Launching your new business is exciting, stressful and confusing. Often there are numerous unknowns, and success is never guaranteed.
Having an idea is one thing, but setting it into action is quite another challenge altogether. How can we improve the chances of successfully launching a new business when there are so many ways to fail? Fortunately there are more tools available to the entrepreneur today than any other time in history. Here is a small sampling of ways to improve your chances of success when launching a new business in 2015.
Since being founded in 2005, the online social network and news source Reddit has grown to support over 174 Million users, following over 5,000 subreddit categories. The site is often referred to as “the front page of the internet”. The site allows users to link and post content created by them or found online to a subreddit, which is a specific subject-specific section of the site. Visitors to the site then rate content up or down based upon interest and fit for the subject matter of the specific subreddit community.
Given the absolutely huge level of traffic and targeted categories, the site can easily be used to interact with a specific target market to either learn their potential interest in a product, or to understand their motivations. Due to the built in rating system, content that is deemed relevant or attractive will be upvoted, while content deemed not relevant will be ignored. This can be a simple and cost-effective way to test ideas before launching to the market.
Often deemed controversial, this tactic is only for the “right” business. Many businesses have gotten their start through running a KickStarter funding campaign. There is nothing more validating to a business than to catch an idea that customers are so excited for that they put down real money on faith alone. On the other hand, failed campaigns can be a simple and quick lesson that either the market does not exist or the message/product is not positioned clearly enough to attract an audience. This insight has historically been paid through bankruptcy and tears. Now it’s available in just a few minutes by setting up an online account.
Telling a compelling story is perhaps one of an entrepreneurs largest challenges. Without a history to demonstrate your commitment, quality or even impact, telling a compelling story has often seemed impossible. YouTube has become one of the largest search engines, and favoured platforms for rich content story telling in the modern world. The site boasts a balance between targeted advertising, user-generated content, and two way communication. Some of the world’s largest brands are using video to convey their messages to their customers through tailored advertisements, or sponsored/original content channels. For an entrepreneur, this can be a great way to build a potential audience for a product or service before investing in a business venture.
For example, if an entrepreneur wanted to open a Fine Meats Butcher shop in Edmonton Alberta, he may be unsure if there is a large enough market for ‘Amateur Chefs’. These are the people looking for a bit more than the lowest cost cuts at the local grocery. One way to find out could be to start a YouTube Channel called “Fine Meats Club of Edmonton” and post a small number of videos focused towards tips for the ‘Amateur Chef’, (‘How to Smoke Ham at Home’). This channel could then be promoted through advertising to the local community. If a community of followers grows, then it may justify putting down on that lease and opening shop. Plus you know who your first customers and spokespeople will be!
Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you have the passion and use the right tools, perhaps now is better than ever to give it a shot.