Founder of Crux Game Design Mike Ionita Provides Tips for Starting a Business
Mike Ionita has always loved animation and game design. From watching Tom and Jerry as a child to playing Mortal Kombat in arcades after school, Mike Ionita never imagined that one day he would be running his own game design studio. As the Founder and Creative Director of Crux Game Design in Vancouver, Mike has experienced the high and lows of entrepreneurship, and has insight to share with anyone interested in starting their own company. Outlining everything you need to know from idea to execution, he is here to help you build your business.
Start with a Innovative Idea
Every great business starts with an idea. Mike explains that the first thing you need to do is flesh out your idea, answering: What problem will my business solve? What will we do differently? And who is it for? He states that you should just have fun with the brainstorm, writing down everything that comes to mind. There are no bad ideas when you’re brainstorming.
Pinpoint a Target Audience
Once you’ve finished brainstorming, it is time to narrow down your scope, putting together all of the aspects of your business that make sense together. Mike Ionita explains that writing 250–500 words about what your business is, who it serves, and what it aims to achieve will help you pull focus and identify your target demographic — your target demographic is who the product/service is for. He claims that a mistake that most entrepreneurs make is assuming there is an audience for your product/service without testing this hypothesis. If there aren’t statistics about a growing demographic or market for your product/service, you will want to conduct your own survey to validate your business idea. Mike Ionita suggests thoroughly exploring and identifying your target demographic before investing any money into your business.
Create a Business Plan
Once you’ve got a vision and a validated audience for your business, it is time to build your business plan. Outlining your mission, target audience, market analysis, suppliers, key partners, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, projected income and more, will help you create a roadmap for your business. Mike Ionita explains that your plan should be specific enough to act as a roadmap for the next 5 years, but flexible enough to pivot if any unanticipated changes come your way.
Market Your Brand
Now that you have a validated idea and business plan, it is now time to build your brand. No matter what it is you are selling, you will need visual material to either market your product/service to your target market, or to sell the idea to investors. Mike Ionita explains that a website is a great way to start building our your mission and brand. He urges you to take your time with this step, as it will define your brand for the next couple of years. Choose a colour scheme and brand identity that reflects the values of your business, and carry this through to every channel you engage audiences — whether it is LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. You will want to ensure that you market your product/service on a channel that your target demographic frequents. If you sell wellness services to HR representatives at big companies, you will likely want to be on LinkedIn. If you sell vegan makeup, you will likely want to be on Instagram.
Lastly, Mike Ionita urges you to have patience. Building a solid foundation for a successful business will take time, and it will often feel like an uphill battle. However, listen to customer feedback, pivot on your plan if you have to, and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. It took Mike Ionita years to find a formula that worked for him.