1. Get Your Mind on the Right Track
It takes a certain mindset to start a business from scratch—one that’s not too skittish and not too foolhardy. Perhaps the greatest challenge for new owners is working longer and harder than they ever expected. The truth is: No one will be more determined to see your business succeed than you. You need to be committed from the get-go. Another common deterrent for entrepreneurs is timing. There is seldom a perfect time to start a business. If you have a product or service that you think could work, then go for it. You want to plan, yes, but you don’t want to get stuck in a cycle of analysis paralysis. You will never truly know if now is a good time unless you try. The key is to get started. Then you deal with the challenges and opportunities along the way. You’ll need fortitude to overcome those challenges and the ability to enjoy the opportunities. Desire and determination are essential to drive a small business to success. Even more essential is a vision of what could be. Stay motivated by focusing on the rewards of your small business succeeding, independence and the sense of pride that comes with owning your own business.
2. Focus on Refining Your Idea
If you don’t have a firm idea of what your business will entail, ask yourself the following questions: What do you love to do? What do you hate to do? Can you think of something that would make it easier? These questions can lead you to an idea for your business. If you already have an idea, they might help you expand it. Your business idea doesn’t have to be a game changer. It doesn’t need to be novel, either. For example, do you love to travel? Consider a business as a travel planner if you are good at finding unique hotels and experiences. Do you have a specific talent, such as cooking? Start a business as a personal chef and deliver home-cooked meals. Are you passionate about animals? Become a dog trainer or sitter—or a combination of both. You can also look around at what is currently available in the marketplace. Then, imagine spinoffs of those products and services that might exist five years from now—10 years from now. That could be the seed that sprouts into your very own product.
3. Do Your Market Research and Competitor Analysis
Is your idea for a product or service that you want to sell a viable one? You’ll need to conduct some market research to find out. Such research is crucial to understand the level of demand for the product or service you want to offer and can help you determine the tastes of the consumer base within your target market. It’s also a necessary part of your business plan that you will use to obtain funding. Your product or service may be one not currently offered in the marketplace. If so, that’s a great advantage. If it’s already offered, you must have a way to differentiate it from its competitors. If you understand the economic environment and trends that might affect your consumer base and demand, you will better choose what and how you want to sell. Your market research can be composed of primary and secondary research. Primary research is the process of collecting data directly rather than relying on the results of already collected data. Primary research can lead to a higher level of accuracy than relying on previously collected data. It is helpful because you can survey the target market through, for example, questionnaires, surveys and interviews to determine the tastes of the customers.
4. Develop a Business Plan
A business plan is a living document that serves as a roadmap to guide the development of a new business. A business plan is constructed in an order easy for potential investors, financial institutions and management of the business to read and digest. Even if you expect to self-fund, a business plan can be a helpful tool.
Business plans typically offer some form of SWOT analysis. Financial institutions and venture capitalists find a SWOT analysis to be a concise source of information about the new business and its competitive strategy. You’ll be ahead of the curve if you already conducted a SWOT analysis during your market research.
A typical business plan is organized something like this:
- Executive summary: The executive summary should be the first item in the business plan, but it should be written last. It describes the proposed new business and highlights the goals of the business and the methods that will be used to achieve them.
- Mission and goals: This section should contain a brief mission statement and detail what the business wishes to accomplish and the steps to get there.
- Background summary: This portion of the business plan is the most time-consuming to write. Compile and summarize any data, articles and research studies on trends that could positively and negatively affect your business or industry.
- Organizational structure: In this section, write about the type of business organization you expect, what risk management strategies you propose and who’s going to staff the management team.
- Marketing plan: The marketing plan identifies the characteristics of your product or service, summarizes the SWOT analysis and analyses competitors.
- Financial plan: The financial plan is perhaps the core of the business plan because, without money, the business will not move forward. A proposed budget should be included along with projected financial statements, such as an income statement, a balance sheet and a statement of cash flows. Usually, five years of projected financial statements are acceptable. The funding request is also in this section.
- Summary: The funding request should be summarized along with the main points concerning why the business is viable.
It is important that the business plan looks as professional as possible, particularly if you plan to use it outside the business.
Lastly, consider how you will market your business. A website suitable to your business is the best place to start. Secondly, you should create, design and populate your social media presence. This will be one of the most important steps to take in establishing your new brand. For professional website and marketing services, contact us to assist you. Our professional team will have up and running in no time. The idea in the beginning is not to break you first marketing budget but to make the budget set aside work for you giving you the best exposure possible and for this you need professionals in the field. We don’t just provide you with the platforms, we teach you as in the process. For us educating our clients is crucial!