One popular belief is that you need tons of experience, expertise, and knowledge to start a business. The opposite is true. While it helps to go to school and learn the tricks of the trade, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot start a business because you do not have a degree. The important things to remember are, you need to research, ask the right questions, and get the best advice you can.
What are the right questions to ask? Below are ten questions to ask to get you started. Of course there will be many more as you go, but at least you have something to start with. First, you should ask yourself, how do you start a business without experience? Next is, what are some things you need to do to get started? The third question is, what are the legal matters you must know in order to get started? Fourth, what do you need to know about your target audience?
Moving forward, five is, how do you commit yourself to a market solution, not just a small idea? Number six is, how do you choose your industry wisely? Seven asks how do you build street credibility (also what is it)? Eight is what free resources can you rely on? Nine is when will you know you need to see outside help? Last but not least, number ten is how do you put your strengths to work? Below I go more into detail with these questions.
How To Start A Business Without Experience?
Think about what you already know about business. Use your work experience as a guide. Maybe there are things you have witnessed or realized that was not part of your daily tasks which you can use for your business. For instance, have you ever listened to what others are saying while you are at the office? Whether you listen to coworkers or supervisors talking at work, there is most likely some bits about doing business that you have picked up on.
You may not even be aware of some things you learned about doing business. Maybe you have heard complaints about what went wrong in the workplace – something you may have a solution for. Or maybe you heard someone say, “I wish ‘it’ can be done this way”; even though “it” can be done their way, they may have been told they weren’t allowed to.
What are some things you need to do to get started?
Research is the most important thing to do. First, ask the right questions. This is all part of the research process. You may research questions you need to have answers for if you do not know what questions to ask. It is okay to search on Google or Bing and quickly search for important questions to ask when starting a business.
There are many resources on the Internet or your local library that you can use to get started. Make certain your sources are reliable however. If you are reading an article and you can sense the information is totally outrageous, then you can come to a quick conclusion that it is probably not the right source to use.
When reading any article, however, make a note of the different points it makes. Whatever is clear and understandable is fine, but whatever you do not understand, take that point and do more research on it. See if what was written was also said by somewhere else. Sometimes having a few people say the same or similar things can give you an indication the information may be something worth keeping in mind.
Another thing you will need to get started is legal advice. Never assume that what you learned where you work or what you think is okay is legal. Start off on the right foot and do business according to the law. You want to avoid being that person who did something illegal and now has a reputation as such plastered all over the World Wide Web.
What are the legal matters you must know in order to get started?
It is impossible to know everything about the law. Speak to a lawyer if they give free consultations and ask them what you should know. Ethics play a role here too. There are many gray areas which are prevalent in ethics. For instance, what do you tell a customer if you promised them a shipment by a certain date even though you already knew there is a possibility it cannot be fulfilled? You already promised it, but you know it may not happen.
If you say you are going to do something, you need to do it. That is the bottom line. Give your customers quality products in a timely manner. Do not always rush to get the job done. Sometimes there are moments when you have to rush, but don’t let it happen if it is not necessary. For the most part, the only time you will need to rush is when the customer requests it.
What do you need to know about your target audience?
What are their interests? Do some research and see if there are any typical or general interests the target audience has. If you already know them or know their interests, then you are ahead of the game. Of course, since you are the expert in your niche, or should be, you will know a lot about their interests already.
You can do some research on social media to find out what their interests are as well. Facebook has groups and so does Twitter. Find a group related to your niche and observe it to see what people are talking about. Use this as advice on what types of products or services to market as well.
The best advice for using social media groups to learn more about your target audience is not to join any group and post on there asking all kinds of questions. For instance, you don’t want to join a group and then ask everyone to give their opinion about their favorite game, or gadget. Just observe first, and then engage in the conversation as you would with a friend. Get to know people first, and then ask them questions here and there. It is all about patience.
How do you commit yourself to a market solution, not just a small idea?
You need to ask yourself certain questions before trying an idea to see if it works. What problems does your target market have? Once you can pinpoint the problem, then you can look for solutions. Most likely, you will not find any market without faults. There are plenty of problems that need to be resolved. Even the competition cannot resolve every issue out there.
Many entrepreneurs begin with a lot of “strong domain” experience but little to no business experience. Being in business is about finding solutions. That is what sets the strong businesses apart from the others. You do not want to sell just anything because you observe that it makes someone else nice profits.
You have to have a passion about it for one thing, and you want to give them something that will resolve an issue they may have. This issue can be from something they bought somewhere else, or it can be an issue they have had for a period of time and need a solution for it. There may not even be a problem, so it may just come down to differentiating your product from the rest.
How do you choose your industry wisely?
Choose something that does not just interest your target market. You should have an interest in it too. More than just a little interest, you need to like the products or services that are out there in the market. If you do not like the products or services the market has to offer, how will you feel when you are doing business with the people who are interested in them?
I would say you would not seem too enthusiastic to your customers and potential customers. People will pick up on that and it can break the business relationships you worked so hard to make. So please do yourself a favor and do not get wrapped up in an industry that you do not have an utmost passion about.
How do you build street credibility (cred for short)?
You need to let people know who you are. This pertains to building relationships with your customers, and since you are new with the business, you will build relationships with potential customers. Spend some time before launching your big business idea learning more about your industry and the people who spend money there.
You can always try selling other people’s products first – as an affiliate marketer and learn something new about the products you sell them. When you have enough knowledge and you are talking about the product online (such as on your blog), this will help build street credibility as the people who read it will feel you know what you are talking about.
What free resources can you rely on?
Networking is a great free resource. Talking to others in the industry and learning new things about it will be to your advantage. You should also ask for advice. Before you jump right in and start asking for advice however, break the ice with some small talk first. Get to know some people before asking a lot of business questions.
In fact, you can treat this more like a social outing because you do not want to only try to get information from people. This may actually turn them off and they will not want to give you any information.
Other than networking, you can also consider resources that are low cost instead of free. Sometimes Universities offer free or low cost coursework, books, or seminars. I would definitely look into this if you were not sure how to network. Here is where you can ask a bunch of questions because that is what is encouraged at school.
When will you know you need to seek outside help?
As you should realize, you will need a business plan. When creating your business plan, it is always best to ask for help with it. For example, a gentleman named Evan Solida founded a company called Cerevellum back in early 2009. His invention was a digital rear-view mirror for bicycles.
Naturally, Mr. Solida wanted to save money any way he could, so he used Internet resources to create his plan and also draft his legal documents. With much frustration and use of a lot of his time, he then decided it would be better to pay for a professional to help with both tasks.
The business plan needs to meet certain criteria; especially if this is a business you need a grant for or a small loan. Banks and agencies that approve grants want to see a solid plan before they take the risk to lend or give you money. It is the same thing when you or anyone else will invest in a company. You want to see their annual report, which gives you this information and more.
You know that investing in any company is a risk, but you should not want to take too much of a risk. You also do not want to risk that your business plan is of poor quality. Not just for your customers’ sake, but for the future of your business. All the financials and marketing need to be taken care of from the start. Otherwise, you will need to back track and it will waste a lot of valuable time which you could be spending making money.
How do you put your strengths to work?
Think about what your strengths really are. Is it planning the business, giving creative ideas, or being the solutions finder? Maybe your strength is marketing, but whatever your strengths are, put them to work for you. Work on the strengths first and when you have mastered one, then you can move on to another. Otherwise, it will take you much longer to get things running smoothly.
Putting a business together takes time and patience. Do not try to put it together too quickly. You want to be focused and organized, as this will help you to be “well planned.” A business with a strong plan is more likely to succeed than something you just threw together in an hour.
For your Information
Now you know at least ten questions to ask. These questions were given to you for basic information and a foundation to get started. Now I want to give you some ideas as to what goes into a business plan. This is so you know what to expect and you can at least try and draft one on your own. Remember, it is best to get a professional to do this for you, but you still need to know what goes into it so you know if the one written for you has everything it should.
Below I am going to list different sections of the business plan and explain a little but about each section. The more you know about the business plan, the better prepared you will be. Remember, if you want to start a business without experience, this is where you can learn much of the information you will need to get started. So let us move forward.
Not all business plans are created equal, but you will at least have basic information to include. Once you begin your plan, it will change over time and also remember; you will not know everything that needs to be included as to why I suggest getting a professional to help with it. Below are some sections you will want to include.
The executive summary will tell the person reading the plan what you want for your business. A big mistake often made is burying this information somewhere else in the plan. The summary needs to explain certain things from the start so you need to be clear and concise in the very beginning.
Keep the summary short and businesslike and no more than half of a page. Depending on how complicated or detailed you need to be about how you will use your funds may make the summary a bit longer. As a general rule of thumb however, and since you are just starting out, you only need your summary to be half of a page.
There are some other key elements that need to be included in the plan. They are as follows: business concept, financial features, financial requirements, current business position, and major achievements. These are not the ones I will focus on too much, but just something to keep in mind.