Are you thinking of starting a business? If so, there are a few things you should take into consideration before taking the plunge.
In this blog post, we’ll go over 15 things every potential business owner should think about before getting started.
We’ll cover the serious and technical aspects of starting a business. But we’ll also look at essential issues like having the right mindset and setting meaningful goals.
By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of what it takes to launch and run a business successfully.
Define Your ‘Why’
Knowing your ‘why’ is a vital piece of advice when you’re starting a business. Many successful entrepreneurs are now attesting to this, in the likes of Simon Sinek’s timeless book, ‘Start With Why’.
Defining why YOU are passionate about your business is important to put you ahead of the competition; it will focus and drive you toward your mission and goals.
Furthermore, understanding your purpose gives potential customers or investors insight into what true value you provide – rather than solely relying on the product or service offering itself.
Taking time to think through why you feel passionate about your business and how it can help people lead to authentic success stories for any venture.
List Your Values
Your core values will guide your personal and professional life and shape your business decisions.
There’s rarely a clear answer to any major question – but having clear values allows you to choose the path that’s right for you.
- What do you do when a crisis takes place?
- How do you handle unethical behavior at work?
- Who do you hire to manage a team?
- What tone of voice should you use in your content?
All these questions and more can be answered by your core values.
Take the time to sit down and list a few values that you think will shape the way your business runs, and how you interact with customers, partners, employees, etc.
Core beliefs drive everything. In our business, we feature our core values when hiring, and in our brand image.
Define Your Audience
When building an effective marketing plan for your business, defining your ideal customer is essential.
An ideal customer should be someone who feels a strong connection to the values your business stands for.
And if you’re successfully connecting with them, they should feel compelled to purchase your products or services.
To identify your target audience, think about who is interested in your business and why. Use social media platforms to understand their demographics, interests and behaviors.
This information will help create campaigns specifically tailored towards them. Additionally, it can help you form partnerships, develop content and more.
When defining your audience, be clear about the following details:
- Education level
- Income level
- Interests and hobbies
- Pain points or problems
Defining your audience also helps you with practical matters like creating a marketing strategy. Or building important financial projections like sales, costs, and profits.
Your audience report will act as the foundation that tells you if your business is feasible and worth pursuing.
Analyze Your Competition
In order to survive in any market, it is essential to understand who you’re competing against.
Researching your competitors will help you clearly define what makes you unique as a business, where their weaknesses lie, and how to capitalize on them.
It will also help you decide if you should pursue your business idea and if you do – how to differentiate yourself.
You can analyze your competition with these practical steps:
- Identify your main competitors
- Learn about their product or service
- Analyze their pricing strategy
- Research customer reviews
- Check out their website and social media presence
- Analyze their customer service strategy
- Use SEO tools to analyze your competition and study their domain rating, traffic, and top ranking pages
Your research will help you form a clear strategy and create a point of differentiation that sets you apart from other businesses in the same category.
Determine the Funds You Need and Their Sources
The financial side of starting a business is often the most difficult, but also one of the most important. Having a clear understanding of your finances will help you accurately anticipate the costs of setting up a business.
It’s important to determine an overall budget for your venture and identify the sources of funding that will finance it.
Sources could include savings, investments from family and friends, personal loans, small business loans, grants, or crowdfunding campaigns. Additionally, consider how you plan on using the funds and budget for expenses related to the following:
- Legal costs
- Marketing and advertising
- Office space or equipment
Make sure also to include a buffer of emergency funds in case something unexpected arises. The more prepared you are financially, the greater your chance of success in your business will be.
Measure the Risks
Starting a business is an exhilarating experience, but also an endeavor that comes with risks. These risks may include financial loss, failure to generate enough customers or clients, and failure to protect the business from certain legal obligations.
To help minimize these risks, it’s important to have comprehensive research prior to starting the business; this includes research on market trends, customer needs, and any applicable regulations and laws.
You can also use this risk-gauging exercise to come up with contingency plans.
It’s a good idea to have a deep discussion of the risks you might face with your partners and mentors.
Your mentor’s past experiences will provide reliable advice regarding successes and failures as well.
When you’re well aware of risks, you’re more likely to be prepared for any difficulties you might face.
Create a Plan and Timeline
Once all the above research and groundwork is complete, it’s time to create a plan of action. This includes setting up the framework for how you want to approach launching your business.
Your plan should include and cover things such as:
- Defining your goals
- Setting up a timeline
- Creating a budget and financial projections
- Developing your marketing strategy
- Identifying potential partners or suppliers
- Building an organizational structure
Keep in mind that this plan will be essential when applying for grants, loans, and investments down the line. It will also allow you to measure progress and tweak areas that need improvement along the way.
Also, having documentation is invaluable when you look to hire new employees or bring on partners or investors. And it will serve as a point of reference to guide you as you grow your business.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Developing a marketing strategy is essential for establishing your business and differentiating yourself from competitors. Your strategy should identify your target market, the channels in which you plan to reach them, and the tactics you’ll use to draw them in.
This includes researching the industry landscape, gaining an understanding of how competitors are positioning themselves, and creating marketing plans that are tailored to your customer segments.
You can also use this as an opportunity to define a unique brand identity, and create content such as website copy, social media posts, videos, and other materials that will help promote your business.
Additionally, consider the cost associated with marketing, and make sure you have the budget to sustain it.
Research the Licenses and Permits You Need
Before you open up shop, research the types of licenses and permits required in order for your business to operate legally—this varies depending on what industry your business is in. The necessary steps for obtaining a license or permit also vary by state or municipality, so it’s important to consult with the relevant authorities in your area.
Some businesses may be required to have more than one license or permit. You’ll need to make sure all of these are obtained and up-to-date before launching your business.
Figure Out Your Business Name and Domain URL
A business name is part of a company’s identity, so it should be memorable and unique. Think about how you want customers to remember and perceive your brand, then come up with some ideas for names that will embody this vision.
Once you’ve decided on a name, check if it’s available as a .com domain URL—this is important for branding purposes, as well as aiding in website discovery when customers search for your business online.
Also, you need to know quickly if your preferred domain name is even available. At present, there are more than 367 million domain names registered globally – you can expect generic terms and popular names to be taken.
So, don’t get hung up on a business name or domain address if it isn’t available. Unless you’re willing to pay a great deal of money for a domain name, you should find one that is available for a normal price.
Make a Potential List of Customers or Vendors
Creating a list of potential customers and vendors is important for networking and building relationships that can help grow your business. Start by researching local businesses in the same industry, then consider reaching out to them via social media or email to introduce yourself and explain the services you offer.
You should also create a list of potential vendors who can provide you with the resources needed to run your business (such as products, materials, or equipment).
Researching, connecting with, and cultivating relationships with these contacts can help establish trust between yourself and future partners down the line.
Make a Recruitment Plan
Before hiring employees, you need to develop a recruitment plan that includes setting job requirements, posting job descriptions online, and screening potential candidates. You’ll also want to consider how you will compensate and onboard new hires, as well as how to create an environment that encourages team collaboration. You can also hire employees through selecting a recruiting software.
Creating a recruitment plan requires a lot of time and effort upfront, but it will help ensure that you are finding the right match for your company in terms of talent and personality.
Consult With an Attorney
It’s important to consult with an attorney who specializes in the laws related to business start-ups before launching your business. An attorney can provide advice on any relevant legal matters, such as contracts, trademarks, taxes, and more.
This will help you make sure your business is compliant with all applicable regulations, and that you’re taking the necessary steps to protect yourself and your company from any potential liabilities.
Plus, having an attorney on hand can provide a sense of security throughout the entire process, as they guide you through each step of the way.
Research Business Insurance
Business insurance is essential for protecting your company against potential losses due to unexpected circumstances, such as theft, property damage, or personal injury claims.
It’s important to research the different types of coverage and understand the policies before committing to a specific plan—talk to an experienced insurance agent who can help you evaluate your business needs and recommend the best policy for you.
Having business insurance in place is a great way to ensure that your company is protected and ready to face any unforeseen challenges down the line.
Find an Accountability Partner or Mastermind Group
Having an accountability partner or joining a mastermind group can be extremely beneficial when it comes to starting a business. An accountability partner can help you stay on track and motivated, while the support of others in a mastermind group can offer valuable advice and guidance.
Finding someone who wants to see your success as much as you do is key—having an experienced mentor who can offer support and guidance can be extremely helpful when starting a business.
Create a Business Launch Plan
Creating a business launch plan is the last step before officially launching your business. This part of the plan is exciting and will include steps like:
- Building an email list
- Creating a landing page
- Writing promotional social media posts
- Reaching out to PR contacts
- Planning and launching any advertising campaigns
A launch page is a great way to build a buzz around your business.
These tasks should be done in the months leading up to your business launch, and you should also set deadlines for each task to keep yourself on track.
Having a launch plan sets you on the path to success, and gives you a clear roadmap for what needs to be done in order to launch your business successfully.
Over to you
Starting a business is a complex and daunting process, but with proper planning and preparation it can be a rewarding experience. Following these steps will help you lay the foundation for success. Now it’s up to you to take the next step and make your business a reality. Good luck!