If you have a creative mind, starting a small business might seem like an excellent idea. Creative people have the ability to build amazing inventions or modify existing ideas to meet consumers’ needs and desires. Working for yourself is an awesome feeling that every creative person craves. However, creative types tend to struggle with certain components of business like accounting, finance and sales. These individuals also tend to find that they do not excel in business negotiations with suppliers, merchants, and potential partners. Let’s take a look at how a creative person should embark on his small business venture.
1. Take the Concept out of Your Head and put it Onto Paper
Creative thinkers have wonderful imaginations. They are able to create mental pictures of inventions that have the potential to change the world. However, many of these individuals struggle to communicate their ideas to venture capitalists, potential business partners, and others in a clear and cogent manner. Before you launch your business, it is imperative that you put your idea onto paper. Write down exactly what you plan to build, why there is a demand for it on the contemporary market, how it functions and other important details. You will also need to develop a sound business plan. The unfortunate truth is that plenty of creative individuals construct fantastic new products that fail once they hit the market due to a flawed business plan. If you question your ability to write a solid business plan that will encourage venture capital investment, lean on an experienced business people or a professional writer with a business background to help. It might even be possible for such an individual to craft the entire business plan and product description on your behalf so you can focus on tweaking your invention’s nuances for optimal functionality.
2. Rely on Successful Brands for Inspiration
Creative types are able to build devices in an artful manner, yet they often have no sense of how to sell their creations. Don’t attempt to “wing it” when it comes to building and establishing a brand. Anyone who has studied Nike’s business model knows that the company does not rely on the merits of its sneakers to generate sales. Rather, Nike is squarely focused on selling sneakers through cutting edge advertisements on TV, magazines, the world wide web, and other mediums. The point is that no matter how effective your product is, the manner in which you attempt to sell it might determine the business’s success. It is imperative that you make a concerted effort to build up your brand with a straightforward, but attractive message that your target audience will connect with. Take a look at your favorite brands and study them in-depth. Consider the specific facets of these brands that draw your interest and infuse them into your brand.
3. The Importance of Your Small Business’s Website Cannot be Understated
One of Theodore Roosevelt’s most famous quotes is: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Build a comprehensive website for your new business. If you don’t know the ins and outs of HTML and graphic design, outsource the work to someone with experience in these fields. He’ll perfect the user experience design, ensure optimization for mobile devices, implement an online or smart POS solution and present your product in an artful manner. The bottom line is that it does not matter how many problems your new product solves if you can’t connect with potential customers. It is imperative that your company’s website explains the unique merits of the product. The website is the perfect resource to help prospective customers learn more about what you’ve created and how it can improve their lives. If the site is aesthetically pleasing, informative and built with an intuitive user experience design, you will have no problem establishing a rapport with your target audience.
4. Manage Your Time as Efficiently as Possible
As a creative person, you are familiar with trial and error. Inventing a new product usually takes a considerable amount of time as the first couple of attempts often make headway but end up failing. Once you’ve spent the time necessary to create your product, it is time to manage the ensuing hours as efficiently as possible. The trial and error method works fine during the creative stages, yet such a strategy does not translate to all other aspects of business. Now that your product is in-hand, it is time to work on other tasks until they are finished. Focus on making the most efficient use of your time while simultaneously exhibiting patience. If you find that you aren’t making efficient use of your time after the formative stages, do not hesitate to work with a small business consultant. Such an individual will provide unique insight into how you can boost your business’s efficiency and consequently, its profitability. He’ll help you make the most of your time and bring your product to market as quickly as possible. He’ll also provide invaluable advice about the forging of strategic alliances with other business folks. Such relationships often serve as “shortcuts” that help you reach your small business goals much quicker than you could have ever imagined.
5. Get an Accountant!
Few creative types have any interest in accounting. Even fewer are capable of doing this mundane and highly complex, number-centric work in an efficient manner. Don’t pull your hair out trying to crunch numbers and balance ledgers. Leave the accounting and finance work to a specialist who has studied the subject and worked in the field. He’ll handle the banking, internal audits, merchant services, small business working capital issues and other accounting tasks while you focus on perfecting your creation.
6. Know Yourself
Inventors are certainly intelligent, creative and resourceful individuals. They tend to be a bit more unbalanced than others who consider themselves to be “jacks of all trades.” Inventors are “masters” of specific trades, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, you should be aware of your strengths as well as your shortcomings. This self-awareness will allow you to focus on what you do best while outsourcing other responsibilities. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Embrace your weaknesses, admit that you can’t do everything perfectly and work with specialists who will help your small business realize its full potential.
7. Establish a Vision for the Future
Too many small business owners set specific goals and milestones, only to lose sight of the bigger picture. Do not merely strive toward a certain revenue benchmark, “x” number of customers or other well-defined milestones. There is nothing wrong with setting such goals, yet they have the potential to limit your small business’s potential. Take the time and effort that is necessary to think about where you would like to see the company in one year, five years or ten years. Then write down this vision and keep it visible in your office. In short, dare to dream! Don’t settle for meeting a certain monthly, quarterly or yearly goal. Always keep your long-term vision in mind and don’t give up until you’ve made it a reality.
8. Stay Positive and Maintain Your Thirst for Knowledge
The most successful inventors have voracious minds that can’t get enough information. These individuals are life-long students. They gravitate toward all sorts of reading materials, gain insight from fellow creative thinkers, listen to podcasts and sponge up any information that will help them grow. No matter what type of setback you experience, there is a solution out there. Learn from others who’ve faced similar challenges. Draw inspiration from their insights, successes and failures and apply what you learn to your small business. Try to learn something new every day, even if it does not directly apply to the state of your small business at the current moment. The unique insight you draw from others just might apply to a future problem that your company encounters next week, next month or even years from today.
There is so much to think about when starting a business. If you understand from the beginning that the word entrepreneur isn’t a job title, it’s a state of mind, a mindset that usually means, you will do whatever it takes to make your idea work. Then you’ll be just fine. Best of luck to you, and we are always here to help!