Establishing your own business might seem overwhelming, but with the right mindset, knowledge and tools, you will be able to make it work. All you need is focus, resilience, the ability to take risks and a commitment to execute your business plan, then you are good to go.
Creating your own business is a dream come true, but at the same time you must commit to the process and adapt to it as much as possible.
Here Are the 7 Main Steps To Help You Start Your Own Business
Research the market and find your business idea
When you want to create your own business, the most important step is to see what type of products or services you want to provide to your customers. Make sure you study the market as much as possible to identify a niche that can be potentially lucrative. The last thing you want is a niche that’s not really profitable and full of existing competitors. The better option is to focus on a niche where you are one of the few players out there, as it can make a massive difference in terms of market share and revenue.
It is important to keep in mind that your offering needs to solve a certain problem or satisfy a certain customer need. Therefore, make sure you study well what your prospects want and offer them big value through your products and services. At the same time, remember to choose a niche that you have a previous experience with or that you simply enjoy working in. There is no point to launch a business in an industry that doesn’t speak to you as you might become demotivated very fast.
For example, if you are a car enthusiast, it is much wiser to launch an online car magazine rather than a health and beauty portal everything else being equal. You get the idea.
A business is a long-term initiative and you don’t want to be stuck with an industry that you don’t relate to.
Write a solid business plan
You can’t have a stellar business without proper business planning. One of the most important steps in starting a company is to write a solid business plan. This document provides a summary of your business model and explains the actions you need to take into order to successfully launch and grow your company.
Creating a robust business plan allows you to understand the many challenges that may arise during your startup launch and beyond.
The business plan also needs to show what strategies you intend to implement when it comes to hiring people, purchasing fixed assets, marketing your products and services and generating sales.
A key component of a good business plan includes reliable financial projections consisting of a pro-forma income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. These important financials demonstrate the feasibility of your business model and forecast the potential revenue, cost and profitability of your venture.
Another important element of your business plan is a timetable of activities that summarize the key milestones you need to achieve to translate your vision into reality. Your business plan thus also acts as a roadmap for your future company success.
A company without its own business plan shows that the owner doesn’t really care a lot about its future. The business plan helps you guide yourself through the first part of the business process, and it has the potential to really push the experience to the next level.
You don’t need a very long business plan, you need a concise one that gives all the information investors and other stakeholders require to understand what plans you have and what finances you need.
Handle the legal aspects
Whether we like it or not, we also have to think about the legal aspects when starting a new business. You need to register your business as a legal entity, one that’s separate from the owner. On top of that, you also have to file for taxes and prepare any finance-related tasks and statements. You will also need a business bank account to get everything up and running before you start invoicing.
Keep in mind that some of the tasks here can be rather confusing. However, you can easily hire a business lawyer or a consulting agency that can handle all these things for you. Of course, these services require a certain fee, but it is well worth it if you can afford it. It is wise to open a legal entity the proper way and leveraging the help of professionals can save a lot of time and hassle while allowing you to focus on your core business.
Pick the right business name
This is probably the fun part in the process of starting a new business. But believe it or not, some entrepreneurs make it a complicated matter. Instead of wasting days and weeks trying to make up your mind and picking a name, put yourself a deadline (for example 1 week) and follow the steps below to simplify the process:
Try to choose a business name that’s short, simple, not overly complicated and which is easy to pronounce.
The reason you want to choose a simple and short name is because you will also need to use it as a domain name for your website. Aim to book a .COM domain. Dot COM domains are more convenient and powerful when it comes to supporting your organic ranking on search engines (SEO benefits). If it is not available, go for a .NET or .ORG which are second and third best options. Aim to keep your domain name length under 14-15 characters if possible.
It is important for this business name to also be available in the federal trademark database. Try to keep all these things in mind when you approach a business lawyer for help.
To summarize, a compelling business name should be original and easy to remember. Choose wisely as your customers will associate your name with your brand, your products or services, your company image and everything that come with it.
Create your own website
Once you have the right business name, it’s imperative to create your own website. A few important tips to keep in mind:
Make sure your website is mobile responsive. Our lives are dominated by smartphones and tablets and believe it or not, most of the internet traffic is currently coming from mobile terminals. Therefore, you need to make sure your website displays perfectly on the small screen.
Ensure your website is user friendly. Opt for an easy to navigate layout, minimize scrolling and be generous with pictures, videos and other visuals.
Don’t forget to optimize your website for SEO. You can have the best looking website however if users cannot find it on search engines, then it is as if you don’t have a website at all. Hire an SEO agency to improve your natural ranking on Google on important keywords or learn by doing it yourself.
Integrate your website with social media. A modern website must be fully social enabled. This means you should link to all your social media accounts in the header or footer sections. You also need to allow users to share any article or page on your site to their social media using a simple click.
There are many cost-effective technologies when it comes to build and host your website. Here are a few popular options:
If you wish to launch a simple yet attractive and user-friendly corporate site, then we recommend you use Wix or Weebly. These DIY options are quite effective and won’t break the bank. Plus, hosting comes included with the monthly plan.
If your site is based on a blog or online magazine, then we recommend you use WordPress. This is the gold standard for fully responsive and beautiful blogs. We also recommend you use Blue Host as your cost-effective hosting service.
If your business is an e-commerce store, then go for Shopify. Their monthly and annual plans are quite affordable given what you receive in exchange. If you need a fully custom web store, then use Magento or Prestashop knowing that you will need to hire a developer to build your site.
Sort your finances
You must keep in mind that starting a new business will require some initial investment on your part, and this can sometimes be higher than expected. That’s why you need to track your funds and finances as much as possible.
Create a spreadsheet and forecast all the estimated initial purchases and expenses including equipment, insurance, legal costs, licenses, inventory, branding and so on. Focus on the immediate costs like establishing your business, licenses or even hiring key people (unless you are handling everything yourself in the beginning).
These startup expenses are usually needed to establish your company and set things in motion. Most founders then usually seek seed investment to be able to finance their growth, but many others choose to rely on bootstrapping. It really depends on the type of business you’re in.
Create an investor deck in case you wish to raise funding
In case you choose to raise capital from external investors, then it is paramount you create a compelling investor pitch deck.
The pitch deck is a concise presentation usually done in Power Point, which you can present to potential investors during initial encounters before sharing with them the full-fledged business plan. A powerful investor deck usually offers just the right amount of information to hook your listeners and spark their interest to know more about the business opportunity presented to them.
The deck should be no longer than 10 to 15 slides and should tell the story of how you are solving a certain problem in an elegant way, in a market that has a significant demand for your solution. It should paint a clear picture of a promising business opportunity that cannot be missed.
For more information on how to create a winning pitch deck, please refer to this article.
Market your business
At this point, you are pretty much done with the business setup process. What you need to do is to start promoting your business and generate paying customers.
You can think about marketing objectives as divided into two broad yet complementary goals.
Branding and awareness: These marketing activities focus on getting your business name out there. The purpose is to make people aware of your brand and remember it as much as possible. Typical branding activities including outdoor campaigns, TVC, radio spots, social media reach campaigns and display ads.
Direct response: This is when you mostly care about generating leads and sales by maximizing conversions. A conversion can be a newsletter signup, someone calling your business fpr more info or an actual purchase. Popular direct response marketing activities include email marketing, paid search, SEO, conversion-oriented social media ads and remarketing.
Marketing is an extremely important business activity. Without a well though marketing plan, your business cannot generate sales let alone become profitable. Writing a powerful marketing plan is a must if you are serious about growing your startup and reaching profitability.
Starting your own business is not easy but by following our tips, you can dramatically simplify the process.
An entrepreneurial mindset and a dash of courage sure help in taking the leap forward and launch your own company.
Remember there is always a certain degree of risk you need to be willing to take with every new venture. This is part of the story. But keep in mind that with greater risks come greater rewards.
Follow our simple 7-steps startup launch process and start taking action now. Writing a solid and well- researched business plan can make a big difference in increasing your chances to succeed. Once you have a compelling business plan, it is just a matter of aptly executing the various milestones and key tasks mentioned in the plan, and building along the way a team of like-minded people who are excited to be part of your big adventure.