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Nevadans create several thousand new businesses each year. If you’d like to be one of them, NCET and the Reno Gazette Journal are happy to bring you a new monthly column designed to help you jumpstart your business. Each month, our local business experts will walk you through the steps to start your business.
The first step in starting a business is to determine if business ownership is right for you. There are many signs you can look for to determine this. If you truly believe in your idea, want to learn, and are ready to face failure, you might be ready to become a business owner. However, if you have a low risk appetite, struggle to get your idea to market, and need a quick profit, business ownership may not be for you. An appraisal, like the one you’ll find here, is the best way to determine if owning a business is right for you in the long run.
Now that we’ve determined whether you’re ready to own a business or not, it’s time to start planning your business with a specific goal. Over the past 12 months, we’ve walked you through the steps needed to create a business plan. You can find these columns from here:
Following:How To Start A Business In Nevada Part 1: Writing A Business Plan NCET Biz Tips
To recap the business planning process, the first and most important question to ask yourself is, “What problem does my business solve?” It is important to fully understand the problem or source of pain that your product or service is solving for customers. The more you are able to empathize with your customers and understand their needs, the more successful your business will be. You need to know what is unique about your solution and how to best communicate it to your potential customers.
Perhaps the most important aspect of business planning with a goal is to do your research before investing any money in your idea. Your new idea may get you excited enough to fund it and get things going, but it’s important to research three critical areas before investing.
1. Potential customers. Customer research should focus on understanding basic demographics to develop an effective marketing plan, being able to quantify your potential customers to start estimating sales, and define the unique issues that your product or service solves for them. Creating a bio of your âidealâ customer (age, gender, interests, buying habits, etc.) can help you refine your marketing efforts and better understand how to best reach your customers.
2. Competition. Competitor research should focus on who your competition is, where they are, what they are doing, and how they are doing it differently. Knowing how to differentiate your business from competitors in your area is essential to building a successful business.
3. Industry. Industry research should focus on recent industry trends, which can help you better compete with your competition and find new customers interested in your product or service. It’s also important to consider how COVID-19 has changed the behavior of your potential customers, how they shop, what issues they may experience, and how it has changed the industry. All of this research will help you develop a unique value proposition. A value proposition is simply a statement that summarizes why a customer would choose your product or service.
The last step in targeted business planning is to develop a âbusiness roadmapâ. A business roadmap is a planning process that defines a goal or desired outcome and includes the main steps or milestones needed to achieve it. Contacting an advisor from the Nevada Small Business Development Center is a great way to supplement your roadmap with the help of an expert who can identify bumps in the road that you may not be anticipating. The Nevada SBDC provides free, confidential advice to small businesses. To be matched with a Small Business Advisor that matches your needs, complete the New Client Assessment today at nsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/signup.
If you’re looking for help with the business planning process, here are some great resources available in northern Nevada:
- Nevada Small Business Development Center: Provides free and confidential one-on-one advice in areas such as business planning, marketing, finance, research and more. The NSBDC also offers a wide range of workshops and courses. Learn more at nevadasbdc.org.
- GOAL: Provides free and confidential business advice to active and retired business people. SCORE also offers educational workshops. Learn more at www.score.org.
- Assembly of entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs Assembly is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring and advising entrepreneurs in the creation and growth of their businesses. Learn more at ea-global.org.
- Nevada State Department of Business and Industry: Offers a wide range of programs and initiatives to meet the needs of businesses and consumers. Learn more at business.nv.gov.
In next month’s column, we’ll help you choose a name for your business and register your new name, secure an appropriate domain / website URL, and more. See you next month!
Tamera Brown, Business Advisor for the Nevada SBDC, is helping future small business owners overcome the challenges of running a business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NCET (www.NCET.org) is a member-supported non-profit organization that helps people explore business and technology.