Starting a business requires a ton of work, no matter how much experience you have. Documentation, legal issues, strategic development, and planning your next moves can be overwhelming even with the best resources. Without a serious commitment on your part, it’s not likely that you’ll see anything but modest returns on your time, money, and effort.
Now that we’ve effectively scared you, take a breath. We’re not trying to steer you away from entrepreneurship, but we want to paint a realistic picture of your options while cheering you on. It's absolutely possible to start and run your own business, and be successful doing it. What is your dream? Who fuels your “why”? What would it mean to you to have the time, options, and financial freedom that come with creating your own business? If you have some of those burning questions rolling around in your mind, then it might be time to stop kicking the can and start your business this year!
As you prepare to turn your dreams and visions into reality, consider purposeful actions and steps you can take to set up shop. Working on a name and logo might not be as crucial as securing financing and start-up capital while crafting a business plan. This will be a thorough process of trial and error as you work through the process to find what works for you and your potential customers.
Don’t get too overwhelmed by all the decisions that lay before you. Starting with these strategic steps will help you lay much of the groundwork for your venture and set you up for consistent gains. Read on to see where you should concentrate your time and efforts.
1. Decide if being an entrepreneur is what you really want.
We all have frustrating days at the office where we feel that not coming back the following day is the only option. We navigate through employer demands, complex relationships, and dissatisfaction that can come with contributing to another’s dream, wondering if it’s all worth it. Before pulling the plug on this professional relationship that pays the bills, ask yourself some key questions:
Why do I want to start my own business?
Do I have an idea for a product or service that is viable?
What do I know how to do well?
What is important to me? What would fulfill me?
How much start-up money do I have at my disposal?
Will this be full-time or part-time?
Answering these essential questions will help to narrow your focus and weed out distractions, slow starters, and bad ideas that aren’t likely to compete in the market. This step should not discourage you from starting your own business, but rather begin to organize your thought process around your business idea and product design.
2. Take a self-assessment.
A business owner needs to set goals, plan, and know him/herself well. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How will your character traits affect day-to-day operations? As you get started, know that expanding your business will dominate much of your time; make sure your job is stimulating and challenging, but not outside your wheelhouse. You’ll likely be in this game for the long haul, so you will need to carefully consider how you want to spend weeks, months, and years of your time. What really matters to you? What might you spend your time doing if money wasn’t an issue? Is money the driving force behind this change, or is it something else? Do you have family and friends backing your decision to move? As you uncover your motivations, you’ll discover your “why,” making it much easier to get up and out of bed in the morning when things get complicated.
3. Refine your initial idea.
All good ideas need a little refining from time to time. Businesses are fueled not just by ideas, but by needs voiced by customers. If you can validate that your idea, product, or service fills a need, then you have the makings of a sustainable business.
Craft a lean plan to help you start refining. This simple, one-page document provides more structure for the technical aspects of running a business. It will provide you with an organized template on which to tackle the rest of your start-up steps.
4. Do some purposeful research.
Once you’ve chosen a business that fits your goals and lifestyle, it’ll be time to evaluate already! Who would be willing to buy your product or service? Who are your competitors? Conducting market research before starting out will give you a good idea of just how hard you’ll have to market yourself to potential customers in order to see consistent growth and success. There are several ways you can do this:
Performing Google searches
Interviewing people already working in your target field
Reading books on business and entrepreneurship
Researching current business trends and statistics
Taking classes on running a business
Partnering with a more experienced mentor to help you guide through the process
As you uncover more of your next steps in detail, you’ll be able to take more of a confident, risk-taking approach toward growth and expansion. See what marvelous things you can do by committing to ongoing self-development.
5. Write up your plan.
When seeking outside funding, a business plan will be essential to your success. Even if you are independent, a well-crafted plan can still help you map out your steps as you organize a presentation for you and your investors. Though this won’t be the last step you need to take when building your dream, this is a solid foundation that will see you the rest of the way through to startup and beyond. Take some time, stoke that fire, and use that passion to put your best ideas down on paper.
Getting stuck? Let Us Help!
MaxGroup Business Solutions has caring, committed professionals who are every bit as dedicated to your business success as you are. Individualized success plans, top-notch internet marketing strategies, and innovative problem-solving solutions make us a premier business partner for thousands of thriving businesses. Let us take yours to the top as well. Visit www.maxgroupbusiness.com to get started today.