The most important thing when starting your own business, we keep repeating: only do something that you get passionate about, that you are good at and that you could sustain every day. Running your own business takes inspiration, motivation and accountability. So don’t just follow your mind, follow your gut!
Plan familiarisation days
For example, walk with a friend, acquaintance or family member. Help out in a store, take a look at someone who runs a web shop, join a consultant.
Get a taste of the atmosphere and discover in this way what is involved in entrepreneurship. Doing the administration in the evening, for example. Or acquisition, because you constantly have to find new customers.
Ask many questions of entrepreneurs
Make a list of entrepreneurs you can call and go visit them. Ask lots of questions and especially listen. The nice thing about entrepreneurs is that almost all of them want to help starting entrepreneurs.
Tip: Stories from entrepreneurs
In our Startup Stories section, we have interviews with several entrepreneurs from a variety of industries who started their own businesses.
Some start from a social inspiration, like the founders of Seepje, Sprinklr or Kromkommer. Other entrepreneurs came up with a brilliant idea and started implementing it.
Designing, adapting and improving, until the product is viable.
In these stories, the entrepreneurs share their special experiences and entrepreneurial lessons.
What are your strengths?
Use your qualities to get the best possible start with your own business. Ask for feedback from friends and acquaintances.
You often think you know yourself where your qualities lie, but an external check usually gives new insights. Ask them also about your behavior in different situations: at work, privately or at a sports club.
Where are you distinctive?
Furthermore, you need to find a point in which you are distinctive. Find the gap in the market.
And this does not have to be a new product or service, but something in which you are distinctive compared to the competition.
You must be able to offer something that others do not have or cannot: what added value do you have? What can you change or add with your own company?
What are your weaknesses?
Be realistic about your weaknesses. Think carefully about how you will set up your business and how you can improve or camouflage your weaknesses.
There are simple solutions to a number of issues:
Not handy with technology? Hire someone to make your website
No understanding of numbers: outsource your bookkeeping
Bad at language? Let someone write texts for your webshop or draw up a neat standard quote for you.
Be honest with yourself
The work will not come to you, you will have to get it yourself. If you are very introverted and shy, you will have to find a way to make acquisitions. Or conclude that starting a business is probably not for you.
As Janneke van Heugten of VIDM says:
“If you want to be found by customers, you won’t succeed by thinking: I’m good at my job, quality will come naturally.”
You become visible by letting yourself be heard. Show commitment to your profession and show what drives you, otherwise you walk around as a colorless professional.
Is there a demand for your service or product?
Research whether there is a demand for your service or product. This starts with mapping out your target group.
As soon as you know what their needs are, adjust your strategy accordingly. The better you know your target group, the more likely your business will succeed.
Read here how to determine the right target group
Explore the market
After you have determined your target group, you start exploring the market. You do this by researching how things are in your industry, after which you can conduct market research.
This means asking the people in your target group what they think of your product or service and whether they are willing to pay for it.
Suzanne van Straaten of Sprinklr spent a summer at a garden center asking customers about their needs.
If you offer services, also look around on online marketplaces. Werkspot (for builders), freelancer.nl, freelance.nl and so on. There are plenty of online gathering places for short jobs.
These often give you a good indication of the relationship between supply and demand.
Starting successfully for yourself
The ideal situation to start your own business is if you know the combination of variables mentioned above:
A service or product that does justice to your qualities
Work that gives you pleasure
And supply where there is demand
Make a SWOT analysis
Therefore always make a SWOT analysis
Making a SWOT analysis. This exposes all internal (strengths, weaknesses) and external (threats, opportunities) factors.