7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business
Coined the Wall Street Rapper, Ross Mac is an Ivy League-educated hip-hop artist, entertainer, and entrepreneur from the Southside of Chicago. He is constantly changing the narrative of Hip-Hop with his new sound. Mac started rapping in high school and made a name for himself in Chicago. He co-founded DRILL, which is a multi-city live event series that has helped spread his music all across the country and build a national fanbase. Ross has seen the power of entrepreneurship first hand, and he is giving us seven things he wished he knew before starting his business.
You should file official incorporation documents
Incorporating your business helps you out in the long run. Here are a few reasons why this is helpful:
It can give off the perception that you are a true and legitimate entity as you are trying to work and establish relationships with clients and partners.
It can help you build business credit. Lenders are more willing to provide a loan to a business over a sole proprietor.
There are many tax advantages with this option. You have the ability to write off many business expenses, which can help lower your taxable income at the end of the year.
It removes liability from you and protects your assets. If you are incorporated, you are not liable for your business’s debts and your personal assets can not be sought after in the case of a lawsuit.
Build an emergency fund
Being an entrepreneur is the most uncertain and volatile profession you can have. One month you can generate your best earnings ever and the next month you can have your worst. Due to this fact, it's important for business owners to have cash reserves on hand to keep their business afloat while you may be experiencing a business downturn. In this instance, I recommend having 3-6 months of personal and business expenses saved in your bank account. This is your "rainy day" fund that will help you cover all living and business expenses while you find a way to pivot and replace that income during a business downturn.
Know your target audience
You need to narrow your focus down earlier, rather than later. Often, too many businesses attempt a one size fits all approach, and it doesn't work. You tend to stretch yourself too thinly trying to appeal to everyone. Having your target explicitly stated can help you with your marketing efforts. Research must be carried out to uncover the needs and motivations of your audience and what factors influence their buying behavior. If your business’s target audience are teenagers, then this will help you know where you should be marketing. You would probably focus on places like TikTok and Snapchat over LinkedIn.
Know competitive pricing
Competitor-based pricing is easy for any entrepreneur to calculate and understand. All you have to do is look at the competitors in your marketplace and find the average price they offer for their services. From there, you can choose whether to go higher or lower in order to align with customers’ expectations. Mispricing your product or services can lead to many shortcomings in the long run. It’s much easier to give sales when you have overpriced than it is to raise prices when you have underpriced yourself. Know what your client wants.
Focus on branding (social media)
Social media has increasingly grown to be a part of our everyday conversation. Before you launch your business, it’s important to find a name of a business that you can have across all social media platforms. Your social media handle is a huge part of your branding when it comes to your online marketing. For this reason, you want to try to secure matching handles for each of your social media accounts. This makes your business easier to find, and most importantly, it makes your business appear professional. If you launch your business before you have a social presence, you run the risk of someone grabbing your handles and making you pay a high premium in order to get it from them.
This also holds true for your website. You want to have a clean website that is consistent with your name on social media.
Utilize all social media marketing platforms
The world is constantly evolving. What may have worked 2 years ago may no longer work. For that reason, you need to adapt your marketing strategies. Your strategy for social media marketing should be to bring awareness, promote engagement on your page, drive conversions and focus on the consumer. However, it's important to not get overly reliant on only one platform. If you have found success on Instagram, for instance, don’t forget about LinkedIn and TikTok. You should explore growing platforms and cater your messaging to each respective one. For instance, what may have worked on Instagram may need to be refined for a shorter attention span audience on TikTok.
Know your niche
A business niche is a specialized or focused area of a broader market that businesses can serve to differentiate themselves from the competition. Finding your niche is important for small business owners who want to not only create a consistent stream of income but also establish a loyal audience. Entrepreneurs should find a niche in their industry that has underserved or unmet needs.
It’s important to ask yourself what do you do better than the competition and what experience or product can you offer that no one else can.