The 8 Important Steps to Starting a Small Business
More and more people dream of starting their own business. Thanks to the Internet and the rise of other new technology that makes starting and running a business easier, that dream has never been more achievable than it is now. Running a business can even offer more job security than a traditional job because of changes in the modern workforce. It can offer ultimate freedom.
However, running a business is difficult. In many ways, keeping a new business afloat in the modern age is even harder due to the difficulty in getting noticed among competitors, especially online. It requires a lot of hard work, inspiration and considerable amounts of planning. Perhaps most importantly, a willingness to change and adapt must be shown for any company to see long-term success. Anyone looking to start a new business should follow these eight steps to have the greatest chance of success.
The Eight Important Steps to Starting a Small Business
- Self Introspection
- Perform Market Research
- Write A Business Plan
- Secure Financing
- Develop A Product Or Service
- Consult A Business Attorney
- Build A Team
- Market The Business
These Eight Steps Explained
Self introspection is the first, and in many ways most important, step. Aspiring business owners need to understand the commitments of entrepreneurship and really evaluate if they have what it takes to run a company that will succeed. Entrepreneurship is difficult. Small business owners are often tasked with doing much of a company's operations on their own, from accounting to marketing to interacting with clients, in addition to developing a product or providing a service. They also need to be conscious of their families and their financial situations before striking out.
Performing market research is the next step. New business owners need to have a product or service to sell, and they have to do something different that will help them stand out from their competitors. Finding a niche is important, as is providing products or services that offer additional value to customers. Ensure a product idea is viable by performing market research before getting too far into the process. Entrepreneurs can tweak their first idea based on what they uncover.
The next step is writing a business plan. All businesses should have a business plan, as it provides a key blueprint for the company, including its managerial structure, the product or service it provides and more. A business plan is also crucial to the next step, because most lenders will not give out business loans unless the entrepreneur provides a viable business plan. There are plenty of samples and information on drafting a solid business plan online.
Financing may not be required for all types of businesses. For example, small freelancing operations that require little to no startup costs likely will not need financing. However, most new companies will need some level of financing to get started. Financing can be obtained in a number of ways, including from family members, banks or other lending institutions.
Now the product or service can actually be developed. Before going into business, it is important for new owners to ensure they have the skills and experience necessary to develop the product or provide the service they wish to sell. This can include taking classes, practicing their craft by freelancing or professionally improving in other ways. It is possible to start and run a successful business without prior experience, but previous relevant experience does not hurt.
A qualified and experienced business attorney should be consulted to ensure the business is set up correctly. There are a number of corporate organizational structures that can be complex to understand. A business attorney can walk new owners through the steps of setting up their business legally as well as provide them advice for which structure would best serve their business. Choosing the right structure is important because it determines tax burdens and other requirements. It is also important to make sure the business is properly registered in the country, state and municipality in which it will operate.
Even small businesses that are sole proprietorships or partnerships need a team of professionals on which they can rely. This can include graphic design professionals to create business graphics such as logos, websites, marketing materials and more. Other key professionals that can be outsourced include customer service, content writing, software or app development, IT support and more. It is important not to hire in-house employees until absolutely necessary. Businesses that do plan to hire employees need to start by building a strong team of executives. Marketing managers and Chief Financial Officers are popular choices for early executive hires.
Lastly, new businesses need a solid marketing plan and marketing budget. Marketing is necessary for small businesses. Not all marketing costs obscene amounts of advertising dollars either. There are plenty of marketing methods that are highly effective but don't cost anything at all, such as having good customer service so customers want to come back, content marketing online, focusing on word-of-mouth marketing and more. Once a business has been properly set up and marketed, customers will start coming.