Now that you have an idea of the type of business you want to start, it’s time to decide what your business is going to offer. To do this, you can look at what similar businesses are offering and either replicate or expand on their services/products. Oftentimes people think they need to come up with the next big thing – something new and unique. That simply isn’t true. You can start your own business by replicating what someone else has done successfully. There was a great article in Inc. (one of my favorite magazines!) about how this guy has made billions off copying everyone else’s great ideas. He copies a successful business and starts it in a market that isn’t currently being served. This is pretty much what we did with both of my businesses, Deckci Decor and The Woof Room. We certainly weren’t the first decor company/dog daycare to exist in the Twin Cities – but we found markets that had openings in them that we could serve. Some think this is terrible – but even Apple (the great innovator) copied their products (they certainly did not invent the first tablet, mp3 player, etc) – they just made it better than everyone else did.
So, take some time to spell out what exactly you are going to offer. Put together a price list that lists each service/product and what you will charge people for it. Unsure what you should charge? There are two theories of thought on this, you either undercut any competition by offering the same product at a lower price – or you charge the same/more but offer something better. When we first started both businesses, we priced our services/products slightly below what everyone charged – which helped bring in business right away. You just want to be careful with this because you still want to be profitable, so make sure to analyze your break even point.
Photo Credit: Earl Wilkerson