If you’ve decided 2019 is the year you’re going to go into business for yourself, you have many exciting yet challenging times ahead. Like many people, you might be considering joining the sharing era by developing a car-sharing business.
This is a hot market that has been growing rapidly and still seems to have plenty of expansion left in it. However, with many other entrepreneurs getting into this field, too, you really need to go about launching your venture in the best way possible.
Research the Market
Don’t go into business for yourself without having first spent considerable time researching the market. Handle this from at least a couple of angles. For example, investigate who your likely competitors will be and what they’re currently offering to the market. Learn about the services they provide, fees they charge, customer service level they offer, how they market and sell themselves, what their processes are, and more. This information will help you to understand where gaps are.
Research target markets, too. To run a successful business, you must attract many consumers interested in what you offer. You must understand what people are looking for, and when, where, and how they search for services. It pays to learn about the lifestyle, financial status, familial setup, hobbies, job types, etc., of your likely customer base. Also learn about the various problems customers need you to solve for them, and/or the benefits they’d like to receive.
Develop a Point of Difference
Doing the research mentioned above makes it simpler to develop a point of difference for your venture. With increasing numbers of car-sharing organizations hitting the market, it’s harder all the time to stand out. Developing a “unique selling proposition” will give you a way to differentiate yourself effectively.
Don’t, however, settle on just any point of difference. Analyze whether how you want your business to differ from competitors is a way that will be profitable and get enough people signing up, at the price you need to charge.
You can create a stand-out venture by concentrating on any number of factors. For example, consider the service types you offer, how you advertise, the level of customer support you provide, the prices you charge, processes you develop, locations you operate in, and so on.
Choose the Best Technology Platform
Of course, since a car-sharing business relies so heavily on the technology it uses to bring vehicles and consumers together, you must carefully select the best tech platform for your needs. There are numerous options, so research and compare features of different car-sharing technology platforms against your needs.
As you analyze, consider things like budget, how user-friendly systems are for the various parties involved, and security (you don’t want hackers stealing anyone’s sensitive information or thieves stealing cars). Comprehensive customer support is vital, too. Business finances are heavily impacted by how often people make bookings, so you must be able to get in touch with your tech provider if the system ever has issues and bookings fail. Other things to consider are customer support, scalability, and customization.
Put Together a Business Plan
Successful entrepreneurs make it a habit to do comprehensive planning. While it’s impossible to plan for every possibility in business and you do have to leave some room for improvisation and testing and measuring, it’s necessary to plan out what you want to achieve and how you think you can get those results.
A business plan, in particular, is helpful. Putting together a document that covers things such as your partners in the business and each person’s responsibilities, sales and marketing tactics, services and processes, financials (many of these numbers will be projections at the start), risks and opportunities, and legal and insurance elements.
Planning helps prevent you from spending precious start-up resources (time, money, and energy) on distracting tasks that don’t take you down the path you want. Planning also helps you see if there are particular aspects of operating your business you’ve missed out on or not thought through properly. Comprehensive planning reduces the resources needed to make a venture a success and helps entrepreneurs ensure they’ve thought of everything they need to before putting up a figurative “Open for Business” sign.
Launching your first business, or a venture that’s in a new market is stressful, costly, and time-consuming. However, by following the steps above, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success and make being an entrepreneur a more pleasant journey, too.