Business Starter Thought Leader: Monica Allen
Last year, women rocked and ruled the world by starting over 1800 businesses per day.
According to Fundera.com, the US has 12.3 million women-owned businesses. I don’t know about you, but these statistics are exciting. We, women, are charting our own course, creating jobs and uplifting our community in an unprecedented way.
Resources For You And Your Business:
I am excited to become a part of the Kuel Life community and provide a toolbox of resources for you and your business as you launch, grow, and scale. I want to be your biz bestie and support you in your entrepreneurial journey.
“One of the first steps in starting your own business is obtaining market validation.”
One of the first steps in starting your own business is obtaining market validation.
Market validation is the process of determining if there’s a need for your product in your target market. Validating your business idea can enable you to reasonably predict whether people will buy your product or service and whether your business will be profitable.
The First Step:
Some experts may tell you to get your business license and tax ID number and though those things are important, they are not the very first step. Your friends and family may tell you that you need to get your business cards and bank account.
We will discuss taking care of these things in the future, but the first step is to determine if you have a service or product that people will buy. If you don’t have a market, i.e. people who will buy from you, then whatever you are doing is simply a hobby and not a business.
I think in many cases we fall into a business because we see a need that is missing in the marketplace. It could be software that helps you keep better track of what you eat. It could be clothing that fits curvy women. Or it could be a salon that specializes in curly hair. It could be a platform that normalizes aging.
There are so many opportunities to build a business; however, you have to make sure that there are enough people in your community or the world that will buy your product or service so your business can truly be a business.
“It could be software that helps you keep better track of what you eat. It could be clothing that fits curvy women.”
How Do You Do This?
- Determine your ideal customer or client.
- Determine where you can find them.
- Lastly, determine the best method to sell to them.
Determine Your Ideal Customer Or Client:
Knowing who your ideal customer is for your product or service is vital for the success of your business. You may be your ideal customer and if so the key is to find more of you.
I started my first business 20 years ago this year. My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I were both in a fraternity and sorority respectively. We thought that the gear that was provided to organization members was boring and of poor quality.
We set out to change the narrative and make unique, quality, Greek wear. Moreover, we knew our ideal customers were college students who were members of fraternities and sororities. This was a very narrow niche for us, but it proved to be the perfect niche because we were not the only two people who were looking for better fraternity and sorority clothing.
Depending on your product or service, your ideal client maybe your neighbor, your girlfriends, your kids’ parents, members of a specific organization or niche. The list goes on and on. A friend of mine owns a job placement company, but she specifically places people in tech jobs so her ideal client is a company that needs engineers and techs to help build software.
“The best place to reach them may be online via your social media platforms.”
Determine Where You Can Find Your Ideal Client:
Where are your ideal clients or customers? Where of course does not have to mean a physical location. It can be, however, depending on what you are selling. Do they frequent the local farmers’ market or local boutiques? Do they primarily shop online for what you sell? Are they at an industry trade show? Who are some of your competitors and where do they sell to their ideal customers?
Your ideal customer may be at the local farmer’s market or simply in your local community. The best place to reach them may be online via your social media platforms. The great thing about social media is it allows you to post things for free and get feedback from your followers. This could be on your personal page. You do not have to have a dedicated business page just yet to get feedback. You also may just chat it up with people at local networking events or community meetings.
We knew our ideal customers were on college campuses which meant they were all over the country. In addition, because some members are part of their organizations for their entire lives this meant that they were also adults around the country in the workforce. We knew we had to market to them online via our website. So we set up a website and got several sales before we actually incorporated and applied for a tax ID number.
In the early days we would sponsor events and go to local events to get our name out. For almost three years, our business grew organically…entirely via word of mouth. Zero dollars were spent on ads through Facebook and Google.
The goal here is to figure out where your ideal customers are and actually make a few sales before you invest a lot of time, money and energy in setting up all of your legal paperwork, bank account, website, etc.
“The possibilities are truly endless, but you have to select what works best for you and the goals of your newly forming business.”
Determine The Best Method To Sell To Them:
Now that you know where to find your ideal customer, you need to determine the best way to sell to them and keep in contact with them. Let’s say you make beautiful hand-drawn portraits and you want to turn this into a business. One method of selling these may be to team up with a local photographer and offer to do a couple of portraits for free. He or she can then showcase your work as an add-on to their services.
You may want to take orders at local markets showcasing your work. In addition, you could of course request referrals from clients who have already used your services. You may decide to go into more of a niche like weddings and team up with a few wedding coordinators. The possibilities are truly endless, but you have to select what works best for you and the goals of your newly forming business.
Prove The Plan:
Again the goal is to prove the plan. Prove to yourself that you have a business that can work. This may take only a few months or a year, but you want to actually make some sales. In my next article, I will share with you the next steps once you have acquired market validation.
I would like to encourage you even if you don’t currently have a business idea to look around you and ask what is something that drives you crazy. Is there something you’re thinking would make your life easier if you just had this one thing or this one service? Perhaps you are the person to create the product or provide the service. Perhaps there is another woman-owned business brewing out there in this community. As a matter of fact, I am certain there is.
If you have any questions in regards to your business feel free to email me at [email protected]
About the Author:
Monica Allen is a serial entrepreneur who overcame the obstacle of growing up with a young single mother, living below the poverty line in a small town with very little opportunity. After obtaining her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, she worked in Corporate America and obtained a Master’s degree in business.
After 8 years in corporate she took the leap to set out on her entrepreneurial journey. Starting with just $700, she has since grown an 8 figure company and is now the host of the Become Your Own Boss podcast helping aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs launch, grow and scale their businesses while also being the boss of every area of their lives. You can follow Monica on IG here.