Researching Your Next Business

When you’re thinking about starting your own new side-hustle business, it all gets very exciting.  You think of all the potential products and services you can sell, you start planning your website, reserving your social media accounts and if you’re anything like me, you start thinking about the income it might generate.

Then you dive right in and start building.

And that right there is a massive mistake that many people make, including myself on more than one occasion.  My favourite one was starting up a business under our RapidAction brand that built out websites for people.  I knew I could get customers easily enough, but I entirely underestimated how much I actually hated that entire website creation process.

It actually took me longer to build the site for that business than what I actually spent running it – I got a couple customer pre-launch, hated it so much I never fully launched the service.  It’s one of those painful lessons – that one rather innocuous setback that literally lasted for less than a month, changed my entire way of thinking.

I read about “The 6 P’s” – Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

It was like a lightbulb went off for me, I spent too much time rushing into action and not enough walking through the idea and thinking about how things might play out.  I needed to think more and do less at the beginning.

Which is funny right, because I appreciate the value of planning but in the moments of excitement around starting your own business, you lose a bit of common sense and perspective.

This message was brought home to me recently as my wife has started exploring one or two new ventures of her own.  She’s looking at diversifying a bit of what she’s doing out of good business sense (like we discussed the other day) and for a bit of fun and interest.   In helping her developing her ideas, we’ve spoken a fair bit about the need to research her particular markets of interest.

She’s kind of lucky in that regard because as a professional writer, she’s quite familiar and comfortable doing a ton of research.  Even the early digging around has thrown up a couple of roadblocks that are going to make it difficult for her to commercialize one of her potential business ideas.  If she had invested significant time and energy into starting that business, she would have been disappointed or be spending an inordinate amount of time trying to work around this problem.

I first applied this heavy research methodology when I started Casual Marketer.  I spent a good six months researching the logistics and the effort to pull together and ship a monthly newsletter in a format I’d be happy with.  Now, once the newsletter is written, it takes only a couple hours work to print, pack and ship the entire month’s worth because I figured out the process upfront.

The number of people I run across in my coaching program who haven’t done enough planning before they started their business or they’ve expanded into new products or services without the proper foresight is really too high.  They come to me to help them get it back on track, but the truth is, many times it just isn’t salvageable and they need to do a very hard pivot.

So before you rush into your next business, take a step back, set aside a couple extra days upfront and dig into the business idea with a bit more scepticism to try and punch holes in your idea.  It’s much better to find those holes in your boat before you set out across the ocean than to try and plug them somewhere out in the middle.

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