With the market research data under your belt and the mission statement emblazoned on your T-Shirt like Wonder Woman the temptation is to go all in and ‘officially’ launch your business with a logo, business cards and website. However, before you go spending any money have you got proof of concept yet? A proof of what you may ask. Well basically my friend it comes down to this - will people buy your product or service?
In entrepreneurship there is a saying that your early customers are family, friends and fools because these are the ones who in believe in you. The 3F’s are also important to you because they enable you to do 4 key things:
- test your product/service with them and their networks
- establish yourself as a ‘Lean StartUp’ (keep your expenditure low) through bartering, favours, ‘mates rates’ etc
- tweak or revise your product/service through the ‘build-measure-learn’ (Eric Ries) feedback loop
- acquire 3 or more testimonials that act as ‘proof of concept’ and can used for marketing
It is at this stage that you may need to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) e.g. if you want to make bespoke clothing you may put together a few samples to sell, if you are putting your services out as a graphic designer you can ask your personal and professional contacts for freelance work. As Alli Worthington of the podcast of the same name says don’t worry about the price , just quote a price you feel comfortable with because you can and will increase it later.
This stage of starting your business gives you the opportunity to just start, get your name out there among your networks and that of your family and friends; learn more about what your customer wants from your product/service; and what systems, processes and procedures you need in place to be able to deliver it to them. Also, often overlooked but equally important is to find out do you actually enjoy making your product/service and the whole process of business and customer service. For there is no point starting a business if your not ‘feeling the passion and purpose.’ So give yourself grace and be in the beta ‘learning phase’ for 3-6 months or more with minimum digital assets e.g. Instagram, Facebook or landing page to test the market and refine your product/service before you officially launch.
Want to know more?
To find out more about the lean startup business concept and practice read Eric Ries’s book ‘The Lean Startup’. To understand why you must start to sell your products/services before you are 'ready' listen to Lori and Chris Harder’s podcast episode ‘Getting over the Fear of the Competition’ here
Thinking about starting a side business?
The Business of Life is part of the 3Cs Digital brand whose vision and mission it is to inspire and empower women to start and grow successful small businesses with confidence.
As well as the blog, The Business of Life is developing an online coaching programme called *5 Steps into Entrepreneurship: Side Business Start Up* for women over 40.
So, if you are a looking to diversify your work portfolio and income stream; and create more freedom, flexibility and financial income so that you are empowered to live a life full of passion, purpose and prosperity book a free 30-minute coaching call to be part of the pilot programme in helping you to start your side business from the comfort of your own home.
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3Cs Digital is a web marketing service dedicated to helping women in business set up and develop their online presence. Through coaching or consultancy services in web design, copywriting and social media marketing 3Cs Digital equips women in business with the digital knowledge and skills to: create and design websites, find their brand voice and curate social media posts to attract their ideal customers to their small business website.