QUESTION: I would like to create my own beauty products. I specialize in natural handmade soaps and facial products. I know I should register the business, but what other advice can you offer before I bring it to market so that this business can be successful?
– Soap dish
AT THE HEART OF BUSINESS: Congratulations on your decision to monetize your passion by serving a larger community with your skills. Apart from business registration, there are several critical success factors that will contribute to the success of your business.
I’ll try to simplify these factors under the broad categories of people, products, processes, and markets.
Currently, you have no employees and you are not planning to hire someone for the short term. By far the most important success factor will probably be you, especially your ability to effectively plan, strategize, launch, manage and lead the development and growth of the business.
Globally, poor leadership is one of the main reasons many businesses fail. Locally, one of the main reasons is the propensity of entrepreneurs to engage in businesses based on needs rather than opportunities. To put it simply, many go into business because of a personal need to create a job or income or to fulfill a personal passion rather than pursuing identified opportunities in the market.
As a start-up with no employees or partners, you will shoulder the weight of many key roles in the business, including product development, sales, e-commerce, distribution, purchasing, customer service, finance and accounting, manufacturing / production including quality control and marketing including brand management.
Each of these roles requires specialized knowledge, unique skills and competencies, and varying levels of experience. As a minimum, you will need to assess your ability to fill these roles, even in the very short term, and where you lack the required talent, you will need to either develop your skills through training or identify external resources to support these functions. until you can afford to hire for those skills.
There are several considerations when it comes to the product, including quality, efficacy, price, competitive advantage, packaging and labeling, to name a few. .
If you have created the formulation at home, it would be important to ensure that it meets the Bureau of Standards Jamaica guidelines for finished skin care and beauty products if you are going to go ahead and go for it. serve the local market. For other markets, you will need to research specific standards and any other regulatory, product safety, and market entry requirements.
In addition, for the product to be scalable, you must have a cost effective, strong formulation and considerable shelf life stability.
There are independent laboratories locally that can assist you in this stage of product development to ensure that your product meets requirements. The Scientific Research Council is a very useful resource.
Branding and product positioning are also essential here. This should be determined as part of your overall market entry strategy once you have completed a competitive analysis.
Consistency is at the heart of any successful business. Maintaining consistent quality, consistently delivering excellent service, consistently meeting and hopefully exceeding your customers’ expectations all require documented processes, policies and procedures. Processes are at the heart of the scalability and quality control of any business.
The processes must also be efficient and cost effective so that you can compete in a highly competitive landscape.
Completing this list of general critical success factors, which is by no means exhaustive, would be market assessment and strategy. Your market entry strategy should consider where you will have the greatest competitive advantage and the best return on your investment. The world is truly your oyster, and the options are plentiful. For example, e-commerce has opened up a world of possibilities to penetrate markets around the world more easily than ever before. A major opportunity in this regard is the recent designation of Jamaica as an Authorized Seller in the Amazon Marketplace. It is important that you focus not only on the size of a market, or the wealth or profitability of a market, but also on understanding the segments you want to serve. This includes initial knowledge of demographics, preferences, tastes, worldview, stage of the life cycle, concerns, and issues.
Your ideal point will be to ensure that your products meet their needs with a compelling advantage over the competition that will make potential customers decide to choose you. Many companies fail because they haven’t put the customer at the center of their product development or process, and I hope with the knowledge you have now gained, you won’t make this mistake.
Once you can tackle these key critical success factors, you will likely be well on your way to building a successful business. I wish you good luck, good fortune and success on this new journey.
– Yaneek Page is Program Manager for Market Entry USA, Certified Entrepreneurship Trainer, Creator and Executive Producer of Innovators and Let’s make peace TV shows. [email protected]