Ask Marsha: How Do I Get Started?

After many years of being in business, I love being able to answer a myriad of questions from entrepreneurs. According to NPR, a “whopping 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021, surpassing the record set in 2020 of 4.4 million.” What does this mean? If you want to start a business, the time to begin is NOW. There is no better time to start your own business than the present.

If you are ready to begin your entrepreneurial journey, here are some common questions and answers that will be helpful as you move forward!

Question: “I want to start a business, but what is the first step?”  

Answer: Though getting started with your own business can be overwhelming, the first step is to figure out exactly what you want to do, determine who your customers will be, and where you’d like to take the business. Before setting up anything, start by writing a detailed business plan that actively engages your customer from day one. Depending on the business your decide, sometimes the answer is just get started doing what you do and tell everyone you know. 

Question: “Should I start a product or service-based business?” 

Answer: I get asked this question all the time, and the answer is almost always: “It depends.” But it really starts with whether you’re better suited to producing or selling, because chances are, if you’re committed to building a sustainable business, your efforts won’t be completely one-sided.  Product-based businesses allow you to create a physical and now digital products that you can sell to others. Service-based businesses provide services for customers. Each type of business offers different benefits and drawbacks. A product-based business can be extremely exciting. It is a powerful way to take an idea into reality and create something you get to own and control. But it can also be risky, especially if you’re entering a highly competitive marketplace. As a service-based business, you will be providing your clients with an amazing experience. This is true whether you are starting a makeup artistry business or becoming a life coach. When we think of experiences, we tend to think of “feelings” and this is because we base our decisions on how things make us feel! We can easily understand why 13 million people watched Game of Thrones’ season 8 premiere night, but we can not necessarily describe the various components that made it such a good episode.

Question: “How do you deal with failure as a new business owner?”

Answer: Failure is an important part of starting your own business—don’t let it scare you. One of the greatest challenges you will face is learning how to deal with failure productively, and use every mistake as an opportunity for growth. No one likes failure, but it’s never the end of the road. You can always use a setback as a learning opportunity. Remember – a failure is an event, not your identity. Here are some tips for turning failures into a valuable lesson for yourself and your team: Go into every business meeting with clear goals, and take careful notes so you have something to refer back to later. When you have a setback, whether it’s missing out on a business opportunity or losing a customer, work with your team to find ways that you can improve for next time. Set aside time for yourself to reflect on the experience without judgment – consider how you might react differently next time. And then focus your energy on what you want! 

Question: “What’s the best business advice someone ever told you?”

Answer: The best business advice I ever got was to listen, listen, and listen some more. Wherever you are in your business journey, be it the budding entrepreneur or the seasoned CEO, there’s always a new idea lurking in the kitchen-to-boardroom pipeline. The trick is figuring out which ones to discard and which to pursue — that’s what I call “the art of the pivot.” The best way is to seek it out from customers, employees, and partners through surveys, mobile reporting tools, and conversation tracking technologies.  

If after reading these thought-provoking questions you have questions you want to ask, make sure you join the HerSuiteSpot network, so you can connect with the founder along with thousands of other women just as eager to start or grow their own business!  

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