1. Look for pain points, don’t wait for the ‘Eureka’ moment
A sustainable business should generate out of a pain point, which in other words, is an opportunity. Kar-Worx was born out of a pain point that was then used as an opportunity to cater to a dire need in the aftermarket service industry. Waiting for an idea to hit you is probably the worst idea! Talking to potential customers will help you gauge the shelf life of an idea and if it needs changes.
2. Share your business idea
Once you have a business idea in place and the necessary research material, pick a few customers or industry colleagues, may be from your family and peer group or a reference to share your ideas. Allow questions and healthy criticism to evaluate the credibility and potential of your idea.
3. Find a mentor
It is always good to have a mentor when starting up. A mentor, who guides you, supports you, be unbiased in his opinions and connects you to the right set of people. Most importantly, he/she should be able to give time to your business idea. A mentor could be your professor or even a peer member or an industry expert.
4. Make a business plan
Making a business plan is critical – concept, financials, requirements and strategies should be penned down in detail. While working on getting the business up and running, it is important not to loose focus and pivot away from the plan. Having the plan in front of you will help adhere to the basic groundwork.
5. Understand your market needs & adapt to change
Doing a thorough market research of your target audience, demography, buying pattern, micro and macro factors that could affect your business goes a long way in getting you sales because you have already tested the viability of your product/ service. Adapting quickly to the findings of your research/survey one can help you cut loose of unnecessary losses, delays and stalling in the future. But remember you cannot always be right, so be ready for change.
6. Learn the technicality
Being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of challenges, having said that, it has its rewards too. For a service industry, trust doesn’t come easy. For building good customer and vendor relations, what has helped me the most is spending time with my blue collared employees and understanding the nitty-gritties and technicalities of cars. Being technically sound goes a long way in creating a trust value with your customers. It can also be a great tool to help you get away with vendors, who try to outsmart you.
7. Networking & Trade shows
It is the most underrated tool when starting up a business. Meeting like-minded people from your industry, entrepreneurs and even entrepreneurs from other fields can help you with the required support, guidance and even ancillary business needs that you may have overlooked. Go to all relevant networking meet-ups, trade shows in your city, webinars and industry groups, you could find potential customers, vendors and even promoters for your business. Attending major trade fairs has helped us gain access to a range of local and international vendors, who offer good quality genuine spares. We then pass on this benefit to our customers.
8. Pick a good team to initiate growth
Startups today are nothing like their counterparts in the 90s or early 2000s. Entrepreneurs want a team that is motivated, rich in academia as much as with work experience. Having a team that is self-evolving, contributing and honest is key to ensure that the company is self-sufficient operationally. At Kar-Worx, there is a lot of give and take of information, latest trends, industry updates that helps company’s overall growth and ecosystem. Having a good cross–communication among the enterprise can do away with errors that could cost you a customer.
9. Create a website suitable to your business
Having a good website is like an extension of your company. Even the best salesman cannot get you as many customers as much a website can. The customer today has taken most of his/ her purchasing decisions online; having a clean, informative and interactive design can help convert customers faster. While working on your website, you should also work on the branding image of your company; logo, colours, information, etc. If you are in the service industry like Kar-Worx, explicitly describing the services offered supplemented by digitals, testimonials, images of the workshop, basic pricing, etc. go a long way in getting online customers through the door.
10. Use free resources online to reach out to customers
Using resources online such as free listings, online directories, and social media to showcase your work can help save money and time in gaining your first few customers. For smaller projects such as product or company photo-shoot, creating, marketing and branding material using different design software, which require specific skills, can be outsourced to relatives and friends initially. This is not only cost effective but more importantly it allows your creative input and flexibility to modify, which could cost you extra if outsourced to a professional agency.