Before you leap…

…take the time to understand the problem you are solving.

Are you thinking about jumping out of the corporate ship and into the sea of entrepreneurship? For some, this leap could look inviting, and for others hazardous, but either way, there are some basic things you can do now to test the waters.

The good news is you are in the right state. On Feb. 20, 2017, Peter Lane Taylor posted this article in Forbes titled: “Why Ohio is the Best State in America to Launch a Startup.” As a woman business owner, I am always thrilled to talk with aspiring entrepreneurs about their business ideas.

I often suggest people take the time before they leap to:
■  Understand the business problem they are solving.
■  Define their ideal customer and where they can find them.
■  Research the competitive landscape to identify the differentiators in their solutions.

Utilize your resources
Many professionals are excited to share various aspects of their vision, which is exciting. But in many instances, entrepreneurs are more familiar with the operational concerns and headaches of building a business. To avoid some of these common hurdles of entrepreneurship, I suggest identifying and cultivating these types of resources as you move down the path toward creating a successful company:

1. A mastermind group of entrepreneurs that you can lean on and share with.
2. A good banker/financial adviser that can help you with your plan.
3. A multitalented tech person that can help you invest in the right technology at the right time.
4. A marketing plan to ensure you are leveraging opportunities to position your offerings.
5. A strong network of people that you can leverage to connect you, support you and direct you.
6. A business idea that has opportunities for short- and long-term profits.
7. A virtual assistant (which may need to be you at first) to help you stay organized and provide some dimension to your business.
8. A salesperson (which can be you) that can help you craft your message and position your offering in the marketplace for you to sell or for someone else to position your solution.
9. A business coach to help you when there is no one else to ask.
10. A sense of humor because everything takes longer than planned and often does not unfold exactly as you would hope. It is a journey and not a destination; enjoy the self-exploration of being an entrepreneur.

Build a framework
In the April 2014 issue of Smart Business Cleveland, I shared an article on how to create effective advisory boards. These best practices can also be applied to new business owners as they work to build a sustainable framework to advance their solutions and the workforce of Ohio. For an entrepreneur toolkit which includes free videos, workbooks and guides to start and grow your business visit: www.jumpstartinc.org/entrepreneur-toolkit.

JJ DiGeronimo is president of Tech Savvy Women. JJ’s book, “Accelerate Your Impact: Action-Based Strategies to Pave Your Professional Path,” published by Smart Business Books®, is available for purchase on Amazon. She is also the author of “The Working Woman’s GPS.”