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DAY 1 – HOW TO START A BRAND WHEN THE WORLD IS IN CHAOS – PLAN & RESEARCH

We have partnered with The Six Day Business to help you start your brand. Read the Introduction here. You’ll need a pen and paper to fill out this section. Each question has two parts – the introdcution and the question that you need to answer.

DAY ONE – PLAN & RESEARCH

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” Benjamin Franklin… might have said this

Day One involves lots of desk based research. For some businesses you will need to get out of the house to look at the local high-street. You will start thinking about the market, potential competitors, your USP and the concepts of supply and demand.

Some questions might warrant more introspection than others—feel free to write as much as you want for each question. It is important to give thought to each question and answer as honestly and comprehensively as you can.

1.1 – WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO THROUGH THIS PROCESS?

There’s no one single correct answer to this question.

Maybe you’re kept awake at night by your idea. Maybe you want to take the knowledge from your job and apply it to your own business. Maybe this idea is the manifestation of your life’s purpose or you’ve been talking to friends and family about the idea and they’ve encouraged you to give it a shot. It could be you’ve spotted a gap in the market and are shocked…

shocked that no-one has done it yet. Whatever the reason (and there might be more than one), write it down. Motivations can change, but referencing why you started down this path can keep you motivated in the long-run.

1.2 – WHAT WILL YOUR BUSINESS DO?

Clearly articulating what you do is important. Regardless of who you are speaking to—potential clients, friends, or colleagues—being able to confidently explain why you’re different and what you can offer will help spread your message to the right people.

Answering this question might be difficult right now but it will become clearer as we work through the Days.

Imagine you’re at a party and somebody asks you what you—and therefore your business—does. Your answer should be clear and concise.

A statement could look like the following:

I’ve created the first zero-waste shoe that is entirely recyclable.

I create minimalist children’s wear without a maximalist price tag

I create beautiful kimonos that help people feel like royalty at home

1.3 – WHAT BRANDS OR BUSINESSES DO YOU ADMIRE?

Have you ever considered this? Why you like what you like?

Are you ‘faithful’to any companies? What do you like about them? Regardless of industry are there brands[1]out there that ‘talk to you’. What do you like about them? Is it the imagery, products, innovative spirit, what they stand for, convenience, or is it the or price? Are there any other factors that inspire loyalty for you?

Understanding what appeals to you will help you communicate a compelling message to your customers and also empathise with the factors that influence who they buy from. Below list some brands that you admire and what you admire about them.

1.4 – WHO ARE YOUR CURRENT COMPETITORS?

Competition is healthy and the aim of this question isn’t to deter you. It’s to help you understand whether you are entering a crowded market or if you want to carve out a niche. Some competition is good—it can tell you that the market can sustain this type of business.

If there is competition you’ll need to ask if it can sustain another one like it. Or are you going to have to entice customers away from their current supplier? Knowing there is fierce competition will force you to think about your positioning, price, and offering to explain why you are different.

Use Google to find competitors and make a list. Use specific search terms to help narrow in on what you are trying to do. If you want to start a restaurant, then your competitors are not only the other restaurants in the area, but also delivery outlets (Deliveroo included) and Netflix (anything that would stop your consumers from leaving their house to come to a restaurant). Think creatively and put down what comes to mind. If you can sell your product globally through e-commerce, then your search will be wider as your competition could be anywhere.

1.5 – WHAT IS YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT (USP)?

A Unique Selling Point (USP) is any aspect of your business that differentiates it from similar businesses.

You could be unique for a number of reasons including price, quality, location, speed to market or design. The USP could also be you. Just the fact that you are starting the business might be enough to find customers.

Excellent USPs:

  • Dominos Pizza: You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free. FedEx:When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. Toms Shoes: We give a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you purchase.
  • Some businesses spend years figuring out why they are different—we know it’s tough. Think of this a hypothesis that you can test in the market. You might think this will make you different, but will it actually? Get something down on paper that you can then iterate and develop as you work through this book.

1.6 – WHO IS YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER?

This is a very powerful visualisation exercise. Describing your target customer—right down to the clothes they wear and the brands they buy—will give you a clearer picture of who you will be selling to. Having this ‘perfect customer’in mind will give you useful parameters to consider as you work through price, marketing, positioning, and end-user experience.

Example customer profiles if you are selling direct to businesses:

If you are selling direct to consumers:

  • 21-28 year old females who like the brand Toms (because they donate their products), disposable income of over £1,000 per month, work in a major city of over 1 million people, and take public transport to work.
  • 30+ year olds who care about how plastic disposal is impacting the planet, spends upwards of £400 a year donating to environmental causes, works in a rural area, and owns two cars.

The more detail the better. Don’t leave anything out—you never know what will be relevant later in the process.

As part of your statement, consider the following criteria:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Are you targeting certain ethnic groups? If so, who?
  • Location
  • What is the turnover for the business?
  • How do they spend their free time?
  • What causes do they care about?
  • What industry do they work in?
  • Household Income and Disposable Income
  • Level of Education
  • Where do they live (city, town, countryside etc.)
  • What brands do they wear?
  • What else could be important?
  • Who do they currently buy your service/product/offering from?

1.7 – WHERE DO YOU SEE A DEMAND FOR THIS PRODUCT?

Demand = consumer’s desire and willingness to pay a price for a specific good or service.

Your passion to take an idea to market, and the market’s willingness to buy your idea, are two sides of the same coin. Why do you think there will be a demand for your business and what have you seen that supports this? What have you seen that could disprove this?

As irrational human beings we are sometimes thrown off track by what we call ‘passion blindness’—in more scientific terms it would be called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is defined as “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.”

Because you really want this idea to succeed you might discredit information and data that is telling you it’s not a great idea. The easiest person to fool is always yourself. When you answer this question try to find evidence that doesn’t support what you are trying to do—painful as that might be.

Try to balance your answers between the two columns below. There are rarely ideas that only have one column filled out. Find ways to disprove yourself. They might be stupid ideas and they might not. In Day Five you can discuss these with people you speak to.

1.8 – WHAT IS THE OPPORTUNITY?

Opportunity= all the circumstances and resources that make your business idea most likely to succeed.

Opportunity is finding out why you are in a unique position to take this idea to market. Why are you (and your team—if you have one) the right group that will make this succeed.

Write everything that you believe is relevant to the success of this business and try to stay focussed on what is important to execute on this idea. The more questions you can answer comprehensively, the better you are positioned to pursue this idea. After you work through question 1.9, you may be able to build on these answers to better answer the question, “what is the opportunity?

1.9 – WHAT COMPLEMENTARY SKILL SETS WOULD BE VALUABLE?

I will reiterate this again—running a business is very difficult. It can be made easier if you have a partner (or partners) that help you along the journey. Not only can they be invaluable with bouncing ideas off of (to make sure you’re not going crazy), but they can crucially bring a skill set to the table that you don’t possess. You might not currently have anyone in mind for this, but write down what skills/personality traits would be valuable in a partner and then let people know this is the kind of person you want to speak to.

When we started our business we complemented each other—Andrew understood marketing, design and loves numbers, and Andra knows how to start a business, understood the retail industry and has huge amounts of business acumen. Where we didn’t complement each other was the fact that we are both ideas people—and sometimes not as strong on execution (especially Andrew–this book has been his biggest project to date!) This wasn’t the reason that the business didn’t work, and certainly is not insurmountable. It is important to know, and understand, the strengths and weaknesses of who you are working with to make sure you work with those who balance you out.

AT THE END OF DAY ONE

Congratulations—you’ve made it through the first day. It might not seem like much but think about where you were last week, and where you are now. You’ve taken that first step, and that must feel incredible.

You’ve discovered what the demand and opportunity could be for your idea, and also found out what your motivations are—both crucial things to know.

We are glad to have you on this journey and look forward to Day Two—when your idea will come to life.