Everyone wants a Dream Job right? Well, here’s how to start a business, from ideation to marketing, and finally smashing your goals!
A Dream Job is so much more than just a career – it’s that ‘butterflies in your tummy’ kind of job. It challenges us, it excites us, and it’s a job where your co-workers are your besties. You work so hard on it because it’s your passion, and you can’t stop thinking about it (or stop talking about it!). Oh, and it pays us what we are worth. I am lucky enough to say that I have achieved this – and it’s not impossible to do. You just need to know how to start a business – and that’s where we can help.
Often when we think about our careers we point to reasons why it’s not where we want it to be. The economic climate, COVID-19, our parents, our family responsibilities – the list goes on. But really, the only thing that’s holding you back is… you.
For example, you might think I have no idea what I want to do. That’s the first stumbling block. But hey, I see this as an opportunity – it means you are not fixed on any one idea!
So here is a step-by–step guide on how to start a business, become your own boss, and land that Dream Job of working for yourself.
Psst – you might also like to check out these tips on how to be more productive so that you can launch your side hustle!
HOW TO START A BUSINESS YOU LOVE
This is the first step, the time to workshop an idea. You’ll want to think about what your niche is, and what problem you can solve. Ideally, you need to be able to explain your business in one simple sentence, focusing on the results you achieve for your customers. For example:
The Digital Collective helps business owners in Asia start and scale their business so they can have more time, more money and less stress.
We have put together a downloadable guide – 12 steps to starting and scaling a business which walks you through step-by-step how to workshop your niche and your winning idea.
2. Validate your idea
Once you have created your idea, you need to validate it. That is, you need to test whether it’s going to work. There are lots of different ways you can validate your idea, from testing it on social media, to surveying potential clients, and even pre-selling your product or creating a wait-list for once you’re ready to rock. Tim Ferriss’s “4 Hour Work Week” was the first author I read who described some really great validating tools. You can essentially test, iterate, and test again until you have the right feedback and feel confident that there will be demand for your product or service.
3. Set a goal – and make it a ‘hairy’ one
Now you have your idea, you’re probably on the edge of your seat ready to bring your business
to life. So the next thing to do is set yourself some goals. You can’t do everything at once, so you want to break it down so it is manageable, so you know exactly what you need to be focused on from day one. Start at the big goal, and work backwards.
We love the idea of setting a Big Hairy, Audacious Goal (a term coined by Jim Collins, author of ‘Good to Great’). A Big Hairy, Audacious Goal (or BHAG) is more than just a goal. We’re talking about setting yourself a challenge that is so audacious, outside-the-box, and hairy that it might feel as if you’d never achieve it. And the reason this is so important? It helps shape your mindset to reach for the stars.
The BHAG for Honeycombers is to help millions of people live better lives.
The BHAG for the Digital Collective is to help 500,000 business owners have more time, more money and less stress.
4. Define your audience
Almost as important as your idea and establishing your goal is defining your audience – this is a biggie. You need to know everything about your target audience, that way you know where to find them and how to speak to them. We have a handy Avatar tool that helps with this.
5. Create your brand
Of course, your branding is a key element when starting a business. It’s not just your logo, font, or image – it’s what people feel when they think of you.
I love this quote from Jeff Bezos:“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
From this you need to create your logo, brand style, tone, and your website – all of which require different skills, so we recommend that you get help in these areas. Take a look at our website for some more details on creating these key brand elements, or drop us a line and we can help. We’ve even got a resource on the importance of branding here.
6. Create your marketing plan
This is a biggie, and something you need to work through. I still like the old-school framework. “The 4 Ps of Marketing”: Product, Price, Promotion and Place.
Product: This is everything to do with your product or service and includes how the product works, the packaging, and what the product does for the consumer.
Price: This is the pricing strategy for your product or service. This could be a fixed price, or a cost-up pricing, or flexi-pricing.
Promotion: How are you going to reach out to your target market? How are you going to create awareness and get into the consumer ‘consideration set’? There is a lot to consider in the area of promotion.
Place: The final ‘P’ refers to your distribution strategy, and how you are going to get your product to your customers. This is also very important, because the ‘Marketing Rule of 7′ explains that it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before a purchase will take place.
7. Get legit
Registering your company is quite different for different markets – we know, we have companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Australia (our Accountants love us!).
It’s important that you understand the local requirements and also get some help to make sure you get your business registered correctly. If you would like some help on this, drop us an email and we can help you with some more details – but the important thing to remember is, it will take time and cost money, so you need to be prepared for this step.
8. Get operationally ready
To run a successful business you are going to need to think through the operations of the business. Here are some key things to consider:
- How are you going to make your product?
- What do you need to make it?
- How are you going to have the resources?
- What are the processes involved?
- Can you apply some systems?
- Do you have clear, specific and measurable goals for each step?
- Can you use some software to help you run your business smoothly?
- How can you track your business daily, weekly and monthly?
Check out our article on the best business tools and apps to see our list of recommendations.
9. Time to scale
Are you at that point when you need to scale up your business? This is exciting, but it can also be somewhat of a ‘scary’ time – hiring people can be complex and challenging, and again there are different legal requirements in each market across Asia. We go into the Singapore requirements in our digital guide, 12 Steps to Starting and Scaling in Singapore. If you are based in another market, we recommend you reach out to a local expert to walk you through the process.
My only advice for the hiring process is, hire people that are better than you in areas where you are weak. Be clear about your goals for the role, and set clear and measurable KPIs. Sounds easy, right?
10. Check your mindset
Starting your own business is full-on. Lots of hats, lots to do, a lot of unknowns – it can become overwhelming very quickly. Some people find it hard not having a boss keeping them accountable. Others find it hard working out what to focus on (there is a never-ending list of ideas that just keeps growing!). And some people find it hard to stop work, thanks to #passion. Ideas waking you up at 4am? You betcha!
My advice is to be ready to make sacrifices, but keep your lifestyle in balance. Take time out, and remember why you started. With passion and purpose, anything is possible.
11. Get the right team onboard
Life is easier when you have a great team in your corner! You are going to need a good locally-based Accountant and Lawyer (who is very familiar with the local financial & legal requirements), and we also recommend you find a great business coach. You can save yourself a lot of money, time and pain with the right team to support you.
12. Enjoy the ride
One key thing to remember is that starting your own business is not a linear experience. You will experience curve balls, ups and downs – and that’s ok. In fact, that is very normal!
What’s important to remember is your ‘why’ – your core purpose and your passion. And that just like anything in life, nothing is permanent.
Finally – I love this quote: “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.” — Anonymous
So true, right?