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Starting Your Own Business, Part 2 of 4
PART 2 – RESEARCH THE INDUSTRY AND PROTECT YOUR IDEA
Research the Industry
Now that you have established the product and/or service that you business will provide, you need to learn as much as possible about the industry that is already out there.
As stated in Part One, it is likely that you are not the first person to come up with a business like yours. However, researching what is already out there will help you to develop a business that addresses needs and desires that the competition lacks.
Research the product/service:
• Find out how many options are already out there and what their similarities and differences, pros and cons are.
• Find reviews from consumers that have used the product or service, both positive and negative. A great source for this is Consumer Report, which uses a number of similar products and rates their preformance. I also recommend Epinions.com, where actual consumers review products they have used.
• Use your research to determine how you can make your product or service better. What can set you apart from the competition?
Talk to others who have succeeded:
• It is best, of course, to talk to others in the same industry, but not necessary. Any success story will do.
• Ask them about the strengths and weaknesses of their business.
• Find out what obstacles they have faced and what they have done to overcome them.
• If it is an option, go to someone you can trust to be honest with you. Someone that sees you as a potential consumer may tend to focus on the positive and stray from the negative. In order to be a success yourself, you need to be aware of both.
Research recent articles written about your industry:
• These will usually be unbiased and will weigh all the facts, pointing out both the positive and the negative.
• Discover information crucial to the development of your new business, such as recent trends, best strategies, new resources, marketing ideas, etc.
Keep a notebook:
• Throughout your research, always have a notebook on hand. Right down EVERY idea, regardless of whether you think you will use it. Often an “iffy” idea, when revisited, will spark a brilliant one.
• It is recommended that you revisit your idea list weekly.
Protect Your Idea
Legally, you don’t necessarily have to register your business name, logo or slogan in order for them to be protected by copyright and trademark laws. Typically, protective laws are based upon whoever used it first, but you will likely have to go to court to gain that protection.
Therefore, the best protection is to always keep a dated paper trail of everything you do, such as a daily planner. Take notes at all meetings, including those in attendance and each item discussed and decision made. If you ever need to go to court over an issue, your paper trail can serve as primary evidence in your defense.
If you do decide to register your business, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney. Most attorneys will not charge for an initial consultation, and will provide some basic information regarding your rights and how to protect yourself. You can also get some information from your local SBA office or chamber of commerce.
It is not necessary to have an attorney register your business. Usually you can do so yourself. However, if you intend on having Articles of Organization, By-laws, etc. associated with your business, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney to prepare these documents as this is the best way to insure every detail is thoroughly and accurately addressed.
Be sure to bookmark this page and check back tomorrow for part 3 of our 4 part series: Developing a Sales Script and Addressing Obtacles
Part 1: Focus and Brand Impact.
This week’s source:
• Entrepreneur.com: Starting a Business
Today’s Related Sites/Readings:
• Consumer Reports: Product Research
• Epinions.com: Consumer Reviews of Products
• Small Business Association: Small Business Law Library
• Small Business Association: Protecting Your Ideas
• Bizhelp24.com: Patents for Manufacturing Business
Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Starting Your Own Business, Part 4 of 4
Establishing Your Brand
Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8
4 Ways to Keep Up on Industry Trends
Starting Your Own Business, Part 1 of 4