People have always asked how they can well start a business of their own and bring it afloat. Starting a business is not an easy endeavor, but having a guide to take you through on what to expect is a great way to get some blocks off the road.
As starting a business and building it to stardom does not follow a typical model because every business is unique in its way, the steps listed below may not be orderly enough depending on the type of business, but it is a great eye-opener.
You don’t have to worry about dabbling around about starting a business of your own. Here are 15 steps to making your dreams of becoming an established entrepreneur a reality.
Inspiration and Passion
This is the first step to take towards starting a business. Most aspiring entrepreneurs are fuzzed with the challenge of choosing a business to start. You can start any business that inspires you. Not just being inspired though. If the idea of business drives you crazy and fills you up with passion, then maybe it’s about time you bring it out for the world to see.
Consider Sharing the Burdens
Yeah, being a sole founder of a business is cool. But you could consider getting on this journey with a trusted partner that shares a similar passion with you. Most times, co-founded companies do much better because the burden of starting a business is relatively heavy for one person to carry. This doesn’t mean that one person cannot handle it, but two good heads, they say, is better than one.
Developing Your Idea
This is where the underground works start; the foundation of the business starts from this stage. You need an idea that will sell. Many ideas are great, but not all will generate revenue, so you should come up with an idea. Conduct extensive market research to see what is already in the market and how your idea or similar ideas have been faring the broad market. After locating an opportunity in the market for your business, speak to a few trusted persons, and get them to critique your idea. Sometimes an idea may seem very nice to you (and your partner), but the public does not need it. To whom would you sell?
Focus on a Niche
This phase is what I call “Niching.” You can’t be everywhere in the market. Sometimes you may even need to find a more specific need to meet inside a small niche. After extensively researching your idea and the market, you should locate a particular niche which your idea would perform better and strategically secure a position in there. Focus on that position, no matter how attractive the other areas of the market may be.
Build a Business Plan
This part of the journey is very important. This is the most critical steps in starting a business. After researching the market in its entirety and niching down, building a well-structured business plan is the next go. It should clearly state what your business should look like and how you intend to achieve that. Do not forget the numbers; your business plan should contain every detail of the business as expected, including the cost of running the business, [the cost of production], what you will charge for your products or services, and your expected profit. Also, make plans for contingencies like a way to handle losses. Also included in the business plan should be the marketing strategy and sales plan.
Hire Advisors and Build an Advisory Board
Starting a business, you are as inexperienced as can be imagined, so getting a team of advisors in place to give inputs in different areas of the business is a wise thing to do. No matter how small the board of advisors may be, it should contain key experts who have acquired a high level of experience in their respective areas. For example, you may have a grey-haired HR expert to advise you on hiring processes and developing a company culture, and compensation plans, an operations expert and a financial expert are valuable members of an advisory board also.
Get the Legal Works in Place
It’s important you put all the papers in order and get have your business inside the government books. Your biggest threat is the government so, clear them out of filing out everything that’s needed. Register the business name, get a tax ID, and file for national, state and local taxes (as the case may be.) A legal advisor will be a valuable asset to the business at this stage.
Get Resources in Place
Source the capital and other resources that are needed to get the dice rolling. You can secure bank loans, breaking your savings out of the bank, and asking for aids from friends and trustees. Make sure you raise all the resources to a projected minimum before you set the boat on the sail. You don’t want to run out of gas in the middle of the sea.
Carefully Hire your First and Pivotal Employees
At this point, you need to get the ball rolling by hiring experts to fill key positions like operations, marketing, and sales. They must be willing to work with you on this with everything they’ve got. Do not be in a hurry to hire. Consult your HR expert for guidance in this case because laying off employees can be more challenging than bringing them into the team in the first place.
Create Test Samples and Start Hunting for Clients (Marketing)
A business shouldn’t go on the full throttle until you have secured at least one client. The earlier you get a client on your side, the better for the business. Create a test sample of your prospective clients to see what you are offering. Telling is not showing; show them what they will be paying for and always ask for their feedback and then work on making the final product “a bomb.” After that, spread the news like wildfire. Target those specific persons that your business is tailored for and hit them with the news of the presence of your business.
Build a Brand
In the current day in this competitive market, it is hard to be the only business offering your services or product. There would be other companies that are offering just the same thing as you. Find what makes you unique and build a brand around it. If it’s ultra-fast delivery, then build it. If it’s more beef in the roll (for sausage roll business) at less price; go ahead and build it. Make sure you are known for that uniqueness in such a way that others will find it hard to keep up when they try to copy your business.
Hire a few More Hands to Meet Demand
In this case, you must have seen how much of your services or products will be needed by your customers. Hire more hands to fill in this need and make sure that nothing is left hanging. Make sure everyone is working and driving towards the goal.
Map out your Values and Work Culture
Your employees spend a lot of time together. They spend more conscious time with each other than they do with their family. So, it is essential that you create a way of life within your work environment to keep everybody in a like-minded team. Objectively state out the values that the company will uphold at all cost and see that everybody is keeping to it. Build a culture around the workplace. More like an ideal way of doing things around the workplace.
Sales! Sales!! Sales!!!
Sell as much as you can to everyone that needs it. Build a marketing strategy; show your brand to everyone you can show it to. Own a website and build an online presence through digital marketing. This is very useful in the electronic world that we live in today. Take your brand to social media, generate leads, and create sales funnels.
Go out of your way to meet people, meet new people everywhere you go. The guy with the glass of champagne down the hallway may turn out to be your next biggest client. Also, join peer-to-peer groups where there are people that may be interested in your brand. Most of these group members are composed of business owners, vendors, and suppliers and the best clients and collaborators you can undoubtedly come across. While you network and meet new people, do not forget the old clients you have who are highly satisfied with your brand. That’s why it is called networking the first place, connect all of them all. Ask for referrals and recommendations from old, satisfied clients. They will be happy to tell others about your brand if they are pleased with it.
As mentioned earlier, these steps are not blueprints to successfully start a business because all good businesses are unique. Rather, keep these steps in mind and adjust them accordingly as events unfold.