It’s fairly common for aspiring business owners to be filled with confidence and hope, but not much knowledge or experience in how to actually start a business. If you fall into this category, don’t worry, you’re not alone 🙂
You and your partners (if applicable) should be able to discern what the goals of your company are, what are its products or services, pricing, and much more. Here’s some advice on how to start your own business.
Figure out the Identity of your Company
Like all businesses out there, you have to figure out what products and/or services you want to focus on. The concept or branding is one of the many initial and important factors towards making your business survive the initial months. Something that will be the face of your company, something that will last even if your other products fail to uphold expectations…and still you would feel at ease knowing that this one product or service will always be your saving grace. This “something” must generate a steady source of income. It will be the lifeblood of your company as well as its identity.
Sound easy? Believe me, this is the one of the hardest parts of creating a startup. Conceiving a plan that must put one’s knowledge, experience, and field expertise in order to make something sellable is no walk in the park.
Create a Business Plan
Polls state that the major reason why new businesses fail to make the cut is because of underdeveloped plans. No proper plan or lack of information in formulating a plan usually cause these businesses to blow their capital like it was never there to begin with.
Figure out Costs
This sounds complicated, but there’s plenty of examples out there for how to estimate business costs. This step is important for your own planning purposes, and absolutely crucial if you need investors or a loan. This calculation includes office costs, utilities, wages, product development costs, shipping costs, marketing, advertising…basically anything related to your business.
What is your Market?
Who is your ideal customer? How large is this group of people? How likely are they to buy your product or service? How much will they typically pay? These are all questions you need to answer honestly. You can then compare this with your business costs to see if this venture is worth pursuing.
Look at your Risks
You need a plan in place to handle any problem that might arise. Look at your competition. How much market share do they have? How does their pricing work? What type of relationship do they have with their (soon to be your) customers? If they are too strong in the marketplace or priced too competitively, perhaps it’s not worth your effort to try to compete.
Make sure you won’t be violating any local or national laws. Figure out how taxes work, both at a local and national level.
Ensure all the equipment and supplies you need to create your product is readily available. A potential risk is a supplier or wholesaler going under and you no longer having a source of your materials.
Create a Marketing Plan
The first thing you should do is figure out how much $ you have available for marketing. This will help determine what your marketing plan is. For example, if you have absolutely no $ available for marketing, you’ll only be able to use free methods (but luckily there’s many super effective free marketing tools available). If you have some $ to spend, you can look into paid options.
Next, figure out where your target market hangs out (either virtually or offline), and how best to reach them. For online marketing, if you’re trying to sell to other business owners, maybe LinkedIn would be a good resource. As another example, if you’re trying to sell something arts & crafts-related, Pinterest might be a better bet.
Here’s some of your options:
- Friends and family (although if you end up not being able to pay them back, there’s a risk you could ruin that relationship)
- Banks – Talk to the bank you already have a history with first.
- Angel investors – There’s many angel investing services out there, like Angel.co, FundersClub, and MicroVentures.
- Crowdfunding – Try a service like KickStarter or IndieGoGo
Establish Your Place of Business
If your new business is a brick-and-mortar one, you’ll need a physical office space. However, if it’s an online business, or something that you don’t need customers to show up at a physical address, maybe you can work out of your home? There’s typically extra tax benefits for doing this too. So you’ll not only save time (no commute) but you’ll also save money.
Get Supplies and Equipment
Now it’s time to acquire everything you need to create your 1st product or service. Whether this be manufacturing machines, or computer software, or linens, or art supplies. Whatever it is you need, you should find it (and at the lowest costs possible, to keep your margins bigger).
Finally, the fun part! Get out there, execute your marketing plan, and make some sales! Make sure you have eye-catching advertisements, either offline or online, and try to be as creative as possible, while keeping your marketing/advertising costs as low as possible.
Perhaps demos or free samples will help? Maybe you can get a booth at a trade show or a local market? Networking events can be very effective too (Meetup.com is great for these). Also, use your friends and family to help promote your business for you. Most importantly, make sure to exhaust all ideas.
Need help in starting your business? Come to starterpad.com, here, you’ll be able to meet and greet with the world’s best startup specialists and see your business rise!