If we’re going to break down the process of starting or growing a business, the first step is to decide just how you are going to serve your community.
Yes, that’s right- your mindset needs to revolve around how you can give to others, not about what you can do to convince other people to give you money. It’s like the John F. Kennedy quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country.”
Many people have turned away from big corporations because of corporate greed. By serving your community, you’re doing multiple things- you’re proving that you truly care about your customers/clients, and you’re showing that you know what you’re doing.
So step one. Is it a product that you’re creating? Is it a service you’re offering? Find a gap in the community and work to fill it.
Now, I completely understand the challenge of creating something entirely new. People have been creating products and providing services since the very beginning. It’s very possible that your idea overlaps with something that already exists or has already been done.
Guess what…. IT’S OKAY.
It may have been done before, but it hasn’t been done by YOU.
Each person is an individual, and as an individual, you bring your own unique perspective to everything. No two people have had the exact same circumstances. No two people have had the exact same experiences. And no two people have had the exact same environment. Don’t be afraid to let your life influence your business.
So now you’re got your idea. That’s fantastic!
Now you need to figure out how your product is different from all of the others. Is it more environmentally friendly? Are your ingredients gluten-free? Is your service mobile instead of brick and mortar?
Think about the brands that you’re loyal to. Why have you chosen those over their competitors? Some people pick a car based on its safety features. Others buy a car based on its miles per gallon, while still others pick one based on its environmental impact.
By considering the factors that have gone into the purchasing decisions you’ve personally made, you can get a feel for some of the things people are looking for.
Yes, many of us make choices based on what’s least expensive. Honestly, lots of people do that, and the “lost-cost” strategy is one that many brands choose. Just look at Walmart. Walmart has successfully positioned itself as a low-cost leader, and most people recognize it for that.
However, that strategy isn’t necessarily one that small businesses should immediately adopt.
If your plan is to sell the same product as a big business but for LESS, you’re going to end up hurting yourself. You have to buy the materials, spend time making the product, then wait for it to sell. Big businesses don’t have the same overhead as small ones. Consumers also believe the phrase “You get what you pay for,” and you don’t want to risk scaring anyone off by having someone think your product is poor quality. Just be careful with this kind of positioning, and don’t expect to make a profit by starting with this kind of strategy.
Figuring out what makes your idea special is going to pave the way in determining who your audience is, how you’re going to find that audience, and how you’re going to market it.
I know this might all seem daunting. I know it be be hard to see just how your idea is different from others. Maybe you need input from a friend or family member.
Regardless of the time it takes or how you get that, all that matters is that you start. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Changes can always be made later. Growth is a thing, and nobody starts at the finish line.
Just remember that you can do this. Your community will be better for your contribution and service.