Before you start, it’s important you know what type of services or products you will be offering. Having an honest understanding about your skills and which of them excites you the most gives you a good sense of which direction you might take as an independent contractor or business owner. You can use the Independent Contractor Brainstorming Worksheet available on the Immigrants Rising resources page to help you get started.
Consider the questions in the following segments as you start creating your business plan.
You’ll probably have more than one type of customer, but for now, try to really understand your main customer type (called a primary audience). The more narrow and detailed your customer description, the better you will be able to focus your energy on marketing and delivering your product or service to that group of customers. Do you want to sell to businesses (Business-to-Business/B2B), to individuals (Business-to-Consumer/B2C), or both? What are some characteristics about those customers? (large-sized businesses, individuals who are millionaires, men of color aged 18-29, etc.)
What is the customer problem that your business will solve? How will your business provide value to or improve the lives of your customers? e. For instance, Uber and Lyft addressed commuting problems for individuals while also providing a source of income for drivers;
How do you solve the customer problem you’ve identified? What within that problem can you control or alter, and what can’t you do anything about? Knowing the difference here is going to be the key to helping them solve that issue and to opening up their wallets.
There are different types of competition. Sometimes that competition takes a direct form (other businesses that offer products and services similar to yours) or an indirect form (you have to compete with other influences that take up your customers’ time, attention, and finances - such as work commutes, media, and disposable income like bills. Understanding your competition will help you understand your clients and what they need from your business.
Unique Value Proposition
Your unique value proposition looks at what you’ll bring to the table vs. your competitors. What are you going to offer in terms of services or products that your competitors can’t or won’t? Basically, how are you going to differentiate and distance yourself from the competition to keep your value high among your target customers? Are you cheaper, faster, more convenient, more authentic, more impactful, more experienced, etc?
Your time, materials, resources, transportation, internet/wireless plan, and need for employees or contractors all cost money. Figuring out how much you’re spending and in what categories can help you understand how much revenue you’ll need to generate and how much you will need to charge for your products and services in order to produce a profit.
What does success look like to you? It’s okay to explore the intangible success metrics such as job satisfaction, being able to work with your family, and making a difference in the lives of people - those markers are important because that’s where a lot of your drive comes from, and without them as part of your vision you’re going to have a tough time staying motivated.
But you also have to know what other markers of success look like, such as number of customers quarter-to-quarter, sales, and greater profit margins over time.
See more details about Marketing and Promotion here.