Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO AZBIO.org shared 7 tips to help entrepreneurs spring ahead.
Tip 1: Go into a business that you have knowledge about. Joan explained that it's so hard to start and build a successful business that will survive and thrive. Increase your odds of succeeding by starting a business you know something about.
Tip2: Offer the products and/or services your customers want, not what you want. "What do you see as a problem created by many entrepreneurs when they decide what they will be making or offering?"-Joan said, "Many entrepreneurs do not do their homework before deciding what to offer or sell. I am amazed at how many entrepreneurs don't do enough research about what their competition is offering and what their potential customers would purchase. I would recommend that entrepreneurs use the tools out there and also spend the money necessary to research their market and product offerings."
Tip 3: "Don't make a product that you wouldn't buy." Joan said,"It's hard enough to sell products that you love and it would be a mistake to try to market something you don't like and wouldn't buy yourself." It reminds me of what comedian Bill Engval says," Here's your Sign." Do you believe that there seems to be an advance sign of probable business failure if you make and attempt to sell something you don't like and wouldn't buy?
Tip 4: Choose your business partners carefully: like you'd choose a spouse... You'll be "in bed" with both. Have you ever heard people say," I'm going into business so I can control my time?"
Entrepreneurs will often spend so much more time working on their business ventures and partner than with their families, especially in the beginning. Developing the right partnerships and making good partnership decisions can make or break or business.
"Don't go into business with people you can't get along with," Joan reminds us. "There are no "silent partners ," unless there are no problems."
Entrepreneurs often must dedicate two or three times as much time to the new business venture to get it off the ground as they would a "traditional job." Who do you want to have involved in your business ?
"Selecting the right business partners" is a topic that should be an article or book of its own.
Tip 5: Don't accept investments from your friends or family unless you want them in your business. When people invest money it changes the relationship dynamics. Too often relationships with family members and friends are destroyed or severely damaged after business investments don't work out.
Tip 6: Consider re-purposing or re-vising existing products before creating new ones. Many businesses have existing products or services which can be tailored to meet the needs to new customers and with minor adjustments the already created products can be profitable. It usually costs less to make a few changes than to start something brand new.
Tip 7: Don't go into business if you can't afford it. This final tip seems so basic yet too many businesses fail. What entrepreneurs must consider is ,"Do you have enough money to pay your own personal living expenses in addition to your business overhead and expenses until your business becomes profitable?"
Success and profitability for most businesses takes longer than expected and costs more than estimated. Having enough money to live on while you build your business will take off some of the pressure and give you a better chance of staying in business.