If you're new to the world of entrepreneurship, it may seem daunting for you to get out there and be able to market your idea, products or services to your desired audience.
Below, are 7 concrete steps that will help you navigate through the often tumultuous journey of 'just starting out.' A few of the pointers in this article have been inspired by concepts from 'The Lean Startup', by Eric Reis. Should you feel to need to know about these steps in more detail as well as a more elaborate plan to get started out, make sure to buy yourself a copy of his book, linked towards the end of this article. We provide free shipping on all our products.
7 Steps to become an entrepreneur:
1.Choose a route:
Here’s the deal. Being a ‘jack of all trades’ works well for movie stars and entertainers. Entrepreneurship though, doesn’t work that way. Pick one thing- just one- and master it.
Be it finance, consulting, hospitality, fitness, entertainment, you name it. Pick your industry, and if necessary a specific niche.
2.Wait for a week:
I know… I know… the first day you think about it you’re all excited and you stay up planning ideas the entire night. I’m gonna let you in on a lil secret here- there’s two times your brain doesn’t work straight: 1. When you’re under stress, and 2. When you’re elated or excited.
In this case, it’s number 2. You’re all excited and ready to jump right into it. But wait. Pick the idea and wait for a week. If you’re still as excited as you were on Day 1, you just found the right thing for you.
Being a successful entrepreneur requires persistence. You have to be passionate about what you do, and be as excited as you were on Day 1, when things seem to go against you. This exercise help you to ensure that you’re really passionate about the idea, and you will persist till you succeed.
3.Become and expert:
Hire a teacher, work under someone, be an apprentice, or just stay home and study your target industry/ market. Know the ins and outs and become and expert at it.
Being good at business skills is given; But being a successful entrepreneur requires you to have a good idea of the markets and industries you deal it, especially when starting out, as you’ll have to do most of the work. Once you progress, and start hiring people, you can delegate what you’re not best at doing.
This is where you'll have to start brainstorming and really start thinking like an entrepreneur- by putting your creativity to its limits.
Once you are confident of your idea and know the ins and outs of your target industry/ market, get out a paper and a pen. Put down 10 shortcomings of products/ services in your industry.
Remember, absolute perfection is unattainable. This mean that there is endless room for improvement. Get creative and be open minded. In order to come up with improvements, you have to first believe that there is room for improvement.
5.Do it better:
Once you’re done with the list, pick one shortcoming and rack your brains on how it can be done better. That 'doing it better part'- that's your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your USP is what will give your product/ service a unique edge over every other product in the industry.
Starting out with a unique product gives you a huge boost, in terms of gaining customers. You have to give them a reason to ditch other products and come buy yours.
Once you figure out how it can be done better, there’s no time to waste over analyzing and over thinking things. Get out your product or service as soon as possible.
Eric Ries, in his book The Lean Start-up, calls this the Minimal Viable Product (MVP). It is the most basic version of your product/ service that can possibly be made.
Don’t wait till you create the ‘perfect product’- you’ll never find it.
Give the to the early adopters (as a Beta version, if you wish), your first set of customers.
Remember one thing though- and here's where my opinion differs from Eric's- make sure your MVP has the USP we were talking about. This way, not only will you be able to launch your product as soon as possible, but also give it an edge over all other products in your niche.
7.The Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop:
Once your MVP is out, you’re done building. Now, measure and observe the early adopters’ reaction to it. Take in suggestions and learn how you can serve them better. Implement the suggestions and come out with a better update/ version of the MVP. Keep repeating this cycle.
Remember, the only way you can know what the market thinks about your product, is by putting it out there and seeing it for yourself. No 'studies', 'polls', or 'estimates', can give you the real deal.
This is about it. If you have taken your notes, and follow these concrete steps, you're good to go. Remember that the seventh step is a continuous process. The growth of your business depends on it. Don't just stop after one round of Beta testing. Keep trying, till you get the desired response form your market.
Another very important tip. Don't give up. Trying for a week and quitting will NEVER give you results. Please think long-term.
For more elaborations on starting out an as entrepreneur, make sure to check out 'The Lean Startup', by Eric Reis. Grab a copy below, and get it shipped to you, for free.
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