify the Opportunity
Once you identified an opportunity, the next step is to think as many ways to exploit the opportunity as you can conceive. Don’t assume that there is just a single way to fructify the opportunity. The best way to find as many ways as possible is to put at work not only your own mind but others (friends, colleagues and acquaintances) as well. After this you have to decide yourself which one is the best.
3. Research the Market
This means that you have to gather, analyze and interpret information about your potential customers, about existing competition and about the product or service you offer. I suggest you to begin with what is called secondary data, information that already exist on internet, newspapers and magazines. All you have to do in this case is to find that information and use it in the decision-making process. Primary data suppose you to organize a survey, to apply a questionnaire to your potential customers. This brings you more valuable and personalized information but cost you more time and money.
4. Forming your Business
If you passed successfully the first three steps, this means that you found a gap or niche in the market and now you can begin to form your business. This means a lot of legal requirements. First of all you have to choose: a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company. For a start up first and second (if your potential partner is a reliable person) options are most suitable.
5. Plan your Business
A successful business needs first a well thought and written plan. Who do you think will succeed: one who manages his business by chance and circumstances, or one who manages his business guided by a step-by-step plan (even if there is a lot of adjustment and adaptation)?
I like to think a business plan in terms of Operations Manual of a franchise. An operations manual tell you in detail all you have to do and this is enough (if the manual is well done) for you to succeed, even if you aren’t an expert.
6. Administration & Management
Once you formed and planned your business all you have to do is to creatively administrate and develop your business. We talk here about the four dimensions of management:
Planning – it means setting goals, objectives and strategies to achieve them.
Organizing – imply designing, scheduling, decision-making, time and stress management.
Leading – team building, motivating, directing, delegating and coordinating.
Evaluating – this means setting standards, measuring results and propose changes if necessary.
7. Human Resources Management
It is possible that at the beginning (home-based stage of a business) you don’t need staff or employees. But if you grow and expand your business, you’ll need to build a team. The process of building your team require first interviewing and recruiting, then motivating and collaborating.
… to be continued