Your Financial Freedom Starts With These 3 Simple Steps

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We all crave financial freedom as well as the freedom to be your own boss. The lure of creating on a blank canvas is also a reason why entrepreneurship has been so popular. But only recently has this path been easily accessible to the masses.

New Zealand actually ranks very high on entrepreneurial population. 18.2% of Kiwis are currently actively working to achieve entrepreneurial goals. Now, having your own venture doesn’t immediately guarantee financial freedom. It also depends on external factors that are likely outside your control.

But anyone can try and succeed with the right idea and grit. Here are the first 3 simple steps to help you get started.

1. Think of at least 4 different ways your venture can earn money

Many private wealth management advisers encourage people to have multiple sources of income. So one’s paycheck and stock portfolio will be considered two income sources. This helps your savings to be stable via diversification.

Similar principle applies to how you define the revenue streams for your startup. There should be at least 4 different ways you can think of where what you are providing in the market will be able to generate revenue. 14% of small or medium businesses fail due to financial mismanagement.

Having multiple income sources is crucial to ensure business continuity in a fast-changing environment. On a high level, there are only 2 components to your finances: Revenue and Cost. In the lifecycle of a company, it starts with focusing on generating revenue before shifting to cost optimisation as it scales. So as a startup, your focus will be on how you will be paid for the product or service offered to customers.

Creating a sound business model with solid revenue streams requires you, the entrepreneur, to understand few business and accounting concepts. But don’t fret. Thanks to the New Zealand government’s ‘Fees Free’ initiative, you will be able to sign up for all kinds of useful courses online for free.

2. Pitch your idea to a variety of characters

Whether your venture succeeds with consistent growth rate or not will depend heavily on your pitch. Does it tell a compelling story? Will investors, customers, partners, marketers, and other key stakeholders buy into it?

This is the key. Your product can have time traveling capabilities and get zero attention if the story around how it takes passengers on a journey is told poorly. There are so many different ways you can pitch your idea to an audience. How you tell the story defines the branding of your soon-to-be company and signals what it aims to contribute. Depending on the audience, you’ll want to reveal different levels and types of information to draw their attention.

So practice pitching. Start with friends, coworkers, and family. These days there are online or live sessions where successful entrepreneurs and mentors listen to different pitches and provide constructive feedback.

Idea pitching is probably not an one-off activity even if your company takes off. Branding is an iterative process. Many startups will go through a few versions before they land on the one that sticks. Even after that, most will go through regular re-branding to meet the evolving needs of their customers.

3. Plan marketing and customer service strategy early on

Many founders make the mistake of thinking about marketing and customer service strategy too late in the process. In step #1 above, you identified how you would generate revenue on the value you create for the customers. The next step is to determine how you’d reach these customers who you believe would be willing to open up their wallets in exchange for your amazing product!

If they start using your product/service and something goes wrong, what would you do for them? Thinking through how you’d attract and retain the customer so you can actualise the revenue streams and achieve growth should be done early. There are so many tools including analytics available for you to leverage so don’t be overwhelmed!

Write down who you believe the customers would be and their personas as if they are movie characters with distinct characteristics. This alone should give you few ideas about what and where your ads need to be.

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John is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.