How to Start a Business, Part Four
Design Your Business, Your Way!
If you've read the previous posts on mindset, vision and values and finding you're 'why,' you know it's vital that your business is a reflection of your values, offers a creative outlet for your personal vision, satisfies your own personal dreams and supports your 'why.' (Whew! That is a lot to ask of a business. I know it sounds overwhelming. Don't worry. Spending some time and thought as you get started could prevent you from starting a business that becomes a burden to you.)
In this blog, you will discover how to combine your expertise with your values and your vision to clearly define your business idea. And finally, money. Yep, making money is essential to your business, and it's time to start thinking about what you want to earn and set revenue goals.
Find and Focus on Your Expertise
What are you really good at? What do you find super easy to do? What projects or tasks can you lose yourself in (you know the ones where you look up and realize it's dark and dog still needs to fed)?
The answer to those questions may seem deceptively simple. At one point in my career, I ran a travel department. More than half of our business was group bookings. I was very good at organizing, pricing, and managing group travel. After a series of mergers and acquisitions I eventually moved away from the travel industry. Although I enjoyed success in that field, I needed a new direction.
I had to answer those questions for myself.
What am I good at? What's easy for me to do? What do I lose myself doing?
And now, many years later, I have an online business that I enjoy that supports my lifestyle.
Do your areas of expertise match up with your interests? (If so, you have already found the perfect niche - more on niche markets later.) It may sound counterintuitive that you would have expertise in an area that you don't hold a particular interest in, but it happens. For example, you may be excellent at organizing and creating fundraising events, but that probably won't be an expertise that will show up in your chosen niche of coaching high school students in selecting and applying for college.
Later blogs will explain in more detail the steps of setting up a business. For now, find and focus on your expertise.
What is your expertise? This can sometimes be a difficult question to answer. And even if you immediately have an idea of what you are great at, you might be forgetting other areas of strength.
In your Action Guide, you'll find a checklist and questions to take you through the critical tasks a business owner has to cover. Check each one based on the following:
- You are good at it and love doing it.
- You hate doing it (even if you are good at it).
- A task you might be prepared to do if necessary or that you would do in 'down time' (for example, a mindless task that gives your brain a rest).
Once you have completed this exercise, you will have an excellent analysis of your current strengths and weaknesses as a business owner. (You can use these results to assist you in deciding what tasks need to be systematized and automated or even outsourced.)
Do you need a deep dive exercise to help you discover your areas of expertise and strengths? Pick up the Unveil Your Brilliance workbook and planner. Dedicate a few hours to work through these exercises. When you are done you will be confident of your expertise and ready to unveil your brilliance. You will have a plan to build your credibility with your audience, and be ready to grow your business!
Clarify Your Business Idea
It's rare to meet a business owner who had no idea what type of business they wanted when they started the entrepreneur journey. But they do exist. Think about the entrepreneurs who want a laptop lifestyle. They want to escape their 9-to-5 jobs and to explore the world. But they have no idea what type of business they can start to allow them to do it. Their lifestyle choices have a big impact on the business they design. They look for a business they can run on a laptop from anywhere with WiFi. You can't easily explore the world while running a brick-and-mortar business.
On the other hand, many business owners are driven by the need to share an idea with the world or to positively influence people's lives. To make an impact, their business choices are guided by their desires to change the world for the better.
Does it matter what influences your decision? Short answer is no. The long answer is ... it depends. (Depends on what? Being honest with yourself. Discovering your true motivations. Finding and dealing with your internal beliefs that might contradict your decision. Making an authentic choice.) The path you create and follow can lead you to success. But it would be best if had a clear idea of what you want your business to be.
Have you done some research or even worked on a prototype? Or you've had a dream business in mind since you were a child?
Are you still unclear about the details? Try describing the type of activity you envision.
- I want to work with businesses to make more profit.
- I want to sell products that promote healthy beauty.
- I want to introduce healthy cooking into my neighborhood.
It's time to get to work and commit your business idea to paper. Set aside a few hours to flesh out your idea. Write it all down - every idea, thought, criticism, or crazy scheme. Include as many details as you can. Take a break. Take a walk. Take a day. Then come back to your notes and see what resonates with your heart. Ideally, your idea will be influenced by your strengths and talents and what you can bring to your customers.
If you're struggling, look back at the Key Tasks table you filled out of things you love and find easy to do. For example, you might find it easy to use time-saving systems for planning and organizing, but there are many business owners who don't and need help from someone like you.
Money! Decide on Your Revenue Targets
Now to the fun topic: MONEY! It is the time to determine the income you want from your business. It's important to have an idea of what you need/want from your business before you get in too deep.
How much do you want your business to earn every month? The answer is your revenue target. For example, if you are looking to replace a full-time income, your targets will be higher than if you want to supplement your current income. (Remember, revenue is the total amount of money you make in your business before you deduct expenses and taxes.)
Let's review the process for calculating your target monthly revenue.
In conclusion, creating a fulfilling and successful business according to your values, expertise and vision is imperative. When you align your skills with your interests, you can more easily identify your niche audience and provide them with valuable solutions. Plus, taking the time to clarify your business idea and setting revenue targets keeps you focused and motivated. Remember that building a business takes dedication, hard work, and passion.
With the right mindset you have to power to turn your dreams into your dream business.