Do you have your brilliant idea of a business you have been wanting to go after now for a long time or could it be an idea that simply popped into your head late last night that is impossible to set aside and ignore. However, you’ve come across your business idea. What now? How do you go about going forward to making this happen? Being I’ve tried and started many small businesses myself and helped others start their own I’ve decided to comply this starting list of things to consider when setting out to start your own business.
Depending on where you are coming from…jumping into your own business is a process that doesn’t happen over night. It takes weeks and months of preparing and putting together with many aspects you may not think of. It’s made up of process of trial and error and if done for the first time can be a major learning curve. However, if you have the drive and passion to propel yourself forward there is nothing that can say that you can’t make it happen. If fact if you have the will to make it happen and have made up in your mind right now that nothing will stop you and you’ll do what you need to not give up when things don’t go according to plan then you are at the very start of the road to success.
Here are some of the things you need to consider when moving forward.
1. Research. How much of a need is there for your product or service? Know your product or service inside and out…immerse yourself into it to the point it is now your obsession. Know your competitors and know how you can out shine in ways your competitors do not.
2. Name and Brand. This maybe something as simple as going with your own name to brand your product or service. However, if you are looking to create a store or a physical identity of a product name…your name may not fit. In which you’ll need to take time to brainstorm what will work. Keep it simple and make sure it’s clear and pertains directly to the product or service you plan on providing. If this isn’t your cup of tea it’s time to consider a professional involved such as a graphic artist. For those that may not be able to afford this…I will be creating a posts that goes into this in more detail on the process of how I was able to create several of the business names that I came up with as a Graphic Designer/Web Developer.
3. Budget. You will need to make a budget for your new found business. You will need a means to cover all costs and expenses. It is important that you take the time and list every single expense that you can think of that would occur in running a new business. Not just product and marketing costs but anything that it would take to run your business from the cost of a domain name, hosting, traveling expenses, office supplies, shipping and packaging costs, upgraded internet, equipment such as computers, printer and phones, and business licenses and business filing fees. There are benefits of course to these as these now become business write-offs come tax time as long as your business identity has been filed with your state.
4. Filed and Licensed. Make sure you have your business formed and filed through the state. Many of my businesses are either an LLP or LLC but I do have INC. Make sure you do your research before you decide how to file and form yours. If you do not know make sure to do your research on the differences of types of businesses that can be formed otherwise hire a business lawyer to draft and file a business identity for you. They will also be able to help you decide which form is best suited for your needs.
5. Business Plan. It is smart to have a business plan drafted not only in cases of need for potential investors or for application for loans for a bank but most for yourself. It will help give you a clear plan and deep understanding of who and what your business provides. It will also show your strengths and potential niche. It will also help you define who you are so that you are able to articulate exactly who you are when someone asks you who you are as a business.
6. Timeline and Marketing Plan. Both of these should be established with your business plan. These will help you set goals to follow and aim for. However don’t be discouraged when things do not go exactly as you have mapped out…it’s a part of business and it is just as important to know how to flex and adapt to situations that are unplanned as making them to start with.
7. Social Media. Get ready to get to know your social media platforms. If you don’t it’s going to be hard for anyone to take you seriously in today’s world if you don’t have a strong Social Medial platform. It isn’t to say businesses do not succeed without them but you will most definitely loose a huge marketing audience by not having one setup.
8. Website and Domain Name. There are several people that take social media as their only online means to connect to their clients thinking it is enough. However, to be established and taken seriously there should be no excuse as to not having your own website and domain name. Both should work together creating a complete marketing platform, each designed with a separate purpose but never one without the other as they work together to build your client base.
9. Know the PROBLEM you are solving. Be clear as to what you are solving for your clients. Being able to Solve the problem is what will be the key to being able to sell your service or product with ease.
10. Time. Make sure you recognize businesses and business success do not happen over night. There is a LOT of work ahead of you but being able to break it down into manageable parts…you will get there. Be prepared to spend long hard hours creating your business but know that it won’t be done in vain. At the end of the day you will be able to look back and see and appreciate how far you have gone. Remember it’s not a race…it’s about being able to keep moving forward at all times even when things look to be at a stand still. It’s in those moments that you recollect and figure out how to propel forward.
11. Balance. Know you will have long days ahead and times that will be taking you away from family and friends. However, it is critical that you take the time away from your work to spend time for yourself and loved ones. The fastest way to lose your passion for what you are doing is to get burned out before you find the first sign of real success.
12. Taxes and Finances. Make sure you have an EIN set up and all forms that you need for taxes. If you need help in this area make sure you have a proper accountant to be able to help set you up. Last thing you want to do is have to pay unexpected taxes and fees because you didn’t take the time to learn what you needed from the start. Also make sure you open a separate business account, card and online transaction account to be able to take forms of payment such as PayPal. If you are looking to open an account through a Bank then you will need proof of your filed and formed business through the state and also an EIN number. An EIN can be done online and received immediately. It is essentially your business social security number, a way to be identified by the IRS.
13. Problem solving. Know there will be plenty of hiccups along the way. You are going to come across problems that will feel at times huge setbacks and times where you may even feel you want to give up. Know that failure only happens when you decide to give into it. Any other time they are simply hiccups to overcome. Success will come if you decide you will never give up on making it happen. If there is a will there is a way. Sounds simple enough but I feel that every success story has that the story-line because it’s true.
14. Know your limitations. Know you’re only one person. You can’t be great at all aspects of your business. Know your strong points as well as your weaknesses. Spend your time on what you do well and put yourself in a position to place others in the areas that are not your strong points. For example payroll and bookkeeping maybe needed to be set onto someone else, social media to a social media specialist, website to a web designer, so on and so forth.
15. Grow your knowledge. Every aspect of your business can be learned. It’s a matter of having the drive and discipline to setting yourself up to learn how. The internet is vast in what it can teach you…often FREE if you only take the time to search it out. Constantly teach yourself something new…grow and expand your knowledge to succeed.
16. Identify and overcome your limitations. This really falls under problem solving. However, identifying your limitations can often come in a form of your excuses you come up with as to why you are not where you want to be in your business. Things could be. I don’t have enough time. I don’t know how to run a business online. I’m a mom and my kids come first. I don’t have a financial means to move forwards. I don’t know how to go about making something happen. My passion is supersaturated and I can’t compete. What are you excuses and reasoning as to why your aren’t where you want to be…identify them now sit and brainstorm how to overcome these exact issues. Don’t have enough time…how do you make time. Work nights, evenings, work early in the morning and go to bed earlier. If you’re a mom can you have a friend or family help out to watch kiddos…what are things you can do to afford a baby sitter or nanny. If you don’t have the financial means how much money do you need…can you sell things around the house? Can you pick up a part time job? Can you get an investor involved? I don’t know what I need to make it happen…how do I gain the knowledge? Search online, books, go back to school, find an expert to find out more? My field is over-saturated…to me it would say that there is a good demand for this…how do make it so I stand out…how can I provide something more than my competitors?
As you can see…there are always solutions and answers it’s only a matter of how far you are willing to go to find a solution, stick with it and make it happen to overcome what you are facing currently. The success stories you hear have these kinds of things to overcome and guess what they ALWAYS found a work around and followed through with them.
17. When to know to throw in the towel. I hope that there is never that point that comes about…but some times there are points in our life that things were not meant to be. Only to open us up to new opportunities. It could simply be that the one thing you thought was your thing to succeed at, was merely a stepping stone to the next bigger and bright thing. As long as you take from it as a gain and not a fail…you’re walking away better off then you were ever not trying to begin with.