There’s a lot of things to know when starting a business. Certainly, how to get financing and setting up budgets are a big part of that. Knowing the legal obligations you’ll be undertaking, both as a business owner in general and for your industry in particular, are also important.
But transcending all of those particulars are 3 big concepts that every entrepreneur must know.
What’s your niche?
When you don’t have the resources of a large corporation, then doing “everything” (however you define that) is not going to be possible—at least if you want to do something well. But being small has its own advantages. You can be flexible and you can define, with much greater precision, exactly what your niche will be.
Let’s say you plan to leave a large law firm and set up your own office. You’ve seen all the resources the large firm has and how many practice areas they cover. But it’s also likely you saw areas that were “too small” for them to bother with. Maybe there was an angle on family law or personal injury that wasn’t substantial enough to justify a large firm’s activity, but would be a great starting point for a sole practitioner.
By assessing the marketplace in this way, you do 2 things—first, you find the area of need that you can immediately fill. The second thing you do is take out a certain amount of long-term protection. By moving into a niche area, it’s very unlikely that some larger company will swoop in and steal your market. You’ve already defined that it’s either too small for them to bother or that your ability to be flexible and offer creative solutions will allow you to compete.
The best way to find this type of precise niche is simply to think about exactly what sort of service you want to provide, right down to all the possible variations in your particular line of work.
There’s only person on earth who thinks like you—you are unique and unrepeatable. This time-honored truth can be put to good business use by defining a niche that no one else will find.
Who is your market?
It’s not enough to know that you’ll provide a good product or service. You also have to know there are enough people who are interested in what you plan to offer.
If you’re a veteran of your particular industry, you may already know this information. Other ways of finding your market are to run checks on search engines and social media platforms.
Facebook’s business pages have tools that allow you to find out how many of its members match a specific cluster of interests. Keyword research allows you to know how many people enter certain relevant phrases into a search engine.
These are ways you can find out how many people are interested in what you do.
What is your mission?
Your business is going to have good days and bad days. There will certainly be a lot of uncertain days when you first begin. The temptation to walk away from it all and return to a more secure life might be an option. You are less likely to give up on your business if there’s a deeper mission behind the simple exchange of services or products.
What problem in people’s lives are you really trying to solve? Why is what you are doing making the world a little bit better? We’re not saying you have to approach your business with pie-in-the-sky idealism. But it will be more rewarding—and more likely to succeed—if you have some deeper purpose for doing what it is you do.