When asked what would be the most interesting topics for friends, colleagues, and readers of ShaiCoggins.com, one of the most requested topics was about starting one's ideal business. And, this got me thinking about the best way to share my business knowledge and experience with those who also dream to be their own boss.
As a serial entrepreneur, I've had my fair share of starting and running businesses. Four years ago, I started Vervely, a boutique digital media company that enabled me to work with some great companies, including Microsoft. Although the journey to this business was unexpected and had a couple of bumps along the way, it helped me to have the flexibility that I longed for, as well as a good amount of freedom and a six figure income.
The flexibility, freedom, and income I received from this business then enabled me to explore other businesses that I love - my fledgling art and design business, as well as a small independent publishing business. These two other businesses do not bring me the same income as my main business, but to me, they all work well together. And, I have been learning a lot in the process. I can only hope to grow each one as best as I can.
Prior to these business ventures, I've started, run, and sold other businesses. Including a media start-up that gained a lot of attention and a multi-million venture capital funding from North America, a freelance writing and blogging business, a small press business, a workplace training, teaching, and tutorial business, a drinks stand, and many more. And yes, I owe my early business experiences, in part, to my parents. Growing up in a business-minded family, with parents who both owned businesses that I helped to manage, I became aware of the ins and outs of starting and running businesses from a very young age.
No matter what your business background might be (whether complete novice or some experience), you can start the path to building your own ideal business. And, I hope to develop content and resources to help you get on this path.
That's why as a result of the survey, I started developing materials for an e-course: "Authentic and Creative Abundance: Building a Business That Matters". I'm a long way off completion, as I have a number of other projects happening at the same time. But, I thought I'd chip away at this idea bit by bit, and share some insights along the way.
One of the first things I developed with this idea in mind is the "Ideal Business Worksheet". It's an interactive PDF where you can fill in a questionnaire to help you identify your ideal business and what you need to make it happen. You can then save and print the worksheet for your file.
The worksheet is available from The S Squad Library.
Below the image, I'll share with you a guide to starting your own ideal business, which can also serve as a guide to the worksheet.
1. Identify your ideal business. In order to start your ideal business, you need to define what it is. Different people would have different ideals, so you need to focus on what matters to you first.
If you're not sure how to articulate your business idea, try to complete this sentence: "I want to build a business that..." Or, "I would really love a business with..."
This is the start of identifying your ideal business. Don't worry if your business idea doesn't seem polished! This will evolve as you work on it.
2. Define your business focus. You can then define whether your business is product-focused or service-focused. If you're selling tangible items, then your business is product-focused. If you're trying to offer services like coaching, counselling or consulting, then you're more of a service-focused business. You can also have a combination of both, but it's good to know how much of your business products-orientated and how much is service-orientated.
3. Identify which industry your business belongs to. It can be in the arts, technology, sports, or other types of industry. Knowing your main industry would help you to hone-in on your market or your target audience.
4. Describe your industry experience. Knowing how much experience you have in the industry will help you to identify your strengths or your challenges. Even if you don't have direct experience in the industry that you're trying to break into, consider all your experiences and see how it relates to your business idea.
5. Know your why. It's always a good idea to know why you wish to do what you do. It would help you to identify your motivation and inspiration, which can be key to your business mission.
6. Understand the problem that you're trying to solve. While many businesses may be developed from a personal interest, business ideas should be more than just serve the business owner's needs. Every good business idea should solve a problem for its target audience. If you want to sell art, for example, you need to have a reason that's more than just "Sell my creations." The problem you may be trying to solve with your art business could be: "To provide affordable art that makes people feel happy." Or, it could be: "To offer fine art to high end, passionate collectors of realistic pieces." Those two problems would lead you to different types of business approaches even though both are ultimately trying to sell art.
7. Consider various sources of income. Remember that old adage of "Never put all your eggs in one basket."? It's definitely very much applicable to businesses. Regardless of the type of business you want to build, consider what would be your main offerings. If you're building a coaching business, what type of offers would you have? Would you just have one-on-one coaching? Would you add digital coaching? How about group coaching? Or, how about self-paced coaching products or e-courses? It's always good to have at least 2-3 offers to start off with, and see how you wish to grow from there.
8. Plan and source your offers. If you already have your offers in mind, flesh them out. If you don't have them available yet, consider how you're going to source or create them. Do you need to purchase external products and services? Do you need to put together packages and plans?
9. Come up with a quick action list! With some aspects of your business idea in mind, list 3 to 5 things that you can do quickly to make your ideal business happen. Make sure those action items are not huge items. Avoid listing things that are too big to do, as big TO DOs could get you stuck. Consider listing things that you can do within 5 to 15 minutes.
While there may be a lot of steps to get to your ideal business, being able to clarify some of your ideas on paper (or electronic files!) would be a great first step. I wish you all the best with it!
And, if you want to work with me directly on making your ideal business happen, consider hiring me as your digital coach.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.