6 Steps To Starting Your Indigenous Business
Starting your own indigenous business can be a daunting but rewarding experience. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.
1. Do your research
Before you start your business, it’s important to do your research and figure out what your target market is. Identify your niche and what makes your business unique. Knowing who you are targeting with your outreach efforts will make it more efficient and effective so you are laser focused on bringing ideal customers to your door.
2. Create a business plan
Creating a business plan is essential for any business. It will help you map out your business goals and strategies, and will make it easier to track your progress. A traditional business plan is important but is a large document with a lot of moving parts to research, strategize, plan, forecast, etc. Initially, you can start with a business model canvas (1 page overview) which hangs on your wall and will act as a high level roadmap as you build out the various areas of your business.
3. Get funding
One of the biggest challenges businesses face is securing funding. This is especially true for Indigenous entrepreneurs who often aren't in a position to apply for a traditional loan without owning major assets such as real estate to secure the loan. There are a few ways to raise money for your business, such as seeking investors, applying for grants (there are many Indigenous financial institutes that are supportive), loans through Indigenous-focused lenders, and crowdfunding.
4. Build a strong team
Building a strong team is key to the success of any business. It’s important to find people who share your vision and are passionate about your business. As a start up, you will likely wear all the hats at first. You are the marketer, business development, accountant, manufacturer/service deliverer, etc and can add to your team as you grow. Estimate the roles you will need to fill as your business progresses and be ready to post the job descriptions online to your network when you are in a position to hire help.
5. Marketing and branding
Marketing and branding is essential for any business. You need to create a strong brand that stands out from the competition and devise a marketing strategy that will reach your target market. Marketing clarifies who your target audience is, what they want and need, and it enables you to attract them so you can build relationships that turn into sales and long term loyal customers.
6. Stay organized
Staying organized is essential for any business. It will help you stay on track and avoid any major headaches. Use a good business management software to help you keep track of your finances, inventory, and deadlines.
There are many challenges to starting an indigenous business, but with hard work and perseverance, the rewards can be great. By creating a business that is rooted in your culture and traditions, you can help preserve your heritage while also providing a valuable service to your community.