Starting a business is all about answering questions. Although you may have answered all of the questions from our previous post, there will be many more. The ultimate goal is to narrow down your idea, and execute a plan to create the best product/service you can.
You may think your ideal situation is to ensure that your idea has never been done before, but I encourage you to modify this perspective: your idea should be the best version there is in the marketplace. Your competitor’s weaknesses are your future strengths, objectives, and goals.
Remember to stay true to your vision, mission and objectives and the direction of your life.
Every idea needs sharpening; no idea is perfect on its own.
Remember, we all have the potential to become an entrepreneur. Many of us are gifted and skilled enough to provide a service in the community that addresses these factors:
- It does not require large start-up costs
- Government regulations are relatively manageable
- You can launch it beginning with your own network of family and friends
Most importantly, if you’re really great at what you do, obtaining referrals should be easy! Let’s take a look at a few examples.
- Fitness trainer
- Subject matter expert
- Child care
- Content writer
- Graphic designer
- Jewelry making
- Event planning
- Web designer
If you don’t see your particular skill in the list above, don’t sweat it. Go back to your notes from our previous brainstorming activity and find what inspires you every day, out of which you can create a service/product that is satisfactory to the needs of your future customers.
Always keep an open mind. “Eureka” moments can easily happen when you find yourself saying:
- How I wish there was a….
- This product/service could be better if it did…
- If only someone would have thought about…
Those are moments that you can be innovative and think clearly about a potential business idea.
Things to consider if you’re called to do business today
You’ve just been called for your service and you feel overwhelmed as to where to start. Here is a checklist to keep you on track:
☐ Free estimate or consultation?
☐ Will you offer a discount?
☐ When will you submit your estimate?
☐ How soon will you hear back from your clients?
☐ Materials: Identify the materials you need and if you need to rent any equipment.
☐ Time: What is your expected start date and end date (also note if it is weekday or weekend)?
☐ People: Based on CRA rules, will you be able to hire a sub-contractor? Or can you hire employees on a temporary basis or permanently? Read the guide employee vs. self-employed.
☐ Monitoring: How will you ensure that you are providing quality service and reduce the risk of losing resources?
☐ Policy: Do you have a policy on customer satisfaction? Will you refund money for dissatisfied customers? How will you manage?
☐ Insurance: What are you covered for in regards to commercial insurance? Will your employees require workers’ compensation? Or require a clearance certificate?
…and most importantly…
☐ Contact person: Who will be accessible to your client? What times can they be reached? What is the expected communication time frame?
☐ Follow up: Inform your client you will be sending a survey to assess the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
☐ Testimonials: Ask if you can use their testimony and, most importantly, if they can provide a referral.
☐ Future maintenance schedule: Communicate a plan to ensure you maintain service throughout the year. Also, at what fee?
- Ensure you update your website with your client’s testimonial.
- Ensure you obtained permission to contact them by email in future.
- Ensure you appreciate your employees and pay them or the client according to what was agreed upon.
Keep those entrepreneurial dreams alive!
Cesar Gomez-Garcia has been with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for six years. His current role at the CFIB is helping members with their questions on compliance. These questions can range from employment standards to health and safety, as well as complicated red tape situations that small businesses face. His passion is reading and writing about entrepreneurship. Learn more about Cesar via LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @josuegomezg.