Are you an aspiring entrepreneur who dreams of having more freedom in your schedule and living a more balanced life? Do you have a great business idea, but are nervous about taking the next step towards launching your business?
Making it Happen
Starting your own business is an exciting and rewarding journey, but it can also be a daunting one. It can feel like it's such a big undertaking that you're just not really sure where to start, and if you don't block out the time to make it happen, it will continue to be an idea that is yet to be realized.
1. Develop Your Idea
The first step in launching a business is developing a solid idea. Ask yourself what problems you can solve or what value you can add to your community. Consider your skills, interests, and passions, and brainstorm ideas that align with them.
Think about your target audience. Where do they spend a majority of their time? What are they frustrated with that you could provide a better solution to? How would they like their life to be?
Next, what can you do to differentiate yourself from existing competition? Is there a traditional way things are done that could be improved? Do you have a unique perspective that would be a refreshing take on things?
It's good to be excited about your idea, but it's also important that you think things through and do your research.
2. Conduct Market Research
Taking time to do your research will help you understand your industry, target market, and competition. Look for trends, customer needs, and gaps in the market. This information will be essential when developing your business plan.
Not sure where to start? Start typing in Google and see what it suggests. The search terms you see are what most people are searching for, so this will start to give you an idea of what the public wants to see.
Pay attention to the websites that come up for specific search terms. Are they easy to navigate? Do they make it clear what they offer and who it's for, or do you feel like you have to search to find the answers to your questions?
3. Create a Business Plan
Even if you're not planning to apply for a loan, a business plan is crucial! Without one, it will be difficult to stay focused and keep a balanced schedule. Life has a way of filling up your day if you don't have clear boundaries, or priorities in place, so make the time to create one!
What exactly is a business plan? A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals, strategies, and financial projections. If you're stuck, look for a template, or consider hiring a business consultant or mentor to help you.
4. Secure Resources
Starting a business requires time and money. There are many ways to secure funding. You can use your personal savings, apply for a small business loan, or seek investors. Research the different options available to you and determine what is the best fit for your business.
If you don't have the money to hire someone to help you, or pay for advertising, you're going to have to learn how to do it yourself. This is okay! It's good to learn (especially in the beginning) as much as you can, so when you are ready to hire someone, you have a good foundation and background.
Time management can actually be one of the trickiest steps for people because it requires boundaries and discipline. Motivation will come and go, but consistency is where progress and change will happen.
5. Register Your Business
Registering a business involves obtaining the necessary licenses and permits with the appropriate government agencies. Which you'll need depends on your industry, the type of business you wish to create, and where you're located.
If you're in the United States, every state is unique, so may want to consider hiring a lawyer or accountant to assist you with this process.
Once you have obtained these, you'll be able to setup an account for your business. This is definitely worth doing because it's important you keep your business and personal finances separate.
6. Set Up Your Business Infrastructure
This includes setting up your office or designating a set workspace, hiring employees or contractors, and establishing your branding and marketing strategy.
Your website and strategy for driving traffic to your website will have a huge impact on your business, but it takes time to create, execute and optimize it. You don't need to go crazy with it when you're first starting out.
It's better to make sure you have an online presence and people can easily find out what you do, who it's for, why they need it, why trust you, and what to do next if they want to learn more or work with you.
This can all be displayed on the homepage of your website, so if you're getting hung up on complex features or creating tons of pages, stop, and focus just on getting a 1 page website up. You can always add more later and optimize it once it's live!
7. Launch Your Business
Now that you have the essentials you need for your business, it's important that you keep the momentum going, and launch it!
It can be tempting to put the launch off while you "fine tune things," or if you feel like it's just not "perfect" yet, but you're actually doing yourself a disservice by delaying. Instead, focus on making progress and taking small steps each day to make it happen.
By taking this step and launching, you can start gaining valuable data and feedback from your target audience, which will help you optimize your efforts. Celebrate this milestone and take pride in all of the hard work you have put into it making it happen!