Phase 2 of 3 : Explore (Steps 4-8)
If you haven’t already, or need a recap – flick back to Part 1 here.
Now with that down … it’s time to get out your binoculars and pencil (metaphorically speaking) and explore the marketplace. Here we go!
Step 4 – Research the marketplace for competitors
Here’s where we put our Google skills to work. You’ll want to look for anyone working in your niche, and document as many websites, blogs and influencers you can. Just get a spreadsheet and pop them in. The aim being you want to know what’s out there to see how you can do things your way.
Now, in this stage it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and maybe even get a little discouraged – DON’T. Remember you’re at the starting point, and these businesses are much further down the line, with a lot more hours of work behind them.
Below is an example of what you might like to record …
Aim for 100. This way you’ll have a really great overall picture of what’s going on. You’ll also see what you like that you can emulate and make yours (not just copy!) and what you don’t like so much that you’re going to leave out / avoid.
Make the last record yours. This is by NO MEANS set in stone, but it will at least put any ideas you have down in writing. This idea will likely change a lot as you continue to move forward, and that’s great, refinement is a good thing.
Step 5 – Research costs
Now that you have a decent idea about where you may be headed, you can figure out how much it’s likely to cost you.
Costs you need to consider are:
- Business set up
- Domain name
- Business name purchase
- Bank Account
- Branding (logo etc.)
- Equipment (laptop? camera? tripod? phone? microphone? video lighting?)
- Services (phone line? extra internet? Virtual Assistant?)
- Accounting software?
- Organisation software (Asana? Trello?)
- Social media management software? (Hootsuite? Planoly?)
- Proposal software? (Proposify)
- CRM (Zoho? Hubspot?)
- Integration software? (Zapier? Twilio?)
- Call / Appointment scheduling software (ScheduleOnce? Calendly?)
- Website theme?
- Website plugins? (Shopify? WooCommerce? Forms? Scheduling)
- Payment software (Paypal? Stripe? Bank related?)
- Product related costs
- Freelancer costs
This isn’t an exhaustive list but it will start you on the right track with documenting the costs involved.
Now before you get super overwhelmed with the list above – you don’t necessarily need all the things on the list, and if you do, you don’t necessarily have to pay for them.
Let me explain. There are a lot of free versions of the items above. And physical things you can pick up pretty cheaply second hand, or online. Lets look below …
Step 6. Chat to your accountant about the best structure
We mentioned this in the table above. Check out the business structures in your location as every country is very different. Definitely chat to an accountant before you set up any type of business. Accountants will often meet with you and discuss the best business structure options for free. You may even want to meet with a couple and get quotes before you decide who you want to work with.
Step 7. Pick a name
Woop woop! We’re back to some more fun stuff. Maybe you find the numbers fun, and if so, go you … but I don’t.
Now you get to name your baby. This is a tricky one. You may have a name all picked out, or you may have no idea. It’s easy here to get stuck. You may be surprised to hear that the name … doesn’t actually matter too much. But you do want to put it through a filter. Here’s my suggestion ..,
- keep it simple
- be creative
- show some personality
- be more general than specific (you may want to expand your product offerings one day)
- copy anyone
- include your name (unless you are the product i.e. a consultant, speaker, counsellor etc.)
Brainstorm ideas by writing down as many options and combinations as you can think of. Push yourself to write at least 50. The more the better. You’re mining for gold here and it may just be pretty deep. Yes, they’ll be some awful ones and LOL ones, just laugh and keep going. Once you have your big list you can refine from there.
Step 8. Check name availability
Before you totally fall in love with your new name, you need to check it’s actually available for you to use. This is why the master list is so helpful. If the favourite option isn’t aailable, you’ve got others you can fall back on.
You’ll want to check each of these before you commit to anything.
- The trademark register
- The business name register
- Domain name options
- Social handles
The trademark register is very important. I once had a business name, domain name and social handles for a fitness business running for a year and a half. Another woman then created a business and trademarked the name with one letter different. She then wrote to me and informed me I’d have to change my name. It was legally true, even though I had had my business longer than she had. It was devastating, and costly. So learn from my mistake and trademark your business name.
In Australia the links for Trademark and Business Name checks are below.
For Trademarks: https://search.ipaustralia.gov.au/trademarks/search/quick
and Business Name checks are via asic.gov.au
When checking domain names, make sure there’s not something super similar that people might get accidentally redirected to. For example, if you’re in Australia and you’ll have a .com.au site, but there’s already a .com site with your name – think again or make a small change. Your customers are likely to get lost.
Almost there …
Once you have your name… Take it to the public. Ask your friends, family, strangers in the coffee line – whoever you can. Ask for honest feedback and even give them 2 other names you’ve decided against to get their opinion. Remember you don’t have to listen to them. But if everyone is giving you a raised eye brow of confusion, it may be a sign you need to rethink it.
How exciting!! If you’ve made it this far through the 3 phase guide to starting a business and becoming a mumpreneur …You’re almost a business owner!!
I’m so over the moon happy for you and I’m silently cheering and doing a happy dance as it’s before 6am on a rainy morning in Torquay as I’m writing this.
Stay tuned for Part Three when the journey gets real.
p.s. If you want the full simplified checklist, click here.