Becoming your own boss is everybody’s dream. People often ditch their full-time job to start a business, and often find themselves distressed; because they fail to understand where to start from. However, there are plenty of variables that an entrepreneur should keep in mind before starting a business.
Answer yourself following questions before setting up a business idea:
· Why do I want this business?
· What are my skills?
· Who is my target audience?
· Is it solving a problem?
· What is my budget?
After answering questions like these, you will get clarity about your business idea and you will likely to create a good business model. Yes, to start a business, passion is not enough, you should have a strong vision attached to it.
Here are 7 simple steps to start a business and make it a successful one.
1. Re-define Your Purpose
I am sure you have already a business idea in mind, but you need to balance it with reality. You must get into self-analysis and re-define the purpose of your business. Do quick research about your products and services, how would you sell them, whom do you want to sell, how would you benefit your customers and likewise.
The effective thing to exercise here is SWOT analysis. Know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Since you are entering a new market, it is essential to know every detail about yourself and you should be prepared for the challenges and victories.
2. Know your Competition
After evaluating your business idea, it is now time to know your industry better. Although “Introspection” was a reality check to make your idea more confident and stronger. However, to give business a shape, know the work-ability of the market.
You can simply do it by Google Search, know people working in your industry, and know their ideas and strategies, books written by them, trendsetters of the industry, read authentic sites and magazines to get yourself familiar with the market’s needs and demands.
You can also go after some traditional sources such as – Advertising representatives, brokers list, and Industry suppliers.
3. Plan Your Business
Do you remember a quote by Abraham Lincoln, that says –“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Now, you know yourself as well as your competitors. It is the right time to prepare a blueprint of your business. Plan your business precisely with every little detail such as – How would you launch your product and services, what would be your USP, who is the target audience, Pricing Policies, key objectives, deadlines, budget and so on.
Simply, the Business plan is a road-map where you can highlight the things you are ought to do, and track the progress of your business. The business plan should not necessarily be presented in hefty documents, you can simply define your end goals, features, objectives, and resources that you would need to achieve the ultimate output.
4. Measure your Finances & Funds
To fulfill a business goal, one requires handsome figures. Be it investments or expenses, a business owner should go with it wisely. You must prepare a spreadsheet and cover all the estimated cost of your business such as – licenses, legal cost, insurance, equipment, branding, inventory, launch events, and property leases and so on. These numbers will give you a broader picture of investments you will need at the beginning.
Most investors demand a comprehensive business plan. Besides investment, you are likely to convince investors from your pitch so that, they don’t hesitate to invest. You can also opt for investment and lending options like – Venture capital, commercial banks, angel investors, Small Business Administration Loans, Friends, and family.
5. Get Your Business Registered
Give your business an authentic and credible name because nobody runs a business anonymously. The brand name should project every aspect of your business like products, services, and especially values. After choosing a name, you need to make it a recognized business entity by registering with the government and trademark your business for legal protection and security reasons
Once your business is registered, you may need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. You may not need EIN if your business is sole proprietorship having no employees but, any way you need to enroll yourself to keep your personal and business taxes separately.
6. Getting Team On Board
“It takes two flints to make a fire”, as Louisa May Alcott says. So in that context, you have planted a seed of your business, now you need to water it so that it can grow. Ultimately, your team will be your strength. Make sure you hire competent and effective people to get your business off the ground.
However, take a significant amount of time to decide the outline of positions and job responsibilities to be offered. This whole process of hiring should be executed deliberately, the team should be a composition of mentors, enthusiasts, creative artists and motivators who can take your business to the next level.
7. Market Your Business
Now, the final step is to reach the audience. It takes a lot of efforts to attract customers and for that, a business owner should always fuel his/her business with unconventional ideas. Make sure you start with the basics of marketing by noting down your USP, branding, and advertising cost.
You need to build your brand and get people into your space. The more attention you will get, the more your business is likely to take off the flight. Just remember, success does not happen overnight but, if you take deliberate efforts and persevere, you are no far to become a successful entrepreneur.