Want to start your first business and don’t know where to begin? It can be a daunting prospect when trying to launch a new venture, taking it from an idea to reality. However, this is a simple misconception: starting a business is relatively simple. In this article, we’ll explore 5 simple steps to start your business, including:
- Finding a Viable Business Idea
- Creating a Business Plan
- Officially Registering Your Business
- Getting to Work
- Marketing Your Business
Step #1: Get a Viable Business Idea
The first step to starting a business is coming up with an idea for products and services that consumers will purchase. Not all business ideas are created equal and you’ll need to think about how you can reach people and arouse their interest in what you have to offer.
You’ll want to visualize potential successes and difficulties, judging whether it makes sense. For instance, you may have an interest in selling handmade home goods. That may be all well and good, but who will make them? Who will buy them? How will you sell them? Where will you sell them? Are there any competitors that already doing this cheaper or better than you can? By asking these questions and others, you can refine your business idea to make it more viable to the general public.
There’s also a danger of ignoring the viability of an idea, instead plowing ahead and hoping it catches on. While this may seem like a “build it and they will come” mentality, more often than not, those troubles you ignored will end up costing you down the road – especially when you’ve invested time, money, and effort only to have your idea proven wrong. Worse, you may be susceptible to the “sunk cost fallacy,” where the more you invest in an idea, the more you are less willing to give it up.
In short, be realistic.
Step #2: Create a Business Plan
Once you’ve conceptualized your idea to some extent, it’s time to create a business plan. A business plan formally outlines the who, what, where, when, and why of your business. Business plans are a great tool to further craft your business while also weeding out potential roadblocks and discovering opportunities along the way. Business plans are also used to find investors for your business idea.
A business plan comes in a variety of forms, but can be boiled down to 7 essential components:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Products & Services
- Market Analysis
- Strategy and Implementation
- Organization and Management Team
- Financial Plan and Projections
Step #3: Officially Register Your Business
Now that your idea is on paper, it’s time to take it from a concept to an actual entity. In order to operate in most countries, you’ll need to register your business with a local and federal governing body. This declares your intent to the government, enabling your business to access licenses and permits to run a business.
Most new businesses fall under the LLC (limited liability company) distinction, as this minimizes your losses should your business fail. You’ll typically fill out a series of forms and pay the requisite fees. Once completed, your business is now official!
Step #4: Get to Work
Now that your business is recognized by the government, it can legally operate and transact with customers. Of course, now’s where the elbow grease comes in.
Depending on your business model, you’ll want to lease a physical location or get a hosted website. You’ll also want to be able to communicate with customers, either by email or virtual phone numbers.
At this juncture, it’s important to realize that every business runs differently – even those with a similar business structure. Take a look at how other successful businesses operate and try to mimic those that have endured. Also, be aware that the initial business idea that you started with will evolve and shift as you become more familiar with your customers’ needs. There will always be a need to change your approach as you become aware of customer needs, complications, and potential opportunities.
Step #5: Market Your Business
If no one is aware of your business’ products and services, how can you expect them to patronize your company? Marketing is a vast subject and encompasses many forms; this is a great guide for new businesses that want to advertise on a shoe-string budget. You’ll want to take advantage of every point of contact with customers. This can mean:
- Setting up an automated phone directory (available from a service provider like United World Telecom)
- Running an Instagram-based ad campaign to new customers
- Email campaigns
- PPC (Pay-per-click)
- And more.
In conclusion, these five steps will help get you on the path to starting your first business. They are easy to follow and they offer actionable things you can do to get your business off the ground. If you didn’t know where to begin before, hopefully, these steps will provide the blueprint you need.
Author Name: Tom Senkus
Author Biography – Tom Senkus is an entrepreneur and writer that shares his knowledge for startups, small business owners, and those new to selling their products/services. His work has been featured in over 100 hundred publications. See more at www.tomsenkuswriter.com