Recent years have seen seemingly limitless hype about the technological revolution, and how it’s changing the face of business. Indeed, we’re already seeing dramatic changes as a result of new technological innovations. AI, in particular, is rapidly reshaping the way all sorts of organisations operate. This is affecting sectors as diverse as retail (by helping businesses understand their customers better) and healthcare. In conjunction with the rise of big data, healthcare AI is helping not just to streamline healthcare delivery but drive better outcomes for patients.
It’s not just big business, though, that’s reaping the rewards of the trend towards greater automation. Small businesses, too, are hopping aboard the automation train. People often have an image of small businesses as being somewhat sleepy and set in their ways, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reality is those small businesses are some of the most forward-thinking firms around. En masse, they’re taking full advantage of the opportunities automation has presented. From innovative startups to much-loved mom-and-pop retailers, automation’s quiet revolution has radically reshaped small businesses.
Before you do anything else, though, you need to think about what it is you really love and what drives you more than anything else. If you’re going to make a success of your business, it helps if you’re doing something you’re genuinely passionate about. It’s this passion that’ll see you past the various challenges and hurdles any new business should expect to encounter.
Here, we’ll present a series of top tips to help you turn your passion into a successful business, guiding you through the planning and launch stages to building a loyal customer base. Read on to find out more.
1. Do your research first
As we’ve just discussed, the best way of ensuring success when launching a new business is to do something you feel passionate about. At the same time, however, there has to be genuine customer demand for what you’re doing.
It’s all very well taking a long-standing hobby of yours and making this into the basis of a business – but are there enough customers out there who share that passion? Do some market research to get a better idea of if there might be a viable business in your chosen passion.
2. Be hard-headed
One thing you need to understand about turning your passion into a business is that your relationship with that passion will be different. Running a business isn’t the same thing as dabbling in a hobby. If you’re going to do it, you need to take it very seriously. Your commercial nous will have to take priority over your creativity. Though, of course, you should seek to combine the two, the bottom line will ultimately have the final say.
3. Consider starting out as a side hustle
It’s a good idea, if you can, to turn your passion or hobby into something of a side hustle before you decide to turn it into a fully-fledged business. A side hustle is always useful to have – firstly because it provides you with an additional source of income. It’s also, though, a good way of testing the water. By starting out as a side hustle first, you can see how far your chosen pursuit is likely to prove successful as a business.
4. Plan your launch carefully
Once you decide to go ahead and launch a business, you need to think about how you’re going to do so. What kind of launch is going to help you make the right impression? A digital brochure maker could be a worthwhile investment. You can use it to create a brochure which you can then make available to prospective clients and customers.
Also, think about which eCommerce platforms you might use. Not every startup needs a brick and mortar outlet, and eCommerce sites allow you to sell products and services at minimal cost to you.
5. Make efficient use of social media
Generating publicity is always important when you’re launching a new business. Effective use of social media, as we all know, is crucial. Consumers expect to find their favourite brands on social media platforms. If your brand isn’t on there, you’ll miss out on valuable custom.
Social media is a great way of promoting your business and what it can do to a huge audience of potential customers. eCommerce digital marketing, in addition, can do a lot to help you maximise your use of other revenue-generating techniques such as search engine optimisation.
6. Use content as a promotional tool
Following on from our previous point, you should think about using content as a way of bringing your brand to the attention of potential customers. Do you have a blog on your site? If not, it’s worth considering – it can be a good way of building authority. It also gives people another reason to keep visiting your website and boosts its visibility on search engine results pages. You can also create guest blogs for other sites, which further boost your site’s SEO performance by earning useful backlinks.
7. Don’t rush into hiring staff
Additional staff can help you take your business to the next level, but recruiting is never something you should rush into. You might feel that an additional hire is needed, but make sure that your budget can stretch that far without putting your financial viability at risk.
Of course, new recruits can help you add revenue overall – but you need to ensure that the figures add up. Don’t forget to consider the costs (in terms of training and lower productivity) of the new hire onboarding process, too.
8. Don’t be afraid to seek support
When you’re launching a new business, it’s important to remember there are lots of groups and organisations out there that can help you. Be that through advice or practical support. These range from lenders to small business associations, or even entrepreneurs who can serve as mentors. The latter may be invaluable in showing you the ropes and providing specialist advice on how to succeed in business.
Challenges are guaranteed when you’re running a business (especially when you’re doing it for the first time). Remember, though, that help and advice are out there – you just need to seek it out when required.
Sam O’Brien is the Senior Website Optimisation & User Experience Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a Global VoIP, video conferencing and call centre software provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. Here is his LinkedIn.