Entrepreneurship has boomed in the past couple of decades. With the emergence of the internet, unreliable job security and a developing social movement towards leading independent lives, people are opting to start their own enterprises. However, most don’t know where to start. They conceptualize an idea and freeze the moment it’s time to take action. There is so much to learn, so much to do and the idea of starting their own business feels unrealistic. But with most goals, success lies in identifying a plan and executing the right next steps. If you ever dreamed of being your own boss and building your own brand but have no clue what steps to take, consider this basic blueprint as your quick guide to starting your first business.
1) Accept you won’t know everything
Many hopeful entrepreneurs get bogged down in the idea that they need to learn everything before they even start. They spend hours, weeks and months hyper focusing on research, taking classes, conceptualizing but never actually pull the trigger. The truth is that it’s impossible to know everything there is to know about a business before you start. Even though a certain amount of research is necessary to prevent jumping in blindly, starting and running a business is very much a learn as you go process.
2) Accept that you do need to know some things
That said, some people are over-confident about their business idea and jump in headfirst then immediately start to sink. There are some basic things you do need to learn before making any investment into a business venture. First find out if there is even a demand for your product or service. You can conduct surveys, ask your friends and family for their opinions and the internet is a wealth of information for basically any industry. Learn what your competition is doing and how you can improve on their methods. Once you’ve ascertained that there is a market for your idea and that you’re capable of competing, you’re ready to take more practical steps.
3) Figure out Costs
What materials will you need to produce your product or service? Will you need to find a location? What about website costs? How much will a business license cost? Will you need to employ any help? What will your marketing strategy be? Go over every detail with a fine-tooth comb to determine how much money it will cost to start and operate your business. This will give you a clear understanding of whether your business idea is actually feasible, how much you should charge and how long it will take for your business to pass the breakeven point and start making a profit. Estimating your costs will take a lot of guess work so a good rule of thumb is once you get your costs down, double it.
4) Determine your Market
Who is your target market? Is your customer base a certain age group or gender? Do your customers participate in specific activities? What will motivate your customers to purchase from you? What do your competitor’s customers look like? These are very important questions to ask so that you can get a clear picture of who you’re talking to when marketing your business. You can identify your ideal market through research and inquiry. You can also create something called a buyer persona where you invent realistic background stories for the specific type of buyer you plan on targeting. You can find a ton of information on how to conduct a buyer persona online.
5) Get Creative
Now that you know your business is feasible, you have estimated costs, and figured out a target market and strategy, it’s time to get creative! What’s the name of your brand? What will be your brand’s message? What does your brand represent? Most start-ups go through this creative process independently, but some people opt to employ help from a designer. The most important thing is that you have an idea of what you want your brand to look like and maintain consistent with that aesthetic. Before you decide on a name, it’s a good idea to make sure that your chosen business name is available by doing a quick domain name search and visiting your local business registry.
6) Find Funding
As illustrated in step #3, businesses cost money. Where is this money going to come from? Some opt to start small, go out of pocket and bootstrap their business until it grows bigger. Others may need to secure a loan or find investors. The good news is that now that you’ve done your preliminary research and have taken all the previous steps, you can now build a business plan to present to the bank or a potential investor. A business plan is a great tool that will not only give others clarity on your business but will also give you a tangible blueprint on what you should be focusing on throughout your process. Use this blueprint to illustrate how you plan on turning your business efforts into profits. The most detailed plans with the most reliable evidence of profitability will have the highest chances of getting funded. Once again the internet is a wealth of knowledge on how to build an effective plan.
7) Get Busy!
Now that you have a plan, a brand, a market and you’re funded it’s time to get busy! The next steps from here should be a lot less daunting now that you’ve accomplished the first few phases of starting your business. However, these steps are still a lot of work and can be overwhelming. If you think you need a little extra support in reaching your small business goals book Goalmachine for a FREE session. In one session you will gain some powerful insights that will help point you in the right direction on your entrepreneurial journey. Sessions can be easily booked on the website at www.MyGoalmacine.com. Just click on the “Get Coached” tab and you’ll be well on your way.