Updated: Apr 6
Starting a Business - Part 1
When starting a business, you need to get clear on what problem you solve and for whom. If you’re in business, you’ve heard this before. It seems so simple so why do so many of us still struggle with it? Although your product or service may benefit a lot of people, you won’t appeal to everyone, and that is A-ok. It's actually more than ok! Embrace this idea and you're already turning down the volume on the noise and focusing on what really matters. Don't sweat it, even though you won't appeal to everybody, you will appeal to a lot of "somebodys".
Let’s break it down.
Starting a Business = Solving a Problem (The What)
You discovered you can solve someone's problem or fill a void in a specific industry or market. Now, on a scale of 1-10, how crystal clear can you get about the problem you solve? For now, let’s forget perfect and focus on progress. Begin with a brain dump, start asking questions, and getting it all out there. We will get much more granular on how to communicate this to your audience in the next blog in this series where we explore brand positioning.
Think of it like this, the problem you solve is likely a problem you have faced and overcome. Are we right? When you're identifying the problem you solve don't be surprised if you get stuck. Real quick, let's touch on a few common roadblocks and how to move beyond them:
Doubt creeping in. Listen, there is a market for what you do only because other people are successfully doing it, too. If you were the best restaurant, would all the other restaurants go out of business? No. Strive to be the best you can be for your customers. Don’t think about the competition (at least right now). You are operating on a unique plane. Embrace what makes you, well, YOU. Relish in your authenticity. Dismiss the doubt, it's normal and also bullshit.
Am I ready? We know, you are thinking "but I haven't checked all the boxes yet". You will always be working towards a new goal and will always have boxes to check. Let us repeat...YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE BOXES TO CHECK. Don't let that stop you in this process. If you wait for the day when you feel perfectly prepared, it will never happen. Be sure not to forget you have an idea, a product, or something of value to share, otherwise, you wouldn't be starting this business in the first place. That is all you need at this point. Well, that, some thick skin and a fair amount of courage.
Is it important enough? Don't even go there. If you have felt the need/desire for what you are doing, chances are others have felt it as well. There are others out there who will want it. This blog series will walk you through how to find those people and show them why they need/want it. We will get to that. For now, just keep thinking about the void you fill, keep your head high and continue to push forward. In case you need to hear it, what you are doing is important enough.
We hope the heads up on these roadblocks will help you stay hyper-focused on why you are doing what you're doing. Sometimes these hurdles cause people to give up before they even get started. If you deeply believe in the problem you are solving or the void your product or service fills, you can confidently convey the importance of it to others.
Now, sit down with a pen and paper (old school baby) brainstorm, and identify the problem you solve without hesitation or doubt.
Starting a Business = Helping a Person (The Who)
Who are you solving this problem for?
Many of us try to serve a broad audience and we resist committing to a specific ideal customer. Having a more concise summary of who they are, their needs, and pain points gives you clear direction and consistency in your marketing. This is key to focusing your efforts where they count. This will allow you to develop content that will attract your ideal customer and focus on customer satisfaction and a better return.
Consider their demographics, but also their psychographic characteristics. These characteristics are how individuals think and make buying decisions. Your ideal customer is likely who you used to be. An effective way to begin to understand your ideal customer is to recognize what they are currently spending their money on and how it relates to what you are selling or offering. For example, if you're selling a specific supplement, your ideal customer is someone who has previously paid for supplements. This sounds too obvious, but it's not. They have an interest in improving this area of their life. Consider what other characteristics they have and where you may find them. Maybe (in this case) at the gym flexing in the mirror? Kidding, everyone needs good supplements. The point is, you will begin to identify who is most likely to buy your product or service.
Brainstorm your thoughts on who you think your ideal customer is and where they might be. Be sure to download our worksheet to get you heading in the right direction.
Starting a Business = Your Market (The Niche)
“Your small business can’t do everything and compete with everyone.” -woocommerce
We know that, but so many of us still struggle, because we don’t want to narrow it down too far. But the truth is, we know we can't compete if our market is ‘fitness’ or ‘supplements.’ Who are you within your marketplace? Think of things from your customers' perspective- what is the category with which they identify?
Consider these things to get your brain juices flowing.
What you sell - maybe it’s workout clothes, but you have the best compression leggings
Your ideal customer - age, gender, interests, people you attract or who are most likely to relate to you and vice versa
How you sell - online store, brick and mortar, DIY courses, membership or subscriptions, coaching programs, accelerated programs or starter kits, etc.
Gaps in the market - Within fitness, for example, try to identify a perceived gap - such as postpartum fitness
Price points - luxury or budget-friendly
Location - southern eats, city living, etc.
Find where 2 businesses intersect - such as goat yoga or drinking wine while painting
Brainstorm potential niche markets within your overall market.
If you did these exercises, how did it feel? Did you see a thing or 2 that got you a bit excited? Sometimes we try too hard to narrow down to the perfect thing before we even had a chance to explore all the possibilities. We’ll be using this brainstorm to help us get more clarity in the next blog where we will start developing your brand identity and personality.
Check out Starting a Business - A Guide for the Online Entrepreneur for a summary of this blog series and what you can expect to learn each week.
Evoke Creative • Helping you, help them.