Most adults spend the majority of their day-to-day life at work, traveling to work, or thinking about work-related things. It’s unfortunate but true. For this reason, it’s essential to try and do a job that you love, working with people you respect, and with a work-life balance that suits your lifestyle.
However, for many people, waiting around for the perfect job simply isn’t an option. There are bills to pay, after all.
But then, all isn’t lost. If your dream job just isn’t out there, why not create it for yourself? You may want to start part time and convert it into a full time business.
Starting your own business is a tough, but rewarding way to spend your time doing exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it. It takes time to give a new business a solid foundation and get it operating securely, but it will be worth it in the long run.
That said, knowing where to start is crucial. It’s not something you can just rush into and hope for the best. You have to do your research and make sure your business idea is viable before you start, and then make sure you’re running your business correctly and in compliance with state and federal law.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you navigate the minefield – setting up a new business. Read on!
Get Financially Solvent
The first thing you should do after deciding to start a business is to make sure your personal finances are in good shape. This is important as starting a business is a substantial financial risk, and if you’re in a less than the ideal financial situation, things can go south fast.
You’ll also need stable personal finances if you’re looking to secure a start-up loan. Banks and lenders want to minimize their risk by lending to people they think are financially responsible. You’ll also need a killer business plan to be sure of getting a loan – more on that later.
Join Our Small Business Community
Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.
Know Why You’re Doing It
What kind of business do you want to set up? Why? Do you have the ability to make it happen?
You need to ensure that your business idea works well with your skill set. While most new business owners will find themselves on a very steep learning curve, and that’s completely natural, you do need to have at least some compatible existing skills.
You might be super-creative, or incredibly organized, or have a fantastic head for figures. Whatever it is, make sure you know how to maximize it for business success.
You should also set out the specific goals of your business. Why are you setting it up? What do you want to achieve? This will help you narrow your focus to business ideas that will help you achieve these goals. Be honest with yourself. Even if your reasons aren’t the most honorable (such as just wanting to make money), you need to be open about what they are or it won’t work.
Most people will have multiple reasons for wanting to start a business, but it’s easy to run into trouble if those reasons conflict with each other. For example, if you want to do something relatively niche that’s likely to remain small-scale, but you also want to make a ton of money, you may need to decide which goal is more necessary before proceeding.
Make Yourself Unique
Your business doesn’t have to be brand-new, innovative, or doing something that has never been done before – not many companies do. However, it does need to stand out in its industry, for whatever reason, whether that’s geography, price, product, or something else entirely.
The things that make your business unique are the reasons why customers will go with you instead of a competitor. Make the most of them.
Know Your Weaknesses
As mentioned a little earlier, most new business owners will have to learn a lot in a short span of time. However, that doesn’t mean that you can, or should, do every single role your business needs. Even if you’re strapped for cash, it’s essential to understand your shortcomings and know when to hire or outsource.
You know that saying that you should always hire people who are better than you. It’s completely accurate. Surround yourself with a team of superstars, and you’re much more likely to see long-term success. Pay particular attention to critical roles. You should also look into local resources for start-ups, such as mentors and peer-to-peer support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a sure-fire road to failure.
Invest in Marketing
When starting a business, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to invest in marketing. However, be strategic. Don’t just throw money at what you think you should do. Spend smartly and really consider which marketing ideas will work for what your business is and needs. Let’s illustrate this point with an example.
Say that your business provides vinyl printing for outdoor events, like https://www.craftsmenind.com/custom-vinyl-graphics. The best place to market your company is at trade fairs, or other similar events, or even by placing branded vinyl (with permission) around your local area. You may also want to produce flyers and a website is essential, but for this kind of business industry, visibility and word of mouth is vital.
Alternatively, if your business is an accountancy firm, you want to make sure you’re seen in places such as the local newspaper, or local classifieds, or the foyers of related offices. Think about it, and spend your marketing budget wisely. If not, you may as well just throw your money away.
Care About Your Customers
Your business isn’t worth anything without customers. You need sales to keep the company going and grow the business to the point of being able to expand, hire more staff, and increase your customer base. You can do this by always putting the customer first, no matter how busy you are or how much you want to prioritize other things. Your reputation could take years to build, and be washed away in what feels like a split second if your customer service standards falter.