There has been an ongoing shift in the working world. More and more people are attracted towards the freedom of owning a business. Despite their desire to follow their passion, there are still those who choose the safety net their day jobs offered.
Greg Prudhommeax has been in the same predicament. Almost ten years ago, he came to China and established a consultation firm to help local and foreign companies settle in China. While doing so, he and his colleagues realized the need for a community to help fellow entrepreneurs, professionals and businesses who are trying to settle themselves in Shanghai. This gave way for NextStep, which connected well over 15,000 professionals in its first three years. But after a while, the team decided to move on to other projects, and NextStep was put on hold.
A few years later, Greg decided to take a leave from his desk job and jumped into following his passion: helping people turn their entrepreneurial dreams to reality. NextStep was revamped, this time as an online and offline platform for entrepreneurs, managers and businesses who wanted to accelerate their business’ growth. Here he went on to partner with experts and businesses who shared their proficiency with others. After getting feedback from workshop attendees, Greg realized the need for a program to help budding entrepreneurs get a head start with their passion projects. This gave him the idea to design a workshop series called Jumpstart your Business. It was divided into five parts, each discussing in detail what a ‘wantrepreneur’ needs to do to turn himself into a doer, an ‘entrepreneur’.
Part 1: Eyes on the Prize
Aptly named, this first part of the series focuses on the motivations and challenges of the entrepreneur. The discussions can be summed up in four points that helps guide the ‘wantrepreneur’ and shifts his focus on the why’s of his passion project.
1. Pitch your idea
This aims to help the ‘wantrepreneur’ define and strengthen his reasons for launching his project. Here he answers the most vital question: why are you starting this project? The goal is to help the wantrepreneur to focus on and create a path to follow to reach his goals and get the unnecessary out of the way. It also helps him identify the pain points of his idea, and come up with solutions to counter them. This will also help identify the value proposition he is offering to potential customers and the likelihood of these customers to pay for the services that he is offering.
2. Overcome your hurdles
Despite having a great business idea, most of these wantrepreneurs encounter challenges that somehow stop them from starting their business idea. This part discusses how you can overcome these challenges, evaluate your strengths and do a reality check of what skills you need to improve on.
Once you get a picture of your strengths and weaknesses, you can now decide which tasks you can do on your own and which tasks you need to get help on. Get in touch with the right people with the right set of skills to get things done.
3. Know your market
Understanding your market, your ideal customer and your competitors is one of the most important considerations you must take as a budding entrepreneur. It’s a must to get to know your competition, their strengths and weaknesses of their existing competition which you can use to your advantage. How do you find out what these are? Focus on what their current customers say and you’ll pretty much have a picture of what their pain points are. See comments from forums, social media and even word of mouth. From here you can learn how you can improve the solution you provide to future customers.
4. Start small.
It’s better to do one or two tasks very well than try to take up everything and come up with nothing. Stay focused on your goals, tell a compelling and unique story of you and your product and services, and dare to be remarkable. Remember, it’s the little things that count. It may sound tedious, but paying close attention to your customers’ needs will pay off well in the future. Your customers are the key to your success. If handled well, your customers can be your advocates who spread the word about your business.
At NextStep, we are doers. We’d like to help make your move. Let us help you start on your business plan, a marketing strategy to get your services out there, figure out a way to structure simple operations and build your community. We may not make you the next Apple, but we can get you started, and that’s what matters most.
So, what are you waiting for?
Herlene Somook is a creative entrepreneur based in Manila, Philippines. A graduate of AB Psychology, she was a Kumon Reading teacher for five years before jumping ship to the Business Process Outsourcing industry. She has been a digital nomad and freelance writer for a little over two years, and enjoys reading bedtime stories to her bouncing toddler.
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