When I started Brand Excitement 3 years ago most people thought I was insane. It was the middle of a recession, and my husband Darren was recently laid off and working at a temp job. That didn’t deter me, and I’ve had tremendous success and I believe you can too. It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur because the last 10 years technology has changed the way people do business an leveled the playing field. It’s easier than ever to find your next client. More than ever before consumers have access to the information they need to make quick decisions. You have an advantage over big businesses in that don’t have a monstrous amount of red tape to go through before you can implement your ideas. You can target new markets quickly, and you can change your mind instantly when something is not working.
But being successful at it requires that you look at the big vision and to develop and follow a plan through from soup to nuts. Here’s what I did before I took the plunge. When I launched I did so with a list of people waiting to work with me. I wish the same for you:
1. Slowly phase out of your day job.
When I launched my business I first started part-time. I transitioned slowly by working two days each week from home. That allowed me to use what would have been my “commuting time” to get things in order for the business. Now, if you’re thinking that won’t work for you one of your options may be to take public transportation once or twice a week (you can get a lot done with someone else doing the driving) 0r carpool so that you can get that time on your side. Once I had the essential brand elements in place I was ready to quit and go full-time in the business. It paid off!
2. Focus on your specialty
I was in California a few months ago and they had a hair salon called the dry bar. A salon that just does blow drys. I thought that was genius. When I started, I focused on just service businesses. Just one-person entrepreneur businesses. I chose that group because I could most relate to them, and I could get them a return on their investment easily. I’ve expanded slightly since then but entrepreneurs remain the core of my clientele. And I love working with them. Observe your capabilities and look to see where you can narrow in as a specialty. That helps people make quick decisions to work with you.
3. Build Your Brand.
You should have known I’d hit you with that one. I’m telling you, time after time after time it’s proven that you must build a brand.. a consistent and memorable identity and persona that others can readily recognize both online and off. Do that, and you’ll be taken very seriously in your business. It makes it easy for other to promote you, and it allows you to focus more time on acquiring clients than it would be without one.
4. Get Help…
Around Christmas I reviewed my database to send out some holiday cards and I was really surprised that many colleagues I met just 2 years ago were out of business. Am I smarter than them? No. Richer? No. I think the difference is that I am always seeking help. I’m the first to admit I don’t know everything. I know branding. I don’t know all the other things that make a business work, so I seek help. Sometimes that help is free, and sometimes I have to pay for it. The free help, cheap help and expensive help have all worked to build the business I have today. There are so many resources out there that it doesn’t make sense for anyone to attempt building a business solo.
Entrepreneurship is an inspiring and exciting way to make a living. With the right grounding, and the right community, only you can set the limits of where you take it. What made you decide to go into business? Or, if you’re still thinking about it, what thoughts go through your head? Share them in the comments below.