When starting a new small business, there are a few questions that have to be answered first. And while there is a multitude of steps needed to start a business, there are simple questions you can ask yourself to help you get started more easily.

Five questions to ask yourself to start a business:

What is the market missing?

  • If you don’t have an idea already, one way to find opportunities is to look at the niche you are interested in and to see if there is anything missing. You can do this by going out or going online and seeing what is out there.
  • If there is nothing directly missing, one thing that may not be there is quality. It’s true that industries can be saturated but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be improved upon!
  • If there is a problem without a solution, find that solution – just as Robert Herjavec always says on Shark Tank.

What is your product / service?

  • The most obvious question can still be one of the hardest to answer. And this is doubly so for the extra creative types with an abundance of ideas. But is important to find one or two products/services that you can focus on and give your full attention to.
  • Many entrepreneurs nowadays, artists especially, offer both products and services. For instance, you can offer art pieces for sale and then have custom commission work available as well.

How is it unique to the market?

  • Some businesses go wrong by being just another dispenser of the same kinds of products that people can buy anywhere. To be successful, you either have to be different or better; and without a good deal of money, different is generally to a better route.
  • Another reason why being a copy cat doesn’t get businesses far is because they are indistinguishable from the rest.
  • You can help make your business more unique compared to others by having different and new products, as well as branding. Branding with tags, stickers, custom tissue paper, makes companies all the more memorable and this can help keep up customer retention.

Who is your target audience?

  • Knowing who your target audience is can be helpful in finding both what they are interested in and also what they are not. For instance, to search into a shopping engine like Amazon or Etsy, look at who has more reviews and who has less.
  • By knowing who you are aiming your products at, try to look closely at brands in the same niche to see what they are doing. For example, the body of people who buy “green” things are attracted to more natural-looking packaging. Or children’s toys, the brands and boxes and often loud with fun colors and cartoons.
  • Finding your audience can be difficult at times, but following down rabbit holes of Instagram/Twitter hashtags help you find entire communities. One keynote, copy and paste the best tags into a document to use for later when posting things yourself.
  • Check out my article ‘How to Create for Your Target Audience’ for more info on surfing the net for great product ideas.

Where are you reaching them?

  • There is plenty of online vendors that are middle-men to the laymen. Etsy is one of the largest for handmade and vintage items, and then Amazon, eBay, and other sites offer similar services for displaying small stores as well.
  • Online shopping is growing faster and larger each year and one reason is the complete convenience of it, this applies to both the shopping and selling end. People can go online and sell something almost as easily as they can go on and buy something else.
  • There is a time and place for everything and that includes selling. Most artists go to Etsy and most commercial sellers go to Amazon, but for nearly every niche, there are also shows and conventions that people go to sell, buy, or both.

With so many resources available at your disposal, answering the questions above could be as easy as a few scrolls on the web. And then here is a list of online places to get started selling. Starting with the easiest and quickest way to get yourself out there.

Starting a business is not an easy task and it will always require capital before it gives anything in return. To really get started as an entrepreneurial, you have to believe in the work that you are doing. And that also goes for the supplies you use in starting, don’t go cheap just in case it doesn’t work out because that is setting yourself up with a negative cloud.

“Go big or go home,” that’s my motto. Starting a business is like starting a new baby – requiring time, care, attention, and most importantly, commitment. It is always worth it to buy quality materials to build from because it adds to the overall quality of the business and how much of your heart goes into it. With more coming from your wallet, more love and passion will naturally come from the heart. And this will show.

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Student in Philosophy and AD/PR