We’ve discussed the difficulty related to starting your own business – the challenges and hurdles that every entrepreneur has to face. While many of us have the drive and urgency, there is a lot more to starting a business than meets the eye.
That is why we put together a 10-step guide to getting your business off the ground.
Knowing if this is the right decision for you is the probably the most important starting point for any entrepreneur. Look at why you’re starting the business and if that reason makes sense to you, go for it. The next part is to look at what you can bring to your business, by looking at the following:
- What are my skills? What am I an expert in?
- What am I passionate about?
- What can I invest in my business? How much money do I need to start?
- What can I give up to make this a reality.
It goes without saying that being honest at this moment is crucial to making the right decision.
Figure out your business idea
There is a misconception that coming up with a business idea requires an epiphany, while in actuality, it can be quite a clear and structured process. Entrepreneurs do not have to follow their passion nor do they have to try to build the next Facebook, there are different ways to go about building a successful business.
To find out what should be your business, do research on what problems your community is facing or do you see a gap in an industry you’re familiar with? You can also go out and meet people and ask them questions – this is probably the easiest way to understand a wider perspective without hiring a research agency to do it for you.
Understand your market
Picked a business idea yet? Brilliant, now what’s next?
Here comes the boring bit. A lot of hours spent on research to really understand what you’re getting yourself into. Want to open up a cupcake store – go online to find out who your competitors are doing – are they expanding, scaling back or facing issues in the market. Hit the streets and see for yourself by being a customer and asking them questions.
Diversify your research to get as much relevant information as possible. While it is easier to stick to your friends and simple online research, the extra hours you put in early is crucial.
Create an MVP of your product or service
Whether you’re building a software product or selling eCommerce, you have to start somewhere. If you do not want to go all in without getting rid of the kinks, build an MVP or Minimal Viable Product to test it in the market.
This could mean building a compressed and simplified version of your product to see if there’s demand and it does what you think it should. Maybe if you’re setting that cupcake business, sell a few door-to-door to see if you get repeat customers or if your recipes need some work.
Listen to the haters
One of the biggest mistakes many entrepreneurs make is not listening to their detractors. We recently to spoke to a founder about his journey setting up his business and he shared an example of how not being able to accept feedback almost crippled his business.
One of the first people I spoke to about my business was one of my early business mentors that told me my idea was stupid. He did not believe the media would accept such a drastic change to the current model in the PR industry. Being a stubborn fool, I did not listen and carried on that path for another three months. Dozens of industry experts seemed to share his feelings towards my business idea, so I pivoted away from that into a less tech-intensive solution and SYNC was born.Terng Shing Chen, CEO and Founder of SYNC
Just realize that some of the advice you get will actually have some merit, so you have to take it in stride. It can be tough, but is ultimately essential to building a successful business.
Make a proper business plan
We cannot stress the importance of having a business plan to get your business off the ground. It does not have to be a long plan, but should cover the main topics and make sense to you as the business owner.
Here’s what it should contain:
- Title page
- Executive summary to give the reader insight into what the business is all about
- Description of the business and the market
- What is your target market, and how can you best sell to that market?
- A SWOT analysis
- Design and development for a business where this is relevant
- The ins-and-outs of the daily activity
- The financials – how you plan to support the business and expected financial growth
Find the money
Not all of us want or need to create a large startup that requires millions of dollars of funding. Working with investors can be a hassle, but for some they are a necessity. Depending on what your business is, here are some ways you need to finance your business.
- Bootstrap your business. A difficult decision, but it has its upside as well.
- Family and friends investment. Go to those you love to see if they will provide you with the seed capital.
- Look for small business grants. Many countries offer small business grants to spur the local economy.
- Looks for VC investment. Convinced you’ve got the next Grab on your hands? Pitch it to an investor to fund your venture.
- When all else fails, there’s always a bank loan. These can be useful for businesses to get off the ground and help the entrepreneur retain their equity.
Build your dream team
To scale your business, you need to find people that will be able to take some of the responsibilities off your hands. Whether you’re looking at bringing on a partner, hire an employee or freelancer, it is important to build a dream team to help you scale.
Focus on selling
Nothing says business success like a sales. Focus on scaling your sales team and outreach as you build your business. Some entrepreneurs tend to be focused on the wrong thing when it comes to scaling your business.
But how do you actually make those sales? Maybe start an advertising campaign or build a new business team to reach out to customers. Whatever you choose, it is important to build up your sales.
Scale your business
This is quite a general topic, but it makes it easier for us to hit the magic ’10 steps’. This essentially is how to take what is working is scale it up to 100.
There are always issues with scaling your startup, but it is crucial to building a success company. From marketing to retention, startups need to scale their business.