This question-and-answer session was filmed live for YouTube last year, and there were some really valuable questions asked, so ahead of the next Q&A on Monday 16th, I wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to see what was asked. I hope you find some value in the answers, and there will an opportunity to ask your own, at the end of the article.
Q: I’m thinking of starting my own business – what do I need to consider?
Well, that’s a big question with a long response, so I’ll begin with some assumptions.
Firstly, I am making the assumption that you have already considered your product or service and found a need for it in your market arena. I’m also assuming that you have the confidence that your business will help you achieve your end goal – your mission and vision, your real reason ‘why’.
So, moving on, starting your own business can be exciting but also challenging at times. You will need a support network of people around you. Not just family and friends that will give you unconditional support, but as important as that is, you’ll need someone who will question and challenge your decisions, dedication, perseverance and drive. Someone that will help you develop a growth mindset.
This may be someone in your network, a past employer, a professional trainer or business mentor.
Another important consideration is the cost of your business. Can you afford to do it? Not all entrepreneurs are pure risk takers so do you know how much working capital you have? Do you have a line of credit in place or personal reserves in case it doesn’t go to plan in the early days? What are the payment terms to your customers, so you know when you’ll be paid and do you have a plan in place to make sure you get paid on time? And do you have a financial forecast in place?
Q: What is your number one tip for entrepreneurial success?
Interestingly, I have a free e-book of 21 Tips for Entrepreneurial Success, which can be downloaded from my free resources. But I think of those, my number one tip would be around making sure that you’re staying focused. Part of that is the ability to say no and decline an invitation to something that is actually a distraction.
If you develop the ability to know or sense when something’s not right, then you can concentrate on your planned high pay-off activities and protect your progress towards your mission and vision.
Q: How do I price my offering?
Pricing decisions are critical in any business, as what you charge will affect how many sales you make and eventually the profit that’s achieved.
You could begin by calculating your costs and adding a margin, or you might do some market research and price yourself according to your competitors. Be aware that pricing lower than your competitors will limit your earning potential and may affect your customers perception of the value of what you offer. Too cheap and they believe your quality is low too.
When you’re pricing, keep in mind that you’re charging for your expertise, knowledge and skill – so what are you offering that gives value, by comparison to your competitors that will motivate your customers to pay a premium price? Do you offer added value and is that clearly communicated?
Then consider, how you charge your customers. Will you offer day-rates, packages or an hourly rate? Bear in mind here, that with an hourly rate you may be asked to show proof of what those hours involved, and your charge is then based on time and not your expertise.
I would suggest some market research, but also to forecast your own expenses and sales volumes.
Q: What’s the best way to achieve my goals?
Now, don’t glaze over when I ask this! Are your goals SMART? It is so frustrating when you have goals in your plan, but you don’t achieve them, so I would ask you, are your goals well considered to begin with? Then look at the actions you need to be taking, identify the high pay-off ones and stay focused. Everything else will fall into place.
To stay focused, make sure you write your goals and actions down. Share them with your support network and celebrate the achievements. This way there’s accountability and recognition of success.
As well as planning for success, you need to plan for obstacles that will try to prevent you from achieving your goals. What can you list that you know are potential obstacles? Motivation is one, distractions, and objections are others. So, note down what you can do to ideally avoid them all together or face them head on with solutions.
I’m really passionate about effective goal planning and I have a number of articles in the blog that will help you with this. Some of the links are below to make it easier to find them, or simply type ‘goal’ in the blog search box.
Further reading and listening to help with your business questions
There are a number of free resources on the website to help you, including the Knowledge Base, Blog, and Podcast.
Here are some quick links to make it easier for you;
- The one Page Business Model Canvas
- 10 Steps to Consider When Scaling Your Business
- 21 Tips for Entrepreneurial Success
- 3 Ways to Find the Strength to Say No
- Get Paid on Time
- Smarter Goals – The Best Bits
- Managing Your Time with Effective Goal Planning
If you’d prefer to watch and listen to this article on my YouTube Channel, simply click here: Live Q&A with Mike Foster
And finally, if you have any questions that weren’t covered here, join me live on LinkedIn on Monday 16th May for the next Q&A session (keep an eye on social media for the timings). If however you’d like to talk to me about your own situation in business one on one, please do find some time to book an hour of free business mentoring with me, Mike Foster, The Entrepreneurs Mentor!