Building your own business can seem daunting. It’s very easy to fall in love with the idea of being a business owner, but actually taking the first step and putting in the work to make it a reality is a different story.
The road to entrepreneurship takes work but is ultimately rewarding. Research shows that over 70 per cent of small business owners feel satisfied with their business ventures. In this article, we will show you 6 simple but crucial steps to get you started on your first business venture.
1. Find your Business Idea and USP
The foundation of your business will be your idea. First, you need to take time to reflect strategically about the skills you have. While some people may feel the need to get further education such as getting a Diploma of Business Administration online, for example, others already know exactly how they can put their skills to use.
You also have to think about what your passion is. It’s much easier to become successful in a business if you love what you do. For example, you can turn your passion for fitness into a personal training online platform, or your love for fashion into an e-commerce shop.
After considering your passions and skills, you should think about solving a problem. There are many sources of inspiration: your experiences and observations, online reviews and complaints, surveys, interviews, etc.
Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can do something that others are doing, but better. Ultimately, your product or service needs to have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that sets you apart from the competition.
Your USP should be a specific benefit that your target audience values and can not find in your competitors.
2. Do Market and Competitor Research
The next crucial step is conducting market and competitor research. The better you understand the market you are entering, the better you will identify potential risks, opportunities, and limitations.
Market research will help you understand who your target audience is (age, family status, education level, income range, interests, etc), their desires and pain points, and what is the demand for your product/service, among other factors.
You can do this research through direct methods such as focus groups, surveys, and interviews, or indirectly by analyzing industry reports, government publications, academic research, news, and social media.
Researching your competition is also very important, as it will give you valuable insights about how you can improve your strategy to distinguish yourself and out-do your competitors.
You need to know who your competitors are, what they are selling, how they are marketing themselves and where, what is their market share, and what is their pricing. You need to see how you compare and perform a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
3. Prepare a Business Plan
After you’ve done your research, it’s time to create a strong business plan. Studies show that businesses with a business plan grow 30% faster than those without and that entrepreneurs who take the time to create a business plan have a 129% increased likelihood of growing beyond the startup phase.
A business plan is a strategic roadmap that covers your business’s vision, short-term and long-term goals, your strategy, and how you plan to develop it. This document is essential because financial institutions and investors usually want to see it before deciding to fund a business.
The business plan doesn’t need to be the size of Homer’s Odyssey. It’s better to be succinct and clear. It should include an executive summary, company description, products and services, market research, management and personnel, and a financial plan.
4. Assess your Financial Situation
All businesses need at least some money to get started. Some businesses indeed require minimal startup costs, but that’s not always the case. You need to clearly understand the costs involved in starting your business, and if you will be able to have those funds available.
To get your business funded, you can use your personal savings, funding from family and friends, and personal loans. You can also look into investors, crowdfunding, or government grants. Whichever way you decide to fund your business, make sure you keep your eyes on sustainable growth and profit.
5. Take Care of Licencing and Insurance
A boring but unavoidable part of creating a business is dealing with formalities and paperwork. Nowadays, these processes are much more automated, so it shouldn’t take too much of your time.
You will have to register your business, create a name for it, open a bank account, and get the necessary licenses and business insurance. How these processes operate will depend on the country and city your business will be based at.
Make sure to check with your local government office what licenses and permits you need for your business, as it will depend on the business type and the industry you operate in.
Photo by Freepik
6. Set up Operations and Advertise your Business
Finally, you will have to get things rolling. Watching your business idea come to life takes hard work, but it can also be a beautiful process. A few things you will have to take care of:
- Deciding if you are going to hire staff, or if you are going the solopreneur route. If it’s the former, make sure you know the laws related to hiring an employee.
- Depending on the type of business, you may need to find a workspace facility or venue (and meet legal requirements), and select suppliers.
- Getting the right business tools, such as accounting software, email hosting, or CMR software.
And, finally, you will have to market your business. This includes creating a website and optimizing it for SEO, maintaining a social media presence, producing relevant content, making ads, building an email list, and, overall, developing a strong marketing strategy. This is how you will get noticed, build brand authority, and establish a client base.
A Rewarding Journey Ahead
Successfully building your own business from scratch can be a reality if you have the right mindset and put in the work. Although success doesn’t happen overnight, following the right steps will ensure a more promising future for your endeavors.
From a unique idea that solves a problem to the right marketing strategy, the journey of entrepreneurship is not without its challenges and victories, and for those bold enough to persevere, it can also become the adventure of a lifetime.
Featured image provided by master1305; Freepik; Thanks!
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