Starting your own business is one of the most powerful ways to take control of your life and make money month after month.You can start with just a few hours a week — even if you have a job. And best of all, you get to choose your hours, pick projects you find exciting, and meet interesting people.
So here are seven steps you should follow to build yourself a strong business.
- Conduct a personal evaluation
Begin by taking an account of yourself and your situation:
- Why do you want to start a business? Is it money, freedom and flexibility, to solve a problem, or some other reason?
This step is here to get you thinking and planning. In order to start a successful business, passion isn’t enough, you need preparation.
You need to plan, set goals, and most importantly know yourself. You could conduct a SWOT analysis on yourself to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are and how these will affect your day to day operations.
As you begin, your business will likely take your time, so make sure that what you’re doing is exciting and challenging, but not outside of your range of expertise. You’re going to be in it for the long game. Use what you learn from the SWOT analysis to think about what you want your life to be like, not just what you want to gain from the business.
Some good questions to ask yourself include:
- What is important to you?
- Do your family, especially your immediate support you? They may have to make sacrifices initially, so it’s important to have them back you.
- Who do you admire in the business industry? Maybe there’s even someone in the industry you’d like to join. Why do you admire them? What are their good traits? What can you learn from them?
Answering these questions about yourself and your abilities isn’t really a guarantee that you’ll be successful, but it will get you thinking about your goals and about what moves and inspires you. Use this time to make sure that you are starting the business you want to match your personal aspirations.
- Analyze your industry
Once you choose the business that fits your goals and lifestyle, assess your business idea. Who will be your customers? Who will your competitors be? how much money you will need to get started.
There are a number of ways you can do this, including searching on Google, asking people who are in your target industry, reading books on the topic, researching important people in the industry, reading relevant industry magazines and maybe taking a class or two.
If you don’t have time to do all this research, there are several people you can go to for advice, like government departments and your local SBDC.
- Evaluate your target audience
Validate your business idea by making a pitch page.
To ascertain how attractive your potential market really is, it is recommended that you do a market analysis.
It will guide your research as you think about:
- How readily do people need the thing you’re offering right now?
- How easy is it and how much will it cost you, to get a customer? If you’re selling enterprise software, this may require more investment than a coffee shop.
- How much money and effort will it cost to create the product or service you would like to be offering?
- How long will it take to break into the market? A month? A year? Three years?
- How much capital will you need before you open?
- Will your business continue to be relevant as time goes on?
Now while you still have time, learn as much as you can about your competition, about what they provide to their customers, how they attract them, and whether or not their customers are satisfied. If you can figure out what’s missing before you even get started, your job will be made that much easier when you do finally start.
- Begin the planning process
If you will be seeking external financing, a business plan is a requirement. But, even if you are going to finance the venture yourself, a business plan will help you determine how much money you will need to begin, what will the business require to make it profitable, what still needs to get done, when and where you are headed.
In layman terms, a business plan is a roadmap, you will use it to help you chart your progress and that will list the things you need to do in order to reach your goals.
While you can use your business plan as part of your pitch to investors and to attract prospective partners and board members, you will first and foremost use it to define your strategy, tactics, and specific activities for delivery, including important milestones, deadlines and budgets,
Even if you do not think you need a business plan, you should still go through the planning process. This will will help to identity any areas you may not have thought through. If you do need to write a formal business plan document, you should follow this outline:
A model business plan contains the following:
- The Executive Summary
- Target Market
- Products and Services
- Marketing and Sales Plan
- Milestones and Metrics
- Company Overview
- Management Team
- Financial Plan
- Have a plan for funding
Depending on the size of your venture, you may need to get financing from an investor or from a venture capital firm. But, most small businesses begin with a loan, financing from credit cards, help from friends and family, and so on.
These are some places to get funding:
- Friends and family
- Investment and lending options include:
- Venture capital
- Credit cards
- Angel investment
- Commercial banks
- Small Business Administration Loans
- Accounts receivable specialists
To stand a chance at getting hold of the funds you need to get begin, you have to focus on your “pitch.” Not only will it be easier to fix because it contains less, but you will also get important feedback on it; most investors don’t bother reading the full business plan, though they may still expect you to have it, funny right.
- Set up your space
Now that you have a business plan and capital, you’re ready to go. If your business is on the internet you won’t need a storefront, you’ll probably looking build your website and choosing a shopping cart option. Probably you’ll work out of a home office or a co-working space instead of renting or buying office space. But if your business needs a dedicated physical location, there are many things to take into consideration.
Finding a location, negotiating leases, buying inventory, getting the phones installed, having stationery printed, employing your staff, setting prices, throwing a grand opening party.
Think through these steps carefully. Your business location will dictate the type of customer you attract, what types of promotions you can do, and how long it will take for your business to grow. While a good location won’t ultimately guarantee your success, a bad location can contribute to failure.
As you’re thinking about where you want to open up shop consider the following:
- Price: Can you really afford to be where you want to be? If not, or if you’re cutting it fine, keep looking.
- Visibility: Will people easily be able to find you?
- Access to parking or public transportation
- Distribution of competitors.
- Local, city, and state rules and regulations: Look into regulations, as some areas may be more restrictive than others.
- Expect to make mistakes
Even if you’re starting your first or your fifth business, expect to make mistakes. This is very natural and so long as you learn from them, they will be also beneficial.
If you do not make mistakes, you do not learn what to do less of and what to emphasize. Be open minded and creative, look for opportunities, and most importantly, have fun!
The best thing about having your own business is that you decide what you want to do and where you’ll grow.
Book a discovery session with an experienced Business coach starting today, click the link below: