If you’ve considered starting a small business, you’re in great company. The Small Business Association estimates that over 627,000 new businesses open each year!
Of course, not all of those businesses will rise to the top, and the crowded marketplace can make it hard to stand out with customers. So if you have a business idea burning in your back pocket, where should you start?
Starting a business can be a complex process, but no matter where your idea is leading you, there are a few basic steps you’ll need to follow for success.
1. Research Your Market
Begin by studying your target market and audience. Sift through keywords related to your industry, try to find what’s working for similar services or competitors, and learn all you can about the people you’re serving. Don’t get discouraged if it seems like a crowded marketplace––narrowing your scope down to a specific niche can help, and a crowd tells you your idea is viable.
2. Evaluate Your Idea
Before you jump in, you’ll need to do market research to evaluate your product or service. You can work with a firm that specializes in this kind of work or you can do the research yourself. This will involve asking for a lot of feedback, so be prepared to handle criticism and to make changes to your business idea.
3. Create a Business Plan
No one starts their own business to deal with reams of paperwork, but a business plan is a critical part of any successful start-up. Think of it as a blueprint or map that tells you what you currently have and where you plan to go. You’ll need to create an executive summary, write your market evaluation and strategies, and create an operational plan.
4. Decide On Your Business Structure
This can feel a little overwhelming if you don’t have a legal background, and you may want to reach out to your attorney or accountant if you need help choosing. For many small businesses, a sole proprietorship may be all you need, but the choice can be complicated by your business idea, the number of founders, and more. Don’t forget to register your new entity and to get a business and state sales tax license!
5. Get Funding
If you’re selling a physical product or need a team at your side, you may need to get funding to cover your first year of operations. You’ll have many options to choose from, including self-funding (“bootstrapping”), small business loans, crowdfunding, and angel investors.
6. Launch Your Product or Service
There’s no better time to start than now. Many entrepreneurs waste time by tweaking the minutiae or trying to make things “perfect.” Instead, successful businesses often launch, focus on getting sales and attracting leads, and improve as they go. Your business will always be improving throughout its lifespan, but those improvements can only take shape once you get started.
If you’re on the verge of launching a new business, you already know how overwhelming it can be. If you’re looking for support, take your business to the next level by connecting with us! We offer exclusive members-only events, opportunities to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, and much more—so get started today!