Justin Streuli, the Director of the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center at UNCG, joins me today to talk about starting a business. The center is located in Greensboro NC and serves as a bridge between the campus and the entrepreneurial community. They also help any small businesses thrive.
We briefly speak about what it means to be an entrepreneur, then move on to the main discussion.
I asked Justin for some advice to run a business efficiently and avoid pitfalls. He said the days of writing a long business plan are over and the lean approach is more efficient. Get out and speaking with potential customers to see what their pain points and needs are. Justin calls it the “matching the value proposition with the customer segment”.
Building a foundation is also crucial before you get started. Make sure to have a funnel built so that you are able to attract, obtain, and nurture leads. Having a website is very easy to build on your own with many free tools available.
Linked in is a still a great place to find potential customers. There are other free sites to locate and research companies. Such as Manta. Networking in person is also a great way to build awareness for your business.
When collecting information, you want as much data as possible, but you should be careful about asking for too much information up front. You can start with a name and email address, then later, ask for more information to fill in the gaps and help you target more.
Some challenges people have when starting out is the lack of capital. Getting that first $1,000 to $10,000 can be hard. Learning the ins and outs of business is also something that people feel can be a challenge, but there are resources available.
Don’t start a business based on financial reasons only. Some businesses can be started with little to no money at all, but may not be something where the owner is not knowledgable or passionate about. You should choose a niche where you have an interest and can become knowledgeable. This most important thing is to like what you do.
The most valuable resource you have is time, so don’t wast it. Do your research and plan ahead. When starting out, small business owners may have to wear many hats, but make sure to hire people or virtual assistants to help you when you grow. Make sure that you work on your business rather than in our business.
Our last tip was to get out and network!
You can find Justin at startup.encg.edu. You will be able to learn about what the entrepreneurship center is all about.