Starting a Business: 10 Steps to Success
Starting a new business can be an exciting, but daunting experience. Many people have great new business ideas that never see the light of day because they do not follow the correct steps to make their vision a reality.
If you have ever dreamed of leaving your day job to pursue your business idea, it helps to plan. This article covers some of the essential steps to starting your own business.
1. Perform Market Research
While a business idea may seem like the next big thing, it may just be doomed to fail if it does not have a place in the market. Therefore, it is essential to conduct market research before embarking on a business plan to determine whether your idea is relevant in the real world.
Suppose you have a great idea, but the market is already saturated with no actual room for any unique or different approach. In that case, it may be vital to go back to the drawing board and consider another idea.
It is essential to determine who your target market is, why your product or service is suitable for the target market, and whether your target market already receives this service or product from a competitor when conducting your market research.
Other factors to consider are:
The demographics – Is your product or service limited to a particular group of people?
Location – Where do you intend to supply your product or service, and how many people can you potentially reach in that area? Is there room for expansion?
Competition – What do your competitors charge for their product or service?
Relevance – Is your product or service relevant, or can it easily be replaced by something more innovative?
Your competitive advantage – What do you offer that your competitors do not?
2. Draw Up a Business Plan
Business plans help you define your business, its products or services, goals, and how you intend to run it. An initial business plan can give you a general idea of what you can expect from your business and does not need to be too detailed.
Include a basic vision and mission section where you detail your present and future goals. In the mission section, you can specify your target market and how you intend to reach them. Next, determine what your pricing strategy is, keeping in mind how your competitors currently operate.
You can also address your marketing strategy as part of your business plan to determine how to get the word out about your new venture. Additionally, it can be helpful to include a plan of action to break up your objectives into achievable steps.
3. Draw Up a Budget
Obtaining finance is one of the most critical aspects of launching a business. Begin by determining how much capital investment you require. A one-year budget must be included as part of your business strategy. Include all anticipated expenses in a spreadsheet or budget tool, including your overhead, manufacturing, and marketing expenses.
A break-even analysis is one technique that can help you determine how much capital you may need. It can help you figure out how to price your product or service to earn a profit. Well-qualified entrepreneurs can also qualify for start-up funding.
4. Design Prototypes and Obtain Feedback
Designing your product is the next step. Depending on what your product is, you may need to enlist the help of engineers, designers, or developers to help you get a prototype. Once you have developed your first prototype and are happy with it, the next step is to test it.
Ideally, members of your target market must perform the prototype test, so you can determine whether it is effective. Get as many people to test your prototype as possible, so you can tell whether people are happy with it and can determine what needs to be changed or fixed.
5. Come Up with a Brand Identity
The truth is that branded businesses sell, so devising a clever, eye-catching branding for your business can make a world of difference. If your budget allows, you can hire a professional to develop a brand for you.
A marketing company can help develop your brand logo and set up your website in a way that helps you rank well on Google searches, which can help get your business booming in your first year of operation.
6. Find a Place to Start Your Business
If you need to manufacture products, you may need to locate a factory space to house your manufacturing operation. Be sure to consult your budget while looking for a place, as exceeding your costs can impact your overhead costs, and ultimately your competitive edge.
7. Gather the Equipment
Next, you must source and obtain the equipment you need to get your business up and running. This can be cleaning supplies for a cleaning business or heavy machinery for a production line.
8. Begin Production
If you are a production business, your next step is to begin producing the goods you intend to sell. Concerning service-related companies, in this step, you can start offering demos for prospective clients and building up your list of potential clients.
This step may also include training your staff to conduct a particular service or attending training yourself if you intend to run the business independently.
9. Focus on Getting the Word Out
Once you are confident that you can provide outstanding service or have produced a product that your target market has shown interest in, it is time to begin marketing and advertising your product or service.
This can be done through a range of channels, including online marketing through social media and Google ads, and traditional methods, such as handing out flyers, putting up posters, and hosting events.
10. Get Business Insurance
When your business is up and running, it is advisable to purchase business insurance. This is an important step that safeguards your resources, such as intellectual and financial assets, against unforeseen events like theft, property damage, and customer lawsuits.
While most small businesses may get by with general liability coverage, those who employ staff also require additional unemployment and workers' compensation insurance. If something terrible happens while you are delivering professional services, professional liability insurance has you covered.
Becoming your own boss is possible. With the right plan and goals in place, you are sure to have your own business up and running in no time. If you are starting your own business, follow these 10 steps to success to help you achieve your entrepreneurial dreams.
If you are in need of start-up funding call us today and a loan consultant will pre-qualify you over the phone or if you are ready to get started you can apply online and get a response in less than 24 hours.