How to assess a business opportunity, part 4 – Experience

Since beginning this series on ‘how to assess a business opportunity’ I’ve realised that writing just 4 or 5 articles was simply not going to be enough. In fact I could write a dozen articles and something else might occur to me for consideration.

However, this time we’re going to look at ‘Experience’ or ‘Expertise’.

It’s absolutely vital to any new new business idea that you give serious thought to what kind of expertise you can bring into the mix. And your conclusions may well surprise you.

So, for this exercise, ask yourself this fundamental question:

Do you have an prior knowledge or expertise in the business you’re assessing that will help you to get started?

You see, most of us have a wide variety of skills and knowledge that can be applied to a business. Maybe you’ve worked in sales or customer service, you might have some useful IT skills, maybe you know something about the product or service you’re offering. The list could go on. So try and compile a list of your skills so you can look for ways to apply them immediately into your business operation..

A lot of people are being made redundant right now and becoming freelance at what their old job was. So there seems to be a growing army of HR, marketing, health and safety, project management and PR consultants in the small business world.

There’s nothing wrong with that but only a small number of them had any experience in being self-employed or running a small business. And that presents a problem for them, in that many of the skills needed for self-employed are very different to those required for working for someone else.

But all is not lost if you have limited experience, there’s very little that can’t be picked up if you’re willing to put some time into learning and application. And it certainly pays to be a very fast learner when you start a business.

However, your self-education must be constant.

In business there is never nothing to learn. Just when you begin to think that you know what you’re doing and that there is little more to learn, you put yourself in a very precarious business position. Someone else may come along and steal your market share because they have a new approach or a different and more exciting way of doing things or marketing and promoting business.

So, please don’t rest on any laurels.

One of the best things about many network marketing opportunities is that constant development and training is usually provided and often very comprehensive. However, it’s usually a good idea to try and examine the costs involved in such training to make sure that you’ve taken this into account in your financial planning/projections.

Having said all of that, there are plenty of books, CDs, videos, and websites available for almost any business learning that you require. (this one is pretty good : Smashing Self-Employment Book)

A useful place to start is YouTube where thousands of people in business have shared their expertise and their experiences and this gives you the opportunity to learn very quickly.. And it’s often a very good idea to try and learn specifics, so you can pick up relevant and directly applicable skills and knowledge as quickly as possible

A useful thing to bear in mind is that any money you spend on training or learning materials such as books or DVDs are necessary business expenses and can help to reduce your tax bill (please talk with a tax adviser on this to make sure you’re on the right track).

From my own experience; one of the most important lessons to learn as soon as possible is all about successful sales and marketing. I’m normally quite amazed by the number of people who start their own small business and don’t spend serious time and money investing in selling and marketing skills.

I’m probably going to write a broad overview of a marketing plan at some point in the near future but take it from me that it’s absolutely essential that you understand who is in your target market, what messages you’re going to send to them and how you’re going to reach them.  Without this information/knowledge/skill you will struggle to gain new customers quickly and this could frustrate your efforts early on.

So, plenty of food for thought in this article on how to assess a business opportunity but my advice is to start learning as early and as much as possible.  This way you will (hopefully) have picked up some useful knowledge and skills before you even start in business.

If you’ve any thoughts or ideas on this I’d be happy to hear them. Please feel free to write your comments in the box below.

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