Trying to figure out how to start your own business?
Do you want to turn that business idea into a successful reality?
In this article, we’ll take a look at some guidelines to help you focus on the important aspects of starting a new business.
If you follow our tips, it will help take the guesswork out of how to start your own business.
1. Take inventory of yourself.
The first guideline here is to know yourself, your motivational level, how much money you can risk, and what you are willing to do to be successful.
You need to understand what you’re willing to risk to reach your goals. You also need to know how many hours you will work for the foreseeable future. Think also about your comfort zone and how far you are willing to go beyond it. To be successful, you need to keep your business plan in line with your personal goals and resources.
2. Find the right fit for you.
The key here is to find needs that you can meet, that you want to meet, and that will produce enough income for you to be a profitable business. You need to fill all three criteria to make your business work.
Ask yourself – What is the right business for me?
I know it’s not easy to come up with the right answer, but the following steps will help you:
- Look through your resume and your work experience. Can you use the skills you have learned over the years?
- Is there something you haven’t done before, but you would love to learn?
- Do you have a hobby that you could turn into a business?
- Consider the lifestyle. Every business is different, and the demands they put on entrepreneurs is different too. For example, if you want to start a location independent web design company, your lifestyle will be very different than if you would open a local coffee shop.
- Reach out to entrepreneurs with similar businesses. Ask them how they got started. Ask about the challenges and rewards. There is no better way to learn about entrepreneurship than going to the source.
- Evaluate your tolerance for risk. Even if you do everything right, there is a good chance that your business will fail. Can you afford to fail in business? Do you have enough money saved to pay your bills while business takes off?
3. Make sure there is a market.
Don’t make the common mistake of assuming that a lot of people will want to buy your products or services. Never assume that there is a market. Do your research. Talk to experts and potential purchasers. Find out if what you want to sell is what people want to buy. It’s also a good idea to find out how much they’d be willing to pay for it.
Here is how you can make sure there is a market for your product/service:
- What is the size of the market?
- Are people willing to pay for your product/service?
- Are you able to pre-sell customers?
- Who are the competitors now? What size companies are they? How much are they currently selling, locally, regionally, nationally, globally?
- How many competitors are out there?
- Is this a growing, static, or mature market?
- Check Google Trends. Are people searching for products like yours? Is the trend pointing up or down?
4. Have a plan.
You may not necessarily need an in-depth or detailed business plan when you start out, but you do need a plan. At the least, you should specify your goal and lay out a basic roadmap for where you want to go. Of course, this plan will change, but the goal will at least keep you headed in the right direction.
There are many things to consider as you start a business. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Mission and Vision statement. It is also important to write down your core values.
- Who is your customer? Define your target market. Check out our article on marketing tactics to get more customers.
- Describe the product or service you are selling. Even if you are not a born salesperson, every entrepreneur should know about sales.
- How is your product/service differentiated?
- What does competition look like? Who are your main competitors? How are you going to compete against them?
- Who is responsible for what? If you have a team, who is going to do what?
- Create a timeline of what happens by what date.
- How will you market your product or service? I recommend you read our article on ways to get more paying customers.
- SWOT – What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
- How much money do you need to start your business? How much money do you need to live until your business starts to make enough money to support you?
- How much money will your business make?
Planning is so important that I want you to read the following articles I wrote on the topic:
- How to Do Strategic Planning The Right Way
- How to Create Hockey Stick Growth Business Plan
- How To Succeed In Business Without A Plan
5. Avoid procrastination.
It is not realistic to believe that you will have everything in place before starting your business. If you try to make everything perfect before you launch your business, you will probably never get started. Once you have your basic requirements and a good plan you can get started.
6. Start small.
You don’t need to risk it all in the beginning. Start your business out on a small scale first and make adjustments as needed. Build on what works well, tweak those things that show promise, and discard the duds.
7. Move beyond mistakes.
You will make mistakes. It is inevitable. The difference between successful people and all other people is that successful people learn from their mistakes and move beyond them. They don’t dwell on them, and they don’t repeat them.
8. Learn from other people.
Learn everything you can about your industry from mentors and other like-minded professionals. They can be a good resource to find out what it takes to get from where you are to where you want to be.
9. Mind your money and follow the rules.
This one may seem obvious, but it is crucial. Be sure you keep track of your income and expenses. Keep your business accounts separate from your personal accounts. Follow all federal, state, local and industry regulations.
10. Create procedures for operating your business.
If you want your business to have the potential to grow, you need to develop systems and methods. This will allow you to employ people to do the daily work required of the business and allow you to continue to plan and grow your business.
11. Research potential investors.
If your business needs investors to help it grow, do some research before you start courting them. Find out what potential investors are looking for in a company. Also, find out where you can find investors who might be interested in your kind of business.
12. Don’t be shy.
Learn how to put yourself out there and how to politely ask for what you want. The more open and upfront you can be the better your results.
13. Be prepared to grow and change.
Don’t ever stop learning and trying new things. Remember that what works for you now may not work for you ten years down the road. Be open to new things that can help both you and your business grow.
These are all great tips on how to start your own business. Hopefully, they can help start you in the right direction!
photo credit: Thinking 2