Part of the motivation behind Selfmade is to help women develop their business idea into an actual living/breathing/thriving business. But it's also a way to figure out what that idea is. Here are five questions you should be able to answer about your idea:
- WHAT is the problem you wish to solve?
- WHO are you solving it for?
- HOW will you solve it?
- Why you?
- Is your idea a "vitamin" or a "painkiller"? The world needs BOTH!
We also get into business models and KPIs (key performance indicators) in Selfmade, helping you to develop one or fine-tune an existing one. Here are things to remember first:
- Forecast your business at least 12 months out, then work backward.
- Don't be afraid to *change* your model or try a few out as you go.
- Pick one metric and make it grow. The "magic number" is key.
Emily Heyward, branding expert, shared five principles that define a brand strategy, including why should people care? "Of all the choices they have in your category and all the places they can spend their time, why should they pick you? Branding at its core is figuring that out, being able to articulate: Why does this business matter? Why does it need to exist in the world? What problem is it solving for people?" says Heyward. Also, remember:
- Personal Brand vs. Business Brand: It's not always necessary to have both, but you and your story are essential.
- Brand Strategy > Brand House: Use your brand house to inform how you make decisions on the daily.
Fundraising has become mainstream, thanks to shows like Shark Tank that glamorize the pitch process. But those who raise money from investors are actually in the minority. Most small businesses raise money on their own terms and don't have to give away part of their company to anyone else. Feeling intimidated at the idea of asking for money? Or even paying yourself? Here are fundraising options that might be right for you:
- Venture Capital
- Call to Action
And remember that it's about we not me. How are you creating content that's helping others?
Social media is an amazing free marketing tool that didn't exist 15 years ago. Particularly with Instagram, you can use a few images and words to tell followers who you are in an instant. Here are three things to keep in mind:
- Start with your mission and voice behind your brand.
- Consider your target audience (both the customer and social engager).
- Figure out what images, stories, and quotes will bring that vision to life.
Public speaking is scary! And so is presenting, pitching, and all the things you need to do to put your business out there. Here are Selfmade pro tips for making the best first impression:
- Keep your eyes on the green dot at eye level for virtual meetings.
- Raise your voice. Smile! Don't fidget! Deep breaths!
- Remember the Triangle: Intro your three main points; detail each of the main points; close with a recap of the three points.
As for some parting words: Be confident that once you've stepped into this journey, you're going to get where you're supposed to be. Keep taking the big scary leaps forward, asking the tough questions, building your community, and supporting other small businesses and entrepreneurs. We'll be rooting for you!
Alright, you ready to take your idea to the next level? Build the business of your dreams with the help of a full suite of business services from Office Depot OfficeMax to help you succeed – including print & copy services, furniture & tech to help you work from anywhere PLUS the convenience of curbside pickup! Let Office Depot OfficeMax help you accomplish more so you can focus on more important things, like starting & growing the business of your dreams.
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.