VD35: 4 Steps To Starting Your Own Business – what I discovered through making Kimchi

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While in Seoul, South Korea, I took a class to learn how to make kimchi. Kimchi is one of my favorite dishes – but let’s just say I am not much of a cook. I learned through the process that starting a business is a lot like making kimchi – – it requires planning and dedication. In today’s episode, I discuss four steps needed to transform your passion into a successful business.

Did you know Kimchi dates back as early as the 7th century AD and the recipe wasn’t refined until the 18th century? Being patient is key when building your business while refining the execution of your products, website, services etc.. The best idea in the world doesn’t make for a great business. You must go through a process of trial and error to see what will stick.

1) PLAN: Making Kimchi is time-consuming. You must plan ahead of time to start preparing ingredients. For your business, you must decide who your customer will be. Is there a demand for your product or services? Who needs it the most? How will you market it to your potential customers? How will they find out about your offerings? These are all important questions you must answer otherwise you are just doing business blindly. I recommend you use a business plan template like – Liveplan – to help you answer these important questions.

2) BUY YOUR INGREDIENTS: You need money to build a business – either self-fund your business, like I did for years; take a business loan; or raise money. You must have sufficient funds to cover the cost for building your website, advertising, marketing and content production for example. Create a list of all your expenses and budget accordingly. Your options to raise money include: a) crowdfunding b) micro-loans c) bootstrapping / self-funding. Be practical and do not quit your day job until your business breaks even at the very least.

3) SPICE THINGS UP – BUT DON’t GO OVERBOARD: The signature feature of kimchi is that it is spicy. Spices are the unique value proposition you offer customers. It is what differentiates you from other businesses. You must surprise your customers. You must provide them with the unexpected. Wow them! How? Watch my previous episode on branding and neuroscience >>

4) Let it Ferment – Taste and Refine: Now like I mentioned earlier, it takes time to build a business. It took 100 years to develop the Kimchi recipe. You must go to market, test, optimize and repeat. Do not be shy. The earlier you go to market the easier it will be for you to test the validity of your idea. Tap into your network of friends or fellow entrepreneurs – have them fill out a survey and tell you what they think of your product. Take their feedback and refine your business accordingly.

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