If you are a first-time entrepreneur, then you are probably in jitters at the thought of launch. Right? I was exactly where you are now, 3months ago. The pressure to get everything ready and perfect before launch, wondering if my business was really an opportunity that could serve others or just a fancy idea and really, just pure uncertainty. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to get all your ducks lined up in a row before launch. In this post, I will share three bible references to consider before launch and hopefully, you can tweak them for your own success.
1. Show yourself ready. Study to show thyself approved (2 Tim. 2:15)
Indeed! I had the qualifications to be a marketer. I have had since 2013 and had the opportunity to apply my education in establishing the marketing department in a previous employment. However, did I have knowledge on consulting for other businesses and in growing a brand? No. I was lacking in that department. How did I show myself ready? I enrolled in online courses on brand management and becoming a marketing specialist. The impact? I am able to create programs that provide value to my online community.
Tip: We live in an increasingly dynamic society. To remain relevant, you need to be abreast with trends in your field.
2. Refine your ideas like silver. Test them like gold (Zec. 13:9)
Truth is, ideas are a dime a dozen. So, is your business just a good idea or is it a worthwhile opportunity worth pursuing? The answer is in determining your offering and, who you are selling to. A good first step is to evaluate brands doing something similar to what you are bringing to the market. Then, consider how you can leverage on their weaknesses as opportunities. Perhaps nothing is glorified more in this era than entrepreneurship. Therefore, there are “experts” in every field who are trying to sell something, anything to anyone. Unless your business idea is a leg over what is currently available, you will not set yourself apart and customers will not recognize why they need you.
How did I test and refine Askabbie? First, I searched for marketing consultants over the internet, primarily IG, and your guess is as good as mine – I found a plethora, albeit a few from Africa. I knew I didn’t want to just churn out what every other person was doing so this meant refining my original idea to become more valuable to my clients. Among others, one of my refinements was to focus on building a community which provides relevant, actionable guidance from Africans who have succeeded in building a brand. Making your idea agile and adaptable to market needs and conditions is a sure way to set yourself up for success.
Tip: It is okay to tweak your business idea as many times as you need to until you find the right fit for your business and customers
3. Sit down and count the cost (Luke 14:28)
Starting a business has several costs so you need to determine how you are going to fund those. Will you be self-funding or are you hoping to rope in investors? Either way, it is important to have a blueprint of what your running operations will look like (business model), your initial marketing plans and some financial projections. One free tool I used to conceptualize and build my business model is canvanizer. Having a business model serves as a guide post-launch and can be used to rope in investors.
It is easy to get caught in the trap of business planning. Many spend months, even years working on an idea only for it to become extinct at the time of launch. To counteract this, consider having a minimum viable product (MVP). This means drilling your idea to its most basic feature, useful to consumers and then, building up as you receive more reviews from users and/or obtain more funding.
Besides finances, time and effort are other important costs to consider before launching your business. As a full time employee, I have found that dedicating 21 hours per week (weekday evenings and weekends) allows me to create content for my socials, write blog posts and read materials or take courses in marketing. Planning how you will fund your time, efforts and financial costs will help you meet your business goals and prevent burnout.
Tip: As you plan your business, remember to be conservative on your financial projections and realistic with your time and efforts.
There is no better time than now to launch your business. Also, keep in mind that people will not really care when you start out. With time, one person does, then another and before you know it, you have built a community of loyalists who support your business.