Over the next few days, I am going to give a general overview of how to start a community business. Within this conversation, I will try to answer some of the most popular questions and explain why certain steps are taken. I have chosen to focus on a start-up that will provide mobile services to the community. Specifically, managing estate sales. I’m sure some of you are familiar with HGTV’s Cash & Cari. Cash & Cari follows “estate sale guru Cari Cucksey [as she] combs through her clients’ basements, attics and garages in search of hidden treasure. And once she and her team have organized and priced the entire contents of the home, they hold an estate sale right on the premises.” (HGTV) Since we all have or know someone who has lots of stuff and the idea of treasure hunting for money seems kind of cool to me, I decided to let this be our fictional new start-up.

We’ll get started by considering the answer to one of Brand Event Marketing’s most common requests: PLEASE help me figure out where to begin. How do I get started? That is a loaded question because it doesn’t have a simple answer. It always finds its way to what, when, where, why and how. What is the business? Where will the business be located? Who are the clients? Where are the clients? How do you communicate your product/service to and with them? Why is the service/product important to the client? When are the deadlines? As we begin, we will list all of those questions and answer them honestly. This is the self- and business- assessment that can be the difference between failure and success.

The Small Business Administration is a great place to start the process. They have some great tools that will help you make smart decisions. As I go through this process, I will begin with their 20 questions to ask before starting a business. Additionally, below are a few more questions to deepen your thought process. (Competitive Analysis)

  1. Have you thoroughly listed all of your direct and indirect competitors?
  2. Have you done your homework and gathered accurate facts and figures on your competitors?
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors? We will discuss this in more detail in another post.
  4. Is there a segment of the market that your competitors are overlooking?
  5. Are there services that your competitors are not providing for their customers that you could provide?
  6. Are you pricing goods or services competitively in regard to your competition? Make sure to explain why you are able to price higher or lower than your competition. Undercutting competition with price is not always favorable.
  7. Do you have the finances required to build a business in a competitive market?
  8. What is your competitive advantage?

Tomorrow, I’ll answer those questions for the Estate Sale Start-up and then, we’ll discuss the next step.