by Eddie Navarrette, founder of FE Design & Consulting
Opening a business can be an intimidating endeavor. From creating a viable concept to implementing cost-effective processes to ensure continual progress, building a business takes time, strategy and the right kind of advice.
Check out my five helpful tips for budding entrepreneurs looking to open their own business:
1. Lease Negotiations.
Ambiguity can be common when it comes to the terminology in leases. It may be unclear who is responsible for payments and these details may not be uncovered until down the line when it’s too late. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get what you want – no one cares about your business more than you do so make sure you go over your leases with a fine-toothed comb.
Prior to signing any lease, practice due diligence as well. Have a contractor or qualified consultant familiar with the use you are proposing to check items such as unpermitted construction, the condition of plumbing, existing power, and handicap access. Know that most commercial uses are subject to providing adequate handicapped accommodations and access regardless of what your local building department will require. Noncompliance with handicapped standards will usually lead to costly frivolous civil suits against you.
2. Know Your Product.
Be the expert of what you’re selling. It is vital to know everything about your product, from origins and how it’s made, to who designed it and how it’s stored. Knowing these facts provide crucial selling points that will make a difference when you’re speaking with clients.
The more you know about your product, the more comfortable and trusting the client is with you and your business. Take for example the knowledge a sommelier at your favorite restaurant has about a wine they are presenting. In most cases, when the sommelier talks about the wine, 90% of the time you end up buying a glass or even the whole bottle. It may not be because the wine tastes good but rather because the sommelier had presented substantial knowledge about the product.
3. Know Your Demographic.
Who’s your target market? What drives clients to your competitors? What do you bring to the table that will benefit your potential clients? These are the questions you must ask yourself to fully capture a loyal client base. Research who your ideal demographic is and market your business in a clear, thoughtful way. Feel free to tweak that plan as years go by – flexibility is key.
Don’t be afraid to communicate directly with your demographic as well. The more you know about what they are in the market for and the expectations they have, the more effective you can be. Knowledge is power.
4. Do Some Investigative Work.
The hiring process is a daunting task. You want to hire the best of the best, and checking references is a huge step in doing so. Do an extensive job looking into their past projects – physically go to the sites they’ve worked on to check the quality of work they’ve previously provided. The more research you do on the front end, the more you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
As well, consider getting to know the interviewee on a personal level within legal capacity. Your potential new hire will be someone you and your team will be spending a majority of the day with so consider the personalities of your office and how the new hire will fit in with the company.
5. Location, Location, Location.
Try to keep your business as locally minded as possible in terms of location. You’re the one who will be going to work every day – try not to make it a struggle to get there. Make the commute as easy as you can, and parking accessible, especially in regard to your customer base. If the customer cannot conveniently access the location, there is a high probability they will go somewhere else to get the product. Accessibility can also play a part when it comes to delivery orders. If it’s difficult for orders to come through, it can compromise the effectiveness of the building location and overall, business. The more time spent accessing deliveries quantifiably will increase labor costs so have a clear plan on how the operations will take place prior to selecting a location.
Eddie Navarrette, LA based entrepreneur and founder of FE Design & Consulting, has not only worked with a number of small business owners, but is a successful business owner himself. Responsible for helping create the landscape of LA’s restaurant and bar scene, Navarette uses his expansive knowledge of planning, building, and health codes to develop overall project design and strategy for his clients’ businesses.