Yes! You Really Can Launch That Dream Start-Up Business
They say that all of us have a book in us, but it’s also true that we all have an idea. Nearly everyone will have at some point had an idea for a business, a product, an app, or a service. We all have ideas that we think could make money and maybe even positively impact the world. The problem is that we don’t have the know-how to make it happen or the time. Or the money. So, the question then is how you take that chance and how you build a business even if you don’t just so happen to have a ton of experience, financial backing, and all the right contacts. Let’s look at what you need to do…
1. Start Now!
The first thing to do is to start your business right now. Too many of us mistakenly assume that we must quit our current jobs and put all our resources, time, and effort into our businesses. It’s ‘all or nothing, and there’s no way you can start a business half-heartedly…
Except that’s not true. In fact, there’s no reason that you can’t start your business in the evenings and weekends. Even if you just start a ‘shell’ of your business, it’s better to test that the idea has legs before you invest a lot of time and money into it. Start a website in the evenings, and start buying and selling shirts in small quantities with a small budget. Just start now, and only once you know you can earn a full-time salary do you need to consider quitting your current job.
2. Start with a Great Idea
The first step in learning to start a business is to identify the problem and solution. This is because successful startups begin with business ideas that meet the needs of a group of customers by solving a problem they have.
Your idea doesn't always have to be new. You can update existing products or services in a way that is better for the consumer. Apple, for example, took Steve Jobs' original computer idea and developed an improved version better suited to the market. They also developed newer products like the iPhone and iPad, making them more valuable with each update. All of these innovations by Apple make them worth more than $1 billion.
3. Make a Plan
Having an idea is one thing but developing a legitimate business plan is another story. That's why it's important to do your research before jumping in headfirst and spending money on advertising or other promotional materials. A business plan will allow you to create a more realistic budget for your business and avoid potential future disasters.
You can create a business plan in as little as 10 steps.
1. Develop an executive summary
2. Write your company description
3. Summarize market research
4. Conduct competition analysis
5. Describe your service or products
6. Outline your marketing and sales strategy
7. Describe your business financials
8. Explain your organization and management
9. Clarify your funding request
10. Compile an appendix for official documents
Use these 10 steps to help your outline your business and secure funding for your business. I have also created a template to help the Cherished community with this process. Download your FREE template. Remember, a well-written plan can serve as a crucial foundation in the process of raising funds. It makes it easy for investors to understand what kind of entrepreneur you are.
Another reason many people hold themselves back from starting a dream business is that they don’t have the funds they believe they need. Suppose you’re planning on selling a product you invented, for example. In that case, you will probably assume that you need to invest in a large order (called the MOQ – Minimum Order Quantity) to start.
In fact, though, you can once again get by without doing that. One way around the problem is to start your business with two revenue streams, or maybe three. Find a way to begin raising capital through your other services or products. You invest in large bulk orders only once you’re making more money.
For instance, you might sell a hand-made product and use that money to invest in manufacturing!
Otherwise, you can also get funding in a range of other ways. How about Kickstarter? This way, you can generate funds from the web and not even need to give away any of your equity! Or how about a PayPal loan which won’t impact your credit score?
The moral of the story is that if you want to start a business, not having enough money is not enough of a reason to not start your business. If becoming an entrepreneur is something you really want to do, follow Nike and “just do it.” Get started now on your shoestring budget and reinvest your earnings back into your business.
5. Surround Yourself with the Right People
Savvy entrepreneurs know that being surrounded by the right people is important. Building a business will take much more than just you. It's impossible to know everything, especially when you are starting out on your journey.
Being an entrepreneur is about more than just your work; it's also about networking. By joining forces with other entrepreneurs, you can access their network of connections and capital. Whether through a mentor, colleague, or investor, you'll benefit from being part of a larger group. So, reach out to others in the community to help grow and expand your business.
6. Follow All the Legal Steps
Creating your startup can be a lot of fun. Still, before you officially enter the market, taking the proper legal steps is essential to ensure your company has the best chance of success.
From designing your product to set up your workspace, you'll want to consider all of the different legal requirements needed for your new business., including:
Apply for a business license
Register your company name
Get a federal tax ID number
Create a separate bank account
Familiar with industry regulations
Draft contracts for clients and others you wish to work with
7. Location, Location, Location
If your business idea requires a physical location, you will want to research the best potential site for your business during the market research phase. A commercial real estate agent will be an invaluable resource for you when it comes to this set of your launch. A good agent will help you understand the process of leasing or purchasing a location for your new enterprise.
As customers' habits change, so does the dynamics of marketing. Nowadays, many customers are turning to google for information about their products and company. It is crucial to have a digital presence and e-commerce website to target this new audience, even if your product or service is sold out of a physical location.
You can further increase your online presence by creating a blog. A blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. You can share your thoughts, ideas, and business-related content with people interested in your niche.
Introduce them to the fundamental concepts they need to know while providing the answers they're looking for. This can lead them to not only understand you but trust you and your company as well.
Once your website is up, you need to increase your digital presence. Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. The social platform you use will depend on your industry and product. LinkedIn will be ideal for you if you plan to sell business to business.
If you plan to sell clothes, the visual focus of Instagram would be your go-to platform. Each platform has its pros and cons; learn them and pick the platforms that make the most sense for you.
8. Get to Know your Customer
Connecting with your audience is easier when you have specific readers is a lot easier. A customer persona will help you better communicate your brand to customers, help you think about new marketing opportunities, and can be used to create content.
There are many ways to create a persona, but they all have one goal in mind: to better understand your patrons so you can better serve them.
Here is a checklist to help you with creating your buyers' persona:
1. Describe their personal demographics
2. Describe their educational background
3. Where do they live?
4. What does their job look like?
5. What does their home life look like?
6. What hobbies do they have, and what do they like to do outside work?
7. What problems does this person face that your product solves?
8. Why are the brands or celebrities?
Buyer personas represent the type of customer that gives you the most revenue. They are used to understand what drives people to make purchases. A buyer persona is created by deep diving into customers' behaviors and motivations, then combining them with demographic data.
Here are a few things to avoid and things to remember when creating a customer persona
1. Don’t create too many or too few buyers' personas
2. Keep in mind the negative personas
3. Remember, personas are not only for marketing purposes
4. Personas are only a generalization of your target customer
5. Focus on a realistic target audience and not an imaginary perfect person
6. Make sure to use research to back up your persona
Now that you have a good understanding of your buyer personas, it's time to create content that they want to read. This means working hard on your sales and marketing strategies to put your buyer persona's goals and challenges at the forefront of your business.
9. Develop a Marketing Plan
If you want to be successful, then marketing is essential. Marketing is an important investment for any startup. It can help you acquire new customers, increase the number of leads, and drive more revenue. The better your marketing skills are, the more successful your startup will be.
There are various ways to market your product or service, and it can be challenging to know which strategy will work best for you. Here are a few digital marketing strategies to consider:
Social media marketing (SMM)
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
Search engine marketing (SEM)
10. Plan to Change
The success of a startup can be linked to its ability to evolve with its market and industry. If you don't keep up with the latest trends, your business may fail.
Some strategies to make sure you're ready to adopt are:
Hire visionary thinkers to let you know your team is adaptable
Hear feedback from customers, suppliers, and others you work with
Stay informed about the latest trends in your industry
Remember, the companies that are ready to evolve with consumer expectations will establish themselves in the years to come.
It's crucial to take the necessary steps to safeguard your company and establish your brand when starting a new business venture. It's tempting to dive right in and see what you can make happen when you're starting a new venture. Your target audience faces a problem that your great idea solves. Now, start planning based on your excellent idea that solves a problem. Bootstrap your way to get things moving; it's fine to develop a business plan. Surround yourself with the right people and leverage your network. To begin your business, take the necessary legal steps. Establish your company's location based on your research. To succeed, you must adapt. To reach customers, develop a marketing strategy.
Are you interested in learning how to make sure your business has a solid foundation? Are you confused on how to grow your business and reach your ideal client? Sign up for my next free “Business 101” webinar.