Entrepreneurship is ingrained in our heritage and is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. Small businesses comprise 99.7% of U.S. firms and provide 64% of net new private-sector employment. With the continuing economic uncertainties, many people are seeking to go into business for themselves.
A good business idea is essential to succeed in a market place crowded with products and services. But, with the advent of the digital age, marketing messages are ubiquitous. Consumers are bombarded with choices. Given these factors, what must be done for a new business to stand out in the marketplace?
Define the Product and Value Proposition
In order to be successful, a business must have a compelling product or service offering. Even more importantly, one should be able to explain the product and value proposition quickly and concisely. The following questions will help define the product and value propositions.
- What does the product or service entail and how will it be delivered?
- Who is the potential customer? Develop a persona of the type of person who would want to use the product or service. What are their characteristics, needs, and challenges?
- Why would a potential customer want to patronize the business? What do they value that the your business can provide?
- What other competitors offer similar solutions?
- What is unique or different about the solution? How does it address a need not currently being addressed or service a market not currently being served? Why would a customer come to this business over a competitor?
This is such a vital step that it is highly advisable to conduct a complete market analysis. Use the local library and online resources to help in this area. A wealth of information and statistics are available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Small Business Administration, census reports, and industry associations.
Develop a Technology Plan
When properly leveraged, technology can provide a competitive advantage. Smart small business use technology to improve communications and connectivity with customers and partners, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. But, most significantly, technology can improve the customer experience and interactions.
With the advent of cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS), small businesses can have enterprise-caliber technology solutions. Although many of these services advertise their ease of deployment, the reality is that an improperly configured cloud solution can cost your business time and money, and won’t deliver the functionality required to gain a competitive advantage.
Due to the numerous skills required, not just to deploy cloud services, but also to provide on-going computer and networking maintenance, it is vital to find an IT services provider that can provide timely and quality support. When selecting an IT service provider, the paramount considerations are depth of expertise, breadth of capabilities, responsiveness, and commitment to customer satisfaction.
What are your plans for your new business?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.