Whether you’re looking to become your own boss, you want to pursue a passion project, or you’ve identified a gap in the market and have a great idea for how to fill it, starting your own business is the ideal solution. One of the most difficult things to do, though, is take that leap and become a business owner. If you’ve never been an entrepreneur before, even an excellent understanding of your industry may not be enough. In fact, starting a business is not as difficult as it may seem — it’s just about knowing what steps to take.
Define Your Idea
Even if you’re quite confident you know what you want to achieve with your business, it’s worthwhile taking the time to work out the specifics, as you may find that you’ve neglected some key areas. Writing everything out, rather than just forming an idea in your head, will help you iron out the details.
Write a Business Plan
The next step is to formalize your idea into a business plan. This is where you figure out all the fine points, such as what business structure you’ll use, your projections for the first few years, your strategy, and what funding you’ll need. You’ll use your business plan to determine if your idea is viable, to guide your strategy, and to present your business to investors when requesting funding.
Assess Your Finances
Talking about funding, an essential step to launching a business is assessing your finances. This starts with looking at how much you’ll be able to invest, after which you should calculate how much you can receive from friends, family members, and perhaps co-founders who are interested in having a stake in your business. Once you’ve exhausted these means, you may like to apply for a bank loan, search for venture capital, or use crowdfunding, among other means.
Marketing Your Business
It’s no good having a business that no one knows exists. To build awareness about your business, you need a marketing strategy. This should involve a variety of activities, including social media, content, SEO, email marketing, and PPC ads. If you lack marketing expertise yourself, your best option may be to contract a digital marketing expert.
Build Your Team
The likelihood is you will need some team members to support you. There’s no need for these to be employees — you can always outsource the extra support you require. Even one-person startups usually need some support, whether that’s to provide you with the skills you lack, give you access to tools that are too expensive for your small business to pay for upfront, or even to take over routine tasks, like admin and customer support, which will free you up to run your business.
To help you remember the steps you need to take to start a business, we’ve created a checklist for you to follow. Download it and refer back to whenever you’re feeling unsure of what to do next.