Given the day and date I thought I would touch upon the topic of freedom. Many aspire to own their own business but it’s hard to leave your secure, benefit providing “day job” to test the waters of free, free, freedom from an employer. So how can you taste “freedom” before taking the plunge?
1. Solidify your idea, product or concept for a new business by discussing it with peers, industry experts and a sound business network (local or online).
2. Write a strategic plan, even if it’s simple one. Identify your target audience, your competitors and how you differ from them, set goals, milestones and identify next steps – including how to market or sell your idea, what your pricing structure will be, what’s your overhead and breakeven points – just to name a few.
3. Set up listening stations on Twitter and observe your competition and target market – what are you hearing and learnin
4. Set up a free site for yourself to test the waters and start building your list. There are lots of free or super cheap tools on the web to assist you with this. Blogger.com, Typepad.com, WordPress.com, Feedburner.com and Mail Chimp for list building among others.
5. Create compelling content for your site. Remember, your site is your first impression to an audience that may not be able to connect with you in person, unless you own a brick and mortar company. Create the best site you can with the budget you have available. The look should speak to your target market and the content should be as interesting and compelling as possible to keep the attention span of the user. Also, make it simple for your user to navigate from one page to another. I’ve actually seen some sites have a “what to do on this page” heading on it!
6. Start engaging in the online community that fits your target market. Make sure your site is in pretty decent order first because social media, at some point, is an opportunity to get your audience to visit your online headquarters.
7. Capture the feedback (good and bad) that you are receiving for about 6 months and keep reviewing it, perfecting your product, adjusting your plan, and tweaking. I still tweak my business and it’s three years in….
8. Don’t jump ship until you feel ready. Feeling “ready” is going to mean different things to different people. Identify what “ready” means to you – financial, family support, home office, office outside of the home, comfort level with risk, etc…
About that freedom thing, don’t forget to ask yourself if owning your own business provides you with more of it, or, does working for someone else?