Guide to Start a Successful Business in 7 Steps
Starting a new business is an exciting, nerve-racking and sometimes overwhelming experience filled with passion, dreams of success and financial independence. It can, however, be a process with ups, downs, wins, challenges and uncertainties whether you start your own subscription service, build a leading agency or design and sell an upcoming viral sensation. If you are new to navigating this entrepreneurial territory both proactively and successfully, you should do a few significantly important things within your first few months. Let’s take a look at these essential steps to set you and your new business venture up for success.
Step One: Crafting A Solid Business Plan
What’s your business idea? Does it align with current needs in the market? Who will you be targeting your product or service to? What problems are you solving for your potential customers? How will your business be the better option for them over your competitors? How do you plan to approach your marketing efforts? Have you considered your sales strategy yet? Do you require financial help or funding to get up and running?
If you can’t answer them, don’t panic!
This is the step every new or existing entrepreneur needs to put in place, so grab a notebook and pencil. A well-constructed business plan allows you to concisely see your visions and provides a roadmap outlining goals, audiences, strategies and a financial forecast. This will also help attract potential investors or lenders if you happen to need them.
Step Two: Legalities & Regulations
Before moving forward with anything else at this stage, there are a few essential things to do. It’s time for the not-so-fun admin tasks. You must ensure your new business complies with all legal and regulatory requirements within your territory. The initial steps to set yourself up to be compliant are:
- Trademarking your business name and logo as well as registering a website domain. Conduct research on competitors and ensure your name, domain, and logo don’t correlate too closely to theirs; this will save you from a potential legal battle and unnecessary fees. It also gives you a brand identity that others cannot use or copy.
- Register your business entity, be that sole trader, a private limited company or a corporation. This should be registered in line with your appropriate government authorities.
- You may be required to obtain one or multiple necessary licenses or permits based on your location or your specific industry, so ensure you have researched this to avoid future discrepancies.
- Finally, you need to understand and comply with the tax obligations for where your business is registered, so prepare for this if you wish to avoid potential fines and legal issues. Ignoring this slightly more tedious step in the process when setting up your new company can hinder your business’s growth and set back your finances if you are faced with penalties.
Step Three: Budgeting & Financial Management
To set yourself up for success and prevent potential financial obstructions, you should develop a finance plan with concise budgets. Before doing this, you may wish to set up a business account with your chosen bank so finances for your company are kept separate from your personal ones. Your financial plan may include:
- Startup costs – estimate the primary costs and investments needed to get up and running. These startup costs could include equipment, inventory, supplier fees, legal fees and marketing expenses.
- Operational costs – adding these to your financial plan will allow you to calculate your recurring expenses like employee salaries, rent, platform/system subscriptions, utilities and marketing and advertising costs.
- Revenue projections – this will be your estimated earnings over a period of time; you should create a realistic revenue forecast based on your own strategies and market research.
Monitoring and managing your business financials regularly and adapting and adjusting your budgets and limitations as required will ensure you stay aligned with your goals and make informed financial decisions for future success.
Step Four: Your Online Presence
Today, having a strong online presence and reputation is non-negotiable. Without a professional website, you will deter potential paying customers, which only your competitors will benefit from. Showcasing your products and services concisely and providing informative and valuable content alongside any information your audience may need, such as contact details and answers to your FAQs, is a must for the success of your business. A user-friendly website will promote more conversions.
As well as a fantastic website, you need an equally impressive social media presence. Leveraging social media platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, offers the chance to share your offerings, connect with new and existing audiences and build better brand awareness. Online marketing strategies, including PPC (Pay-Per-Click), SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and content creation, will drive more traffic to your site and generate leads. If you do not have the capacity for this kind of advertising, you may wish to source help from experts at a digital marketing agency, but remember to incorporate the cost of this into your financial plan.
Step Five: Your Customers' Opinions
Your target audience and the products and services they require are the foundation of your business. Without them, you make zero profit! You need to understand the features and benefits that make them convert as well as their pain points so you can offer the solution. At this stage, conducting your own market research and customer research to identify these factors is important. This could be done through surveys, feedback forms and social media so you can gather valuable insights and use this to improve your business offerings.
Step Six: Networking & Opportunities
In almost every industry, you need to network and connect with others to open doors and create new and exciting opportunities. You can do this through platforms like LinkedIn or by attending events such as conferences and business associations. Finding like-minded entrepreneurs and experienced business professionals to provide you with more guidance and insights will be invaluable for your success.
Step Seven: Resilience & Hard Work
Finally, the hardest part – be prepared to work incredibly hard and stay resilient. The business landscape requires you to tackle obstacles, learn from your failures and adjust your strategies. You may decide to use one of the many receptive business management tools online to better organise the future of your operations and tasks. As mentioned previously, this process will come with wins, losses, challenges and successes, and you need to have a positive mindset and determination if you wish to achieve your entrepreneurial goals.
Following the seven steps mentioned above can lay out a solid roadmap for the future of your business; however, you will need to be adaptive and persistent with a willingness to learn as you go. Adopting these qualities will allow you to become a successful business owner. And remember to have fun on this new journey, too!