As president of www.motherhoodincorporated.com, people often ask me for advice about what to do when starting up a company or small business. I think the key is to start your business in an area where you have some knowledge or expertise -- even if it's a hobby. If you enter into a business in an area you don’t know very well, you’re going to be entering into an arena where there is a double learning curve.
Most new business owners struggle with the same common difficulties: accounting, marketing, advertising, strategy, and legal issues. The last thing you want when building your business is to be learning about your product or service. Not knowing a lot about your product or service doesn’t automatically mean failure, but it sure makes it difficult for anyone starting out.
Almost any business you start will have some sort of competition. Even when you work from home, there are other home-based businesses that do the same thing or even companies or corporations who offer the same product or service. We see this a lot in the work from home market with Avon, Tupperware, and other common products. One thing that you need to identify is what you will be able to offer the customers that gives a significant advantage over your competition. Once you figure that out -- and it might be you know the product and use it yourself, or you have specialized knowledge in your field, or you might offer exemplary customer service -- whatever it is, you need to stress this advantage from the very first day.
Being able to articulate this strength not only verbally but in your marketing is essential. Recently I was at a seminar where the speaker asked volunteers from the audience to describe what their company does and what makes it special in less than 30 words and 30 seconds. Three sentences of 10 words each is all you get.
I thought about my own company, Motherhood Incorporated.
We are a virtual assistance company comprised of mothers who use their professional skills honed prior to their choice to stay at home to successfully complete a variety of administrative and management jobs.
I managed to get it down to 33 words -- and still it is a mouthful. I know management and administrative assistance inside and out. I know how to run a company, yet I still struggle with the ability to promote it in 30 words or 30 seconds. I know it is vital for my marketing.
You can see where starting with what you know makes it easier, but not easy. Can you express your company concept in 30 words or 30 seconds or less? Try it. You just might find your pitch.