By CAPT Scott C. Gibney, US Navy (Ret.), Co-owner Gibney Solutions LLC (College & Career)
Are you dreaming of starting your own business? Many people have visions of being their own boss or working for themselves to achieve financial freedom. They sit around the dinner table discussing a great idea, or explain to friends a new entrepreneurial venture over a glass of wine? But many business ideas never get implemented. Why?
Daily life can get in the way of making that new business venture a reality. But over 500,000 new businesses are started each month, according to the Small Business Administration! And one of those next ventures can be yours. Here are some steps to help you get from that great idea to a viable business.
A critical component of creating a business is understanding what it is you are trying to achieve. Before moving forward, take time to think through your business idea. Start to visualize what a business means to you and what it might look like. What are your goals? What do you hope to gain from going out on your own? This reflection period allows you to expand on the initial idea and to help focus your thought process.
Understanding the market that you are entering and the competitive landscape are key considerations when beginning a company. Learn from the mistakes that others have made and consider how to differentiate your product or service. Find out what your competitors are charging their customers. What price point is right for you? Take a look at the competition’s online reviews. Are they meeting their customers’ needs? Based on this, identify areas where you can improve your product or service.
Plan and Execute
Many potential businesses never become a reality because too much time is spent on planning and not enough on execution. Although a formal business plan is encouraged for some businesses—especially those that might need financing from a bank—many small businesses don’t need to spend months putting together that perfect document.
For example, if a tutoring service or a dog walking business is your dream, you can get started quickly by beginning small—even if it is just one or two clients. First, research and establish your pricing; then, create a flyer and put it in a few mailboxes in your neighborhood. Use your small client base to refine your service. You are getting paid to test your idea.
Are you dreaming about being your own boss? Get started today!
Captain Scott Gibney, USN (Ret.) is a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy and a 30-year US Navy veteran. He and his wife, Susan, own Gibney Solutions LLC (College & Career) (www.gibneysolutions.com), a company focused on college admissions planning and career coaching. Scott can be reached at [email protected]