Most entrepreneurs already had careers before they decided to go it alone. But making the jump can be terrifying, especially if you have overheads to pay. That’s why a growing number of people are choosing to build side businesses while maintaining their current jobs. There is an increasing amount of researching showing that keeping your current position is the best way to start building your venture, whether you want to nurture it to fruition or keep it passive.
Still wondering if this is the right move for you? Keep on reading and you’ll find your answer soon enough.
1. Find your strong reasons
This is the most overlooked step when people start thinking of building their business. You need to be able to justify why explicitly you want to set up a business.
There are plenty of powerful reasons why you would want to.
These can be just as simple as making more money, having a flexible schedule or diversifying your income for more financial security or range up to a bigger vision such as working on things that matter to you, filling a void in your community and creating a legacy for your loved ones.
2. Decide on your side business idea
Have no specific idea in mind? You are not alone.
The easiest starting point to determine what business you should do is to choose the one that you are most knowledgeable about.
A strong background knowledge is crucial if you don’t want to run the risk of messing up big time in the future.The other popular catchphrase “do what you love” can also be your starting point.
Even if you are not knowledgeable enough on the things you love, usually that passion will create a “placebo” effect of learning something more easily than if you have to learn things that you are not passionate about.
There are hundreds of side business ideas out there you can adopt if you struggle with coming up with your own unique concept. If you are set on a business that you are not familiar with, do everything in your power to learn about it before even thinking of putting money into it.
3. Identify your target customers and primary market
Thoroughly understanding your target market determines what customers will need your products/services, how their buying process is, and which approach works best to market your products to them.
The first step is to examine the problems that your products or services want to address. William Miller in his book Proactive Selling argued that most consumers are pain avoidance oriented rather than pleasure seeking.
Communicating what your products or services do to solve the problems may be more important than pointing out how great they are.
It is also worth considering whether you want to target a broad or a niche market since it will affect your decision on customer acquisition versus customer retention.
For a side business, it is better if you target a broad audience since a niche market is more dependent on customer retention – because it is a small market – and requires full support and commitment of both management and employees.
4. Give your products or services a distinctive identity – branding
Having a product without a brand is like having a baby without a name. Customers won’t be able to identify who you are and how your products should be perceived.
One common and understandable mistake for a side business is that it becomes too focused on the products/services it offers and not on how the brand looks and feels to potential customers. Unless you are selling unique products/services that easily stand out without a name, branding for a small side business is as important as branding in big corporations.
Your company name, the way you communicate your products/services, how you reply to customer’s emails or answer their calls, and the first association they have when they hear your brand name are just a few things affected by your brand.
All of this relays the experience of how your business partners and customers do business with you.
5. If you decide on having a product-oriented business, find the right suppliers
So you decided on a great product idea, did your homework on profiling customers, wrote down a branding strategy and as the momentum begins to build, you hit a brick wall because you don’t know where to source your products.
The online channel is arguably your easiest way to find the right suppliers. One of the best and free online channels to find suppliers is via supplier directories.
These directories already did the hard work for you in compiling the list of profiles of hundreds or thousands of manufacturers and suppliers.
Trade magazines of related industries are also a good option for you to comb through. You may find the products you need advertised in these magazines and you can then search for the company’s contact details online or find out when and where they are going to be present at local trade shows.
If you don’t know which trade magazines to follow, ask your local public library or check the list of free trade publications on Tradepub.
6. Grow your sales with diverse marketing tactics
This part will require your attention the most. There are dozens of tactics you can implement to drive your revenue and grow your business.
Regardless of your business orientation (products or services), a website for your business is a must have. Invest a good amount of money on hiring a skilled Web designer or teach yourself how to build one.
Learn how to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) once your website is online. SEO is widely considered by some “as the holy grail of internet marketing.”You can take advantage of the ranking on a search engine to drive visitors and convert them into buying customers on your site.
Next is social media. With so many social media platforms currently available, you may want to start out small and focus on one or two platforms.
You can optimize your Facebook profile and business page to get the word out there. Keep the active engagement with your (potential) customers via Twitter, or let the visual aid of videos on YouTube show your audience who you are and how you can help solve their problems.
When you have more free time during the weekends, you can also write some guest posts on websites related to your industry or publish it on your own blog. A controversial blog post is also a good way to get your brand to stand out in the competitive online world.
In the real world, you can tell your family and friends, who will not only be your easiest customers but may also help you spread the word. Get out from behind your desk and go to trade shows to network with like-minded people. Or if you have some extra cash, sponsor an event and advertise outdoors.
Interested in running a side business online?
With Pay What You Want: Start a side business bundle from Brandhints. Hope this Helps! 🙂