2012 has been pretty tough, hasn’t it?
Every time it looked as if the global economy was about to settle down, something else kicked off and we were plunged in to depression once again. The imapct on small businesses has been immense. People seem to be scared to commit to buying new products and services, waiting for the moment when the economy is given the all clear and our financial outlook starts to improve.
No matter what industry you specialise in, the chances are you have become a little wary of the thought of becoming an entrepreneur in 2013.
Even as we are still regaled with success stories of how other people have escaped the 9-5 grind and managed to make a strong living doing what they love, we can still see that giving up the security of a regular income and plunging in to the unknown of entrepreneurism is a risky move to make when times are tough.
So, given what we know of customer buying behaviours in times of recession, is it a good idea to start a new business in 2013?
While we know that any business can thrive given the right climate, drive and strategy, are you really ready to be the master of your own career destiny right now? If you’re thinking of making the jump out of the corporate grind in to managing your own business, it’s probably worthwhile considering the following points before you make your mind up.
Do you have the right mindset to be a business owner?
It’s easy sometimes to get swept away by all the hype around business ownership and online success. Everywhere we turn, we hear stories about people who made it rich, seemingly overnight, simply by tapping in to a relevant trend or coming up with a unique business idea. The truth is, however, that these success stories are very few and far between. Most of us make a decent living through very hard work, commitment and persistence.
If you’re expecting to make a million overnight, you probably aren’t ready yet to set off on your own in the field of business!
Have you chosen a workable niche?
If you’re anything like me, you come up with a hundred different ideas a day about how you could make money online, develop a new product or service, and transform the lives of your customers through new and innovative ideas. This is great, as it keeps us passionate and interested in what we are doing, and sows the seeds for creativity and future success. However, every business idea we have needs to be carefully tested out before we can tell if it will be viable or not.
How many other people are doing it right now?
Is there a real customer need for what we are proposing?
Is it workable, in the long term?
What happens if consumer appetite changes?
Can we actually make money from it?
Consider your market very carefully before deciding whether your proposition is viable for long-term success, or not.
Do you have the skills and knowledge to succeed?
No matter how passionate you are about your potential new business, if you don’t have the experience, skills and knowledge required to be a real player in the industry, you need to think whether it is the right sector for you. For example, I’m a huge fan of ballroom dancing, but I’d no more dream of setting up a training centre for it than flying. It’s one thing to be passionate about something, but quite another to have enough knowledge to be a real authority in your field.
If you don’t yet feel that you could speak confidently and authoritatively about your chosen niche, do more training, learn as much as you can, and then think again about launching your business.
Can you offer something different to your potential competitors?
The worst thing about brilliant business ideas is someone has usually thought of them before. While this isn’t an absolute rule, it’s likely that most things that you decide you would like to do have either been done before, and failed for a good reason, or are currently being done so well that it will be difficult to penetrate the market as a new entrant in to the sector. The way businesses succeed is to make sure that they have a unique proposition to everyone else out there – they can offer something better, cheaper, stronger, faster or more appealing than any other business in the market.
If you can’t find your unique selling point, refine your business idea until you’ve established exactly what you need to do to be a real player in the field.
If your answer to all of these questions is a resounding “YES!”, then it could be that 2013 is the very best time for you to make the jump in to being self-employed, and start your own business. If you have any doubts, however, it could be time to re-think your approach until you’re really sure that you’re ready to take the plunge.
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you every success and happiness for the New Year ahead.
I like the part of being able to offer ‘something different’. I guess that’s all that matters. Some HUGE companies were making smartphones (some were even making the touch phones) before Apple launched iPhone; did they enter a crowded market? Yeah; did they enter a niche that would otherwise be considered a ‘bad move’? Yeah. We all know that they are still successful and might even be responsible for collapse of some big names in smartphone market (anyone remembers Palm Treo PDAs?)
I agree but it’s easy to say than do…to be different.
Frankly, it’s not. I work with many small businesses and all they are able to do differently is provide personalized customer service. It limits scale of their business but they have more happy customers than a lot of big of mid-sized companies.
For bloggers, speaking from experience could make all the difference. I know that you respond to ALL comments on your blog personally; I have more than 500 blogs in my Google reader and no-one else does that. That’s a BIG point for me and it keeps bringing me back to your blog.
In today’s world providing excellent customer service can make you stand out and be different. The problem with that is most people will only see words. What I mean is people will visit your website and see that you say ‘we provide fantastic customer service’…but unless they personally experience it, they will not know you do are different to the norm. Hopefully that does make sense!
Now saying that…providing excellent customer service is a must. Because your existing customers will become ‘raving fans’ and talk about and refer you.
80% of my new customers come from referrals from my existing customers.
Andrew, first of all – happy new year!
I think this year has a lot of potential for bloggers, but with more and more people turning to blogging as a business it’s going to be more of a fight for readers.
That being said, it means there is going to be more potential to stand out from the crowd by doing something different.
Very true, Adam.
The on-line world will become even more competitive (and it is already!).
And standing out is also becoming harder.
Dear Andrew –
If you are selling what people want to buy, it is a good time.
I opened my travel agency in 1974, worst recession.
It made money the first year. People still wanted to get away from their troubles.
People should read and re-read your comment, especially this sentence:
“If you are selling what people want to buy, it is a good time.”
Problem is most people who start an on-line business don’t do the research. They THINK they know what people want and very often they are wrong. They waste all their time marketing something people don’t want to buy and then they say ‘selling on-line doesn’t work’.
I am always coming across this site for new blogging tips. Well, well it’s always good to know about your niche, especially if it’s a very popular one like the blogging niche. Because even if you outsource help, crappy writers etc will get away with murderous content and u don’t even know it
I agree – there are some bad writers out there. As the person who is outsourcing, you should check the quality of the writing before you publish.
Great post with really good questions Andrew. Actually 2012 has been a tough year and 2013 will be propbably worse, I’ve seen it not only from affiliate marketing products but even from Adsense.
Anyway providing solutions to problems is always the best way to go, the only difficulty is appearing on search results in a decent place because we can do a lot of things to improve our appearance on the web but if the top search engine goes on preferring big dogs to everyone else it’s hard to compete on a fair ground. Especially if you’re not into the social thing like I am, my fault but I don’t have enough time.
But Andrew you forgot one point affecting websites in 2013: the everlasting, permanent Google updates. 😀
It is getting harder and harder to make it on-line…I totally agree.
Personally, I think the Google updates are good. They are good for the guys who are providing great content.
I recommend any small business to start a blog and sharing some content – Google will reward you!
Hi as far as I can see 2013 is no different to any other year as long as you are prepared to put the time in then there is a good chance that you will succeed . In a roundabout way google is helping us this way as they are rewarding hard work and getting rid of the crap. As long as that ethos continues the right people will get rewarded.
So welcome to 2013 lee
I agree, Lee.
Bring on the Google changes, I say!
I agree with you Lee, those previous years and now are very much the same if we don’t have to do something different. It is just our thoughts that this year will be different if you do something different.
Getting success with blogging is easy if we work hard. I don’t think there is much difference between 2012 and 2013.
I disagree with your statement…”Getting success with blogging is easy if we work hard.”
Blogging isn’t easy even if you work hard. I agree, you have to work hard but you have to work hard in the right areas. So many people work hard but they work hard on the wrong things…and that makes blogging hard!
Hi Andrew, agreed With you and little bit with Lakhyajyoti..Because of, if you follow the same trend or niche as your competitor it need more research and hard work as well, on the other side of story is that start blogging with untouched niche or low competitive keywords(LSI) and may be it will give you chance to rise and to win, you must go with your personal interests.
By the way, as always Thanks for your great post Andrew.
What a great collection of businesses in this post. This cross section shows that there really is a place for social media and blogging as part of just about any type of business big or small. I love how these examples leverage what they’re already doing offline and extending that online using social media as a tool in their overall marketing or branding strategy.
Thank for this post.
I agree – all small businesses should have a blog (or at least a website).
So true my friend. Most people lack the patience that it takes to become successful as an online entrepreneur. Unless they have had experience with online business most people should expect it to take a few years before they find their success.
True – unfortunately some people believe the hype that is out there and give up after a few months when it doesn’t work.
I am looking forward to 2013 for making good money with Blogging. I do think that this year, we will see remarkable improvement in Blogging trends.
What makes you say that?
2012 was really tough thanks to them updates made by Google. As for 2013, I hope everything turns out well as I am actually planning some sort of gamble in terms of selling point. Although it’s not really a gamble and that I’ve never really used the medium, according to many, it’s where the money is. Hopefully, it works out for me as well.
Good luck – I hope it all works out for you.
This is great post, and I really like the suggestions thrown out and really makes you think going into the 2013. I really appreciate your last point.
“The worst thing about brilliant business ideas is someone has usually thought of them before.” In 2013, I think we are all going to have to pretty creative to really stand out and not just recycle another idea.
I agree – we are going to have to be very creative to stand out. Those that do will win!
I am planning to get my blog to the next level and work consistently on blog. Thinking about introducing new trends in Blogging like Video Interviews.
I totally agree with you and i think the most important things one need to consider is the niche and how to offer something different, Maybe i need to re-evaluate my online business plans and all thanks to you.
Yes, you are right. Far too many people THINK they can pick any old niche and win.
last year, we started blogging for this and now, I believe that we can still sore for higher accomplishments. I believe that 2013, the internet will be looking for content and as long as there is a creative juice in each of us, we can learn a thing or two from each other.
i wish this year bring a lot change in the bloggers life i feel this year fill the goal of the blogger,but for this all my friends should work hard and shows the creative idea with new thinking.it totally work for them but keep in mind u should have passions.
2012 was the roughest year for bloggers.. many suffered in the hands of google, there were a huge drops in page ranks..google is now supporting bloggers who are concentrating more in producing quality contents than wasting time in SEO.. i hope 2013 would be musch better..
I’ve read your blog for a long time and it was the image that drove me to this post. (We are avid ballroom dancers, competitors, in our family.)
But I’m going to show the prude in me. I had to wade through the beefcake and the bra pic to get here. Just don’t think it’s professional and would prefer a different hook.
Yea, mock me. I don’t care. I just like a different tone.
Well Alison, as I think I have said before…we are all different.
No matter what we do on our sites, 50% of our visitors will love it and come back, and 50% will hate it…never to return.
My wife and I only do Ballroom dancing for fun. We started the exams but it got too stressful and was taking over the whole point of dancing…to have fun!
How long have you been dancing? What’s your fav?
i think 2013 will be profitable for bloggers. well google is rolling out new updates which can affect the business but bloggers are finding new and new ways to overcome these problems and yes choosing niche is the crucial point as your business stands upon it. taking steps carefully can give you a lot
Picking the niche is very crucial. Get that wrong and all your efforts are wasted.
Don’t rush…take your time.
Don’t believe the hype of quick wins…they are not true!
I seriously started blogging in 2013 – i.e. 2 or 3 times a week and my traffic has really grown.
The blogging makes such a difference.
That’s great news, Steve.
I achieved a great success in my blogging life in 2013. I’ve started a new blog and my old blog achieved a great traffic rankings.
Great to hear that. I hope it continues.