You’ve heard all the trite answers.
Question: Why do you want to start your own business?
Trite Answer #1: I want to be my own boss.
Trite Answer #2: I want to work from home.
Trite Answer #3: I want to make my own schedule.
While, at some level, all of these answers are legitimate benefits of having a business, they certainly shouldn’t be the first reason that pops into an entrepreneur’s head (what about the passion to share an innovative product or idea with an emerging or underserved market?). And while all these answers speak to self empowerment, don’t they also sound a bit lonely? Working in your slippers instead of your dress shoes is more comfortable, but how much human interaction are you getting in your closet home office? Probably not much. I should know!
As I’m undergoing my “Marketing Makeover” for my own business, I’ve realized that the best way to stay energized is to engage with other people as excited about entrepreneurship as I am. Without giving away too much too soon (I know you’re on the edge of your seats), the most fun part of remaking my marketing plan is reaching out to the people behind the expert opinions I’ve been researching. Not only am I finding valuable sources to inform the feature articles I’m working on for local business publications, but I’m also tapping into an entire community of like-minded people that, frankly, know a lot more than I do. What more could I ask for?
Starting a business has a bit of a rap for being a one- or two-person activity. Don’t fall into this trap! As you perform your market research, make sure you are doing as much primary research as secondary. It’s important to look at quantitative data, but putting together the stories behind the numbers is more interesting. And meeting the characters that comprise the stories is more rewarding still. No matter what your niche, there is a network in your area literally at your fingertips. Next time you read an article relevant to your industry, take note of the names of the sources in that article. If you read a quote that sticks with you, jot down the name of the speaker. Then, next time you’re on Google, type in the name of that speaker. Chances are, you’ll find an e-mail address or a website on the first page of hits. Your next step? Reach out! The worst thing that can happen is that you never hear anything back, but at least you worked up your nerve to try to establish a human connection. The best thing that can happen is that you connect with someone to establish a lasting relationship.
This is a lesson that every journalist is taught in learning to scope out possible sources. It’s a lesson I had to remember as a business owner looking to scope out the mentors and peers that create communities. What are you waiting for?
Looking forward to your success story,
Have an issue you want addressed? Leave me a comment with your suggestion, and I’ll tackle it on my next blog entry!