Step #1 - Evaluate, test and refine the business concept by answering the following:

  •  How will a micro-business help me achieve my goals? (passion, lifestyle, financial security etc)
  •  What problems will I solve for my potential customers?
  •  What are my market(s) and who are my competitors?
  •  What does the micro-business need to do (or offer) to be stand-out in the market?
  •  What resources (funding, staff, online presence etc) do I need to operate the micro-business?

Step #2 - Identify potential customers of the micro-business.

Use online searches, government census data, surveys, questionnaires and even cold-calling to determine:

  •  What are the potential number of customers that the micro-business will attract?
  •  Where are they located?
  •  How are your customers going to access and use your product?
  •  How will they pay for the product?
  •  How will I attract and retain customers?

Step #3 - Validate and adjust your micro-business concept by applying a customer-centric approach. I.e:

  •  Understand a day in the life of your customer. Draft a story or series of scenarios about your customer; understand the challenges and problems that they face and how your products and services are meant to support them. Share your story with your customers and ask for feedback. Adjust and update your story as required.
  •  Review your business products and services against the stories and scenarios you have developed and shared with your customers. Address any gaps in the business products and services; tune and/or dispose of product and services as required.
  •  Review and update your organisation and operations to ensure you are delivering to your customer story. Ask for customer feedback. Re-engineer processes and practices to make them customer friendly; train, empower and support staff to deliver a customer-centric culture.
  •  Be genuine and helpful. Not all customer interactions will result in a sale; being helpful will put your business "front of mind" next time the customer has a problem or is ready to purchase.
  •  Understand the reasons as to why customers move on. Contact the customer and find out why; use the feedback to determine if remedial action is required and apply it. Keep a list of all the reasons and use the list to determine if there is a recurring complaint or issue.

Step #4 - Research and test the brand and name for your micro-business that:

  •  Reflects the mission and values of the micro-business.
  •  Makes your micro-business stand apart from competitors.
  •  Concisely describes the products and services offered by the micro-business
  •  Is unique and not owned by some other business, especially on the web and social media.

Online tools that can assist in the selection of the micro-business brand and name include:

Step #5 - Find and engage mentors and advisors who can assist you to evolve the micro-business concept and vision.

Mentors and advisors can be:

  •  Accountant.
  •  Insurance representative or broker.
  •  Lawyer (especially if there is intellectual property involved).
  •  Business mentor.
  •  A director or shareholder of a another business that sells products and services to your customer segment.

Step #6 - Identify the skills and teams needed to deliver the micro-business products and services.

Use these skills as the basis to recruit and develop an customer-centric organisation structure including roles and responsibilities) for the micro-business.

Customer centric cultures only work when every individual in the organisation gets behind the vision and actively participates in its evolution; this means interviewing and selecting individuals who will represent the business and the vision.

Customer centric culture starts at the top and is represented throughout the business; the culture must be endorsed, supported and driven by the business owners and the leadership team. To achieve this:

  •  Define a vision. Be clear on what customer-centricity looks like for your organisation, employees and customers.
  •  Define where you are in terms of customer-centric maturity, what you are aiming for, how it will look and feel, and how you know the goals have been achieved.
  •  Define and operate a set of consistent and simple to understand customer-centric values that are used to inform and guide business decisions and operations.
  •  Regularly communicate, engage and reinforce the customer-centric vision, values, progress and outcomes to employees.

This customer-centric approach to recruitment must be applied to every role in the organisation - not just the customer facing roles.

Step #8 - Decide on the structure of the mico-business with your mentors.

The most common business / micro-business structures are:

When deciding on the micro-business structure consider the following:

  •  Is the business employing staff ? If so how many and where will they be located ?
  •  Will I look for investors ?
  •  Is this a business I will work to grow ?
  •  Will this be a business I want to sell one day ?

Step #9 - Get started.

  •  Register the micro-business name and register (the business) for tax and (as required) compliance.
  •  Be frugal. Don't invest in anything you don't need. Take the money you make and put it right back into the business.
  •  Record every expense and watch your cash flow. The key to launching a micro-business is to keep expenses under control and understand the impacts of income and spending on your cash flow.
  •  Use formal agreements. With a micro-business, your customers sometimes make the assumption that they don't have to sign an agreement; always get promises in writing.
  •  Keep it simple. If you can do one thing well, don't dilute your efforts until you have been turning a large profit over a consistent stretch of time.
  •  Get out there and sell, sell, sell.