We’re here to help you build your career on your own terms, whether you have a brilliant idea or simply want to earn a living doing what you love. An idea is the beginning of everything. The first step to narrowing down that idea is to decide what type of business and lifestyle you want.
You probably already know what you want to sell online or at least what market you want to enter if you’re thinking about starting a business. Find out what companies already exist in the industry you want to enter. Find out how you can improve upon what current brand leaders are doing.
It is possible to start a successful business without any startup funds. Identify a business idea that builds on your skill set to provide a new and innovative product or service. Maintain your current position (or “day job”) while developing a new business to reduce financial risks.
A Step-by-Step Guide for Starting a Business Today
It is time to stop thinking about your great business idea and actually put it into action. Starting a business from scratch can seem overwhelming, but breaking it down into smaller steps will make it appear less overwhelming.
1. Determining your market size
The importance of conducting market research before putting up a “We’re Open” sign cannot be overstated. You can determine the market size of your business by evaluating the following:
- problems your business solves
- your competitors
- defining your value
- and demography you target
By knowing who to sell to and what their needs are, you can create a smarter marketing strategy and discover if the business has the potential to be profitable.
2. Product or service creation
The time has come for you to bring your product or service to life. Designing and manufacturing physical products or buying inventory is necessary if you have a physical product. It is important that when you choose the price for what you want to sell, that the price is higher than the manufacturing or acquisition costs so that you are able to make a profit.
It is important to realize that when you run a service business, you are the product. There is no need to create or purchase anything, but you need to decide what you want to sell and how you want to sell it. You could, for example, include a variety of services on your website if you are a writer. Some of these services might include:
- creating blog posts and articles
- copywriting for businesses
- and editing and proofreading
Additionally, you must have a pricing model, such as an hourly rate, a project rate, or a price-per-word.
3. Make a business plan
The same way you wouldn’t embark on a road trip without a map, you shouldn’t start your own business without one. Business plans can be viewed as roadmaps for businesses. In every business plan, there are a few main components:
- a brief summary
- description of the company
- your services and products
- analysis of the market
- a marketing and sales plan
- the organizational structure of the company
- and your projections and financial plan
It is worthwhile to have a business plan even if you aren’t raising venture capital, since it helps you make strategic decisions.
4. Name your business
It’s time to come up with a name for your business. There can be a lot of challenges when trying to come up with a creative, memorable, and legally available name. In the United States, if you are looking for a name to trademark, you can check the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as state and local databases, to see if anyone else has already trademarked the name.
Have you found “the one”? Ensure that your business name is also available as a domain name, and register it as soon as possible. Having done that, you can now move on to more fun stuff, such as designing business cards and stationery, as well as setting up your website and social media accounts, after which you can start marketing your business.
5. Choosing a business structure
You will pay taxes, have personal liability, and have a team structure based on your business structure. Here are some of the most common business structures:
- a sole proprietorship
- a partnership
- a limited liability company
- a corporation and a cooperative
There are pros and cons to each, so it’s helpful to work with an accountant and lawyer to identify the best decision for your business.
Planning your finances
Investing in a business doesn’t have to be expensive, but you’ll need to cover the costs of operations during the initial stages. Having a service business means that your costs are lower, since you don’t have to purchase inventory or manufacture physical products. There are, however, some basic costs, such as building a website, incorporating your business, and paying taxes. Make sure you calculate the start-up costs of your business and your operating expenses for at least a year.
When you have developed your business idea and are ready to write a business plan, you’ll need to figure out how to fund it. By pitching your idea to finance backers, you may be able to raise funding for your idea through investments. You can also use crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter or set aside money from your weekly earnings to fund your new business. As a last option, you might be able to get your company up and running with a loan from a bank or other financial institution.
Owning your own business and becoming a successful business owner is an exciting experience. In addition, it gives you complete control over your lifestyle choices, schedule, and financial situation. Business owners and entrepreneurs have authority over hours, schedules, locations, interior design, menus, products, and customers.
Whenever you’re starting a small business or starting a lean startup, you want every dollar to count. It’s for this reason that you may consider outsourcing your work to freelancers. One of the biggest benefits of working with a freelancer is that they’re typically less expensive than hiring someone full-time.