Douglas College’s Self-Employment Program will provide hands-on training and business consulting to help you acquire the skills and knowledge to open and manage your own business, however, you need to do some pre-work to define your business concept and ensure your business idea is financially viable. This involves researching and understanding what your business will offer, who your customers are, your specific products and services, what your competition is doing, and what your potential revenues and net profit will be.
You can start by researching and answering the following questions:
Viability of the Business:
- What services or products am I planning to offer?
- How much will I sell it for?
- Is there a demand or need for these products/services?
- Can I easily sell these products/services?
- Can I make a profit by creating/manufacturing and selling these products/services?
- What is unique about my business idea?
- What will make people decide to buy from me/why would they buy from me instead of the competition?
- Does my business idea maximize profits - are there ways to increase profitability and efficiency through better negotiation, product sales mix, minimizing time or waste, etc.?
- How many other businesses are selling the same/related products or services in that market? How much do they sell it for?
- What are their competitive advantages?
- How easy is it to enter this industry?
- Are there special regulations/ certifications for this type of business/ industry?
- What geographic area will be the best market for my products/services (local only, regional, global/online)?
- What are the biggest trends in that industry and what are the expected changes forecasted for the future?
- Who is my target market/ my customers? (Age, gender, location, occupation, Businesses or individuals, interests, etc.?)
- Does my business rely on a specific customer segment?
- How and where can I find my target market and how will I advertise my business?
- Is my business going to be seasonal?
- Are there going to be factors that can affect my business that are out of my control? (Currency exchange, weather, supply chain delays, global markets, etc.)
- How can I ensure a sustainable business where the incoming revenue and expenses are stable?
- How can I advertise and promote my business to my target market?
- Will the profits from my business support me, and my family, and is there an opportunity to grow?