Starting a small business is a big step.
Despite small business owners’ numerous sacrifices and challenges, an overwhelming 84 per cent would do it all over again.
If you’re thinking about starting a business, to follow are some important steps you should take first.
Here are the top ten things you should do before starting a business
1. Create a powerful message
What customer issue are you resolving for which potential customers are willing to pay? This is commonly referred to as the value proposition.
Also, why will your company be financially and operationally successful?
2. Concentrate on the customer and fully comprehend the market
There are numerous examples of companies that do not have the best product or service, and are not the first to market but are extremely successful due to their mastery of startup marketing and sales.
Investigate the demographics of your potential customer base and learn about their purchasing habits.
Examine competitors, speak with similar businesses, browse their websites, and learn what their customers are saying about them on social media.
3. Begin small and expand
If possible, self-fund your business idea and seek funding once you have a growth story. This may prompt you to divide your product/service offering into smaller pieces to fund the early stages and gain traction and experience.
Use this advice to figure out how much cash your small business needs.
4. Recognise your own strengths, skills, and time constraints
Know when to hire an accountant, lawyer, insurance agent, marketing specialist, web page designer, or other professional when running a business. As a business owner, this will kickstart your management process.
5. Surround yourself with mentors and advisors
It is difficult to start and grow a business, and more than half fail within the first five years.
Nobody has all of the knowledge, experience, or even perspective to handle every business situation. Learn from the skills and experiences of others.
6. Find a mentor
If you don’t know where to look for a mentor, SCORE is a great place to start. SCORE mentors are completely free; simply go to https://www.SCORE.org to find a face-to-face mentor near you or a mentor to contact via email or Skype.
This website also contains a plethora of free workshops, webinars, and templates aimed at assisting entrepreneurs in successfully starting and growing their businesses.
Mentors can also be found on sites like LinkedIn, by attending a local small business meetup, or by simply asking around. People in your circles may surprise you with useful advice based on their own experiences.
7. Develop a business plan
Starting a business is difficult and dangerous, and it is easy to devote all of your time and resources to it. Determine the nature of your business before you begin. Will it be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company? Then put your plan together.
The best way to stay on track is to have a written plan with your projected results and personal goals.
As an example, suppose your company makes a £20,000 profit. However, if you live in a large city, support a family and possibly elderly parents, and are trying to save for your children’s university fees and retirement, £20,000 is most likely insufficient.
Don’t try to do everything all at once. Focusing on the key components of a business plan will help you put your ideas into concrete terms and identify areas where the business model can be changed if necessary.
8. Understand your numbers
Understand the numbers that tell you how your business is doing and what to expect. The key numbers include your startup costs, sales, cash flow, projected profits, and more, depending on the type of business you have and your definition of success.
Knowing your numbers will help you to make your business decisions. When you have a limited budget it is essential that you spend money on what is necessary and ensure that you do not overspend to begin with. Believe me there are many products, services and software out there that will make running your business easier and quicker. However, these costs can quickly mount up.
Look for ways to save money wherever you can. To raise awareness, use low-cost tools like email marketing and social media marketing rather than more expensive traditional advertising methods.
9. Recognise that there are no entitlements
Don’t underestimate this: you’ll need to put in a lot of effort to achieve your goals.
Being a small business owner is one of the most difficult jobs available. According to a recent survey, 40% of small business owners do not take vacations and have their money tied up in their business.
10. Be enthusiastic about what you do
Being a business founder can be isolating, and your will find that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
From big wins to big losses, if you’re not driven by passion at every step of the way, your job becomes that much more difficult. Remember your WHY. Why did you start your business in the first place? Let your passion drive you indefinitely.
Just because you’re bringing your ideas to life it does not mean you have to work everything out alone. Numerous online marketing tools are available to help you as a small business owner. However, tools are not everything.
There is plenty of help available if you just look for it. Use the knowledge of those who have worked in the digital age’s small business world.
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