Entrepreneurship is a whole lot of work. So many things to develop like your vision, mission, processes, strategies, business model, structure, workflow, operations, and the rest. Even the legal side of the business and developing your strategies can seem overwhelming. And so, having the right mindset before you begin your journey, and putting in the work required will make you a successful business person.
Now, we are not trying to put fear into you. We want you to understand that the hustle is real so you are prepped up for success. Be ready to invest time and energy in building an enduring company. Get set to face your fears and take courageous action. Lastly, your business will take time before it hits the limelight. Though you will experience a few setbacks, we want you to know you can succeed.
In case you’re wondering; how do I start a business? Should I work on my company name, logo or business structure? Does it make sense to start applying for loans or focus on product development?
Knowing the first step to take can be difficult. But you don’t have to worry. Starting your own venture is all about working through the process to find what works for you and what resonates with potential customers. But rather than feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions and tasks you have at hand, there are steps you can take to kickstart the development of your business. Let’s get started.
Step #1: Find Out if Entrepreneurship is really what you want
Many potential entrepreneurs never take the time to evaluate themselves or their situation. Before diving into the details of your business, ask the following questions;
• Why do I want to start this business? Is it about money, freedom, or I just want to solve a specific problem for potential customers?
• What skills have I developed?
• What do I know about the industry I’m venturing into?
• Am I providing a service or selling a product?
• What am I good at?
• How much capital am I willing to risk?
• Will this be a full-time business where I am required to quit my job, or am I doing it as a side hustle?
Answering these types of questions will help you narrow your focus. It should get you thinking ahead and planning. If your goal is you build a successful business, then you need more than Passion. You need to plan, set goals, and above all, know yourself – your Strength and Weakness.
Step #2: Refine Your Idea
You need to develop your idea. That is, the product or service you want to offer in the marketplace. Developing your idea means that you confirm whether or not there is a need for your product or service in the marketplace. You also need to establish whether or not this idea is sustainable.
Step #3: Conduct Market Research
Once you are certain that your business fits your ideal lifestyle and ambitions, by way of market research, answer the following questions;
• Who will buy my product or service?
• Who are my competitors?
This process will help you address your opportunity, value proposition, market size, and competition. Take this a little further by examining whether the customer needs are currently being met by your competitors. Study your competitors as much as you can. Find out the value they are offering, how they attract customers, and whether or not they are happy. With this level of insight, you are well-armed to get started.
Step #4: Develop Your Business plan
Your Business plan is a roadmap for success. It will help you chart your progress because the document contains the things you need to do in order to reach your goals.
A Business plan is important if you would like to source for capital in the future. Even if you are going to finance the venture yourself, it will help you figure out how much money you will need to get started. It will help you determine whether or not your business is profitable. It will help you know what needs to get done when, and where you are headed.
While you might use your business plan as part of your pitch to investors and banks, and to attract potential partners and board members, you will primarily use it to define your strategy, tactics, and specific activities for execution, including key milestones, deadlines, and budgets, and cash flow.
Step #5: Make your Business a Legal Entity
Even after you have registered your venture you still need to know the pros and cons of different business entities. You need a lawyer who will help you get the proper licenses and permits. There are different types of regulations depending on the nature of your business.
Find out what Sole proprietorship, Partnership, or a Limited Liability Company means. You might think this process will cost a lot of money but it is worth it. You don’t want your personal identity or reputation to be affected if something goes wrong.
As you get started, your business will likely dominate your life. You want to make sure your idea is stimulating and challenging, but not completely outside of your expertise. You’re going to be in it for the long-haul. Use what you learn from Step 1 to really assess what you want your life to be like, not just what you want from your business. Some good questions to ask yourself are:
- What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?
- Is money really important? Or rather, is making a lot of it really important? If it is, you’re probably going to be cutting out a number of options.
- What really matters to you?
- Do you have the support of your family, especially your immediate family? They may have to make sacrifices at the beginning, so it’s important to have them behind you.
- Who do you admire in business? Maybe there’s even someone in the industry you’d like to go into. Why do you admire them? What are their likeable traits? What can you learn from them?
Answering these questions (and many more) about yourself and your abilities isn’t necessarily going to ensure you’re successful, but it will get you thinking about your goals and about what motivates and inspires you. Use this time to make sure that you are matching the business you want to start to your personal aspirations.