How to start a business and be successful. It’s the age-old question, isn’t it? Despite the plentiful resources on the topic, can you really guarantee success, or is it part hard work, part luck or all sheer grit and determination?
With around half of small businesses failing in the first few years, it seems there is a fair amount of luck, hard work, timing and tenacity involved in getting a business up and running and ensuring its success. Whether starting your own construction company or running a restaurant or clothing store, multiple factors will ultimately determine your success, and sadly, not all of them are under your control.
But there are some things you can control and do to ensure you are giving yourself the best head start for your new venture.
Frame of Mind
You need to be in the right frame of mind to be able to move forward. It’s very rare a business takes off instantly and is the product of overnight success; even if it seems that way, there have likely been years of dreaming, hard work, late nights and tears associated with the build-up to this moment.
You need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul and be consistent, determined and courageous because getting a new business off the ground will require some hard decisions and sacrifices on your part.
So write down your goals and what you want from your new business, and be prepared to give it your all because that is what it will take.
Create Your Business Idea
Starting your business is often touted as a way of doing something you love for a living; however, this is a somewhat overly simplistic view of what you need to be doing.
Your new business idea needs to be something you enjoy, or why else are you doing it? But it also needs to be something you are good at and is profitable, too.
If you have a vague idea in mind, ask yourself some questions to be sure this is the right decision for you, and you’re not doing something on a whim that you will hate before you gain any momentum.
Do you love it? Why do you love it? What do you hate to do? What are you good at? Why do you think you can start a business doing this? Do other people think you are good at this?
This can help you figure out if you should be turning your idea into a tangible business or walking away and trying something else.
Do You Need Training?
For some areas of expertise, you might need to gain some qualifications or head into further education to get what you need to support your business and give you extra credentials. Sometimes, it is not simply enough to be good at something or enjoy doing something. You need to be qualified, too.
Look into the qualifications you might need to get started and how long it will take you to gain them. This can help you to form a timeline of when you can expect to get your business up and running and give you a head start.
On top of this, it’s important that you gain as much additional knowledge as possible. This can be about the sector as a whole, what it takes to run a business, costs, legal obligations, tips and tricks to ensure you run properly, such as using this BuildOps glossary project for contractors so you can improve your skills and run your business efficiently. Another good option is to network in your industry, attend events, listen to expert speakers, and follow the latest news and trends so that you have all you need to know when the time comes.
Check Out Competition
Something you shouldn’t skip over is if there is any competition for what you plan on doing, what you will come up against and what will set you apart from the rest. In many cases, there will likely already be established businesses doing what you plan to do or similar. Still, you need to differentiate yourself and offer something that isn’t already being offered.
If you intend on asking for loans of funds to get started, then lenders will request this and know why you are different, the level of competition you will be facing and what you plan to do to establish yourself as a viable competitor to them.
You should first conduct primary research, which is data directly from customers, so you can learn exactly what consumers want. Next, you need to perform secondary research, which is using publicly available data to gather more information about your potential market, and then you need a SWOT analysis.
Create Your Business Plan
A business plan is instrumental in helping you flesh out your idea and identify and strengthen weaknesses, challenges, etc. before you get up and running. It can be as basic or detailed as you like, and the following points should be incorporated to help you bring your plan together.
- Executive summary
- Company structure
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Products or services
- Marketing Plan
Get A Business Mentor
Getting a business mentor at this point in the game can be a great idea to help you move forward and put your ideas into practice. They can help you to see the bigger picture, give you points and angles you might not have previously considered and support you in making the right decisions.
Business mentors are ideal for new businesses in the first few years of operation and prior as they have the knowledge and experience to know what needs doing and avoid major mistakes.
Name Your Business
At this point, if you have a name in mind for your business, you need to look at registering it to avoid others doing so before you, even if you don’t plan to start trading right now, you have it ready to go when you are.
Take some time to look for domain names matching the name you want to give your business, social media handles, etc., so you can create accounts with the right name or handles so they’re not too different from your company name. Take your time to look through your options, create social media accounts before the handles get taken and buy that domain name. This can avoid disappointment down the line.
Register Your Business
Next, you need to make your business a legal entity. You need to register it with the correct formation, which can be one of the following.
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company
- S Corporation
These each have different requirements, so it’s best to research them thoroughly to understand what they need and that you are happy with the structure before registering, as you cannot change it once you have committed to a specific one.
Once you have all of the above points in place, you need to look at funding your new business to get it up and running. You can self-fund the company to get up and running; you can get a business loan, look for grants to get up and run, use credit cards, find angel investors, crowdsource, or Kickstarter campaigns to get products created and generate money and a buzz before production.
Starting a business is an exciting time; however, before rushing into something you might regret, take your time and put these points into action to help get started on the right foot and give yourself the best possible chance of success.
Whatever life takes you, enjoy your life. Think positive, and be positive.
–Always look to the rising sky
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