Nothing is more liberating than being able to make a living with something you are genuinely passionate about, something which gives you a sense of fulfillment. This is generally accomplished when you decide to start your own business.
However, the path to “becoming your own boss” isn’t easy and there are many challenges that you must be willing to overcome. That said, if you are committed, then you can make it happen.
8 Steps for Starting a Business
To start a successful business, take the following steps:
1. Brainstorming Ideas
Before you get to your “Eureka” moment, there will be numerous business ideas that will be, let’s say, “impractical” or “unviable”. However, that’s part of the fun, and for your help, the following are some of the ways you can come up with some of the best business ideas:
- Solving a problem: Some of the largest businesses today emerged from the desire of solving a problem. For instance, Sara Blakely came up with an affordable and better solution for making a woman look attractive with better body shapers, and launched Spanx. So, just how she got Spanx started, and eventually became a billionaire, you can start a successful business of your own by finding the solution to a common problem.
- Using your skills: If you already have a talent for something, then why not use it to make money? For instance, if you are good with woodwork, then you start a furniture business. Similarly, if you have a knack for graphic design, then you can offer your services across the globe by setting up an online business.
- Taking a foreign trip: Can it be possible for you to be productive when you’re on a vacation? The answer is “yes”. This is because you can draw inspiration from the products and services that are available in a foreign country but haven’t made it to your home country yet. In other words, you can take the first mover advantage and create a successful business in a space that has no competition today.
2. Creating a Business Plan
The lack of a detailed business plan is a recipe for disaster. When you don’t know have tangible goals and the numbers, you are likely to be clueless about your finances, your HR requirements, revenue projections, debt, marketing strategy, etc. So, take your time if you have to, but do create a solid business plan that comprises the following:
- Description of your company and the products you want to focus on
- Description of how your products are different than your rivals
- Details of your “dream team” including their skills and qualifications
- Revenue projections and a cash flow statement to assess your financial requirements
- Your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and threats from your rivals and market conditions
- Marketing strategy
3. Arranging the Funds
Very few entrepreneurs are lucky enough to have enough savings of their own to start a new business. Most of them have to raise funds through other means. So, if you are also a part of the majority, then the following are some of the most viable options that you can consider:
- Business loan: If you have good credit, then you can get a business loan from your bank easily. However, be prepared to pay a high interest rate as most business loans aren’t cheap.
- Angel investors: Angel investors are affluent individuals who invest in businesses in an informal setup in exchange for ownership equity. So, in this option, you don’t have to repay the loan but part away with a portion of your company’s equity, something you may or may not be comfortable with.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a popular form of fund-raising which can do wonders for your business if you are selling a product or service that has the potential to attracts a large number of people. In this, you just create an account on a popular crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter and launch a campaign for your business. You can then collect money from hundreds of thousands of people who are interested in your products.
If you are not able to arrange the full investment for your business, then you can also cut some costs to make it work. It can also be a good idea to read some money tips for small business owners.
4. Registering a Legal Entity
Different countries have different procedures for setting up a new business. For instance, in the US an entrepreneur can register their business as an LLC (Limited Liability Corporations) by following these steps:
- Select a state where the headquarters of the business is located
- Designate a registered agent (if you are running the business from outside the US)
- File your articles of organization
- Get your EIN (Employer Identification Number)
For this step, you will need to do thorough researching on your end so that you don’t end up violating any laws or regulations. You may also want to consult an advocate for this.
5. Getting Your Supply Chain in Place
Supply chain is the collection of processes involved in the manufacturing and distribution of commodities, and it’s easily one of the most important aspects of your business.
Before you launch a business, you must learn the basics about supply chain management and take a few factors into consideration which include inventory management, demand forecast, orders fulfillment and delivery, etc.
The good news is that there are all kinds of apps and services on the Internet that can help you with these tasks. If you are selling your products on an existing eCommerce store, then you job will be even easier.
6. Building a Professional Website
If you run a business, then you must have a website. There is no way around it. Also, you should not assume that a social media account or makeshift free website on a blogging platform (WordPress or Blogger, etc.) counts as the real deal. No, you need a proper business website that has a .com or .net extension. You also need to make sure that it has high-quality images and all the important web pages including:
- About us
- What we do
- Our services
- Contact us
- Terms and Conditions
You can easily create a premium website yourself by using a comprehensive and reliable website builder. Just remember, that the best website builders are affordable, user-friendly, and offer a wide range of design templates complete with customization options.
7. Developing the Brand Identity
Setting up a business from scratch isn’t easy. However, all your efforts can go in vain if you overlook branding. This is because branding gives an identity to your business and helps in showing to the public why you are different than other businesses.
That said, it isn’t as challenging or expensive as you may think. For starters, to create a professional and high-quality company logo, you can use logo makers, there are some great ones.
You can even invest in a premium branding suite that can meet all your branding requirements including company logo, social media banners, business cards, presentation slides, etc.
8. Advertisement and Promotion
Now that your business is ready with a fresh website and a powerful brand, it’s time to spread the word around. Depending on your marketing budget, there are various options that you can consider, which are:
- Social media marketing: This form of marketing is practically free if you decide to do it yourself. All you have to do is set up social media accounts for your business on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and start sharing interesting/informative posts and images. You can also join appropriate communities and groups to connect with your leads and market your services, although you may want to keep it subtle.
- Influencer marketing: This is also a type of social media marketing, only in this, it’s the top social media users that do the marketing for you. These social media “celebrities” are called influencers, and they have a huge fan-base. So, you can strike a deal with some of them and ask them to promote your products in exchange for free merchandise or money.
- Blogging: You should seriously consider setting up a blog as it has many benefits. For starters, it’s the most effective way to attract organic traffic for your website. People looking for information about the products that you are offering can find you easily through search engines if you have a blog. Furthermore, it can help you to explain the various features and benefits of your products in an elaborate manner.
Author: Kapil Sharma