In 2023, almost 45% of Americans would like to start a business. First-time entrepreneurs are on the rise, as digital devices make business building a more viable option and a desire to work from home makes it a more pleasurable career path. What can beat becoming your own boss? But building a company from the ground up is no easy task. To help you out, we’ve put together actionable advice to get your startup started.
Have You Got the Right Mindset?
Before you do anything, it’s vital that you know whether you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. You may have this dreamy idea of waking up at 11 am and doing a few hours of work before clocking off for the rest of the day, but that’s far from the reality of being a CEO.
If you want to become a successful business owner, you need to be ready for a lot of hard work and grueling hours. One survey discovered that business owners work twice as many hours a week as regular employees, with 25% clocking in more than 60 hours.
You need to be prepared for the disadvantages of entrepreneurship as well as the advantages. Can you take criticism and deal with financial insecurity? Are you ready to network and negotiate? Have a real think about what it takes to run a business and whether you’re a good fit before moving forward.
Research Your Market
Whatever industry you’re going into, you need to do your research before you begin building a brand.
Competitor research is a smart way to suss out the state of the existing market. You can see what’s working well, what doesn’t hit right with consumers, and where there are gaps in the market. Check the social media profiles of competitors to see what followers are commenting and gauge their reaction to new products and content. Look for any news article in your industry, too, that could give you valuable insights.
Market research is vital to ensuring your brand is a success. Search online for consumer statistics, discovering what’s important to your audience and what they’re looking for in a brand. Begin to build a customer profile and learn how to connect with individuals. Your audience will decide whether your company lives or dies, so get to know them as you build your startup.
Look into Viable Funding Options
Cash flow is a business essential. Balancing your books so that you have enough income to cover your expenses is vital to keeping your company not just afloat, but growing.
Once you’ve created a financial budget for your business, look into funding. It’s a good idea that you have enough money to keep your business afloat for a year without any profit. There are a lot of funding options available if you don’t have the money already available, including:
- Credit cards
- Bank loans
- Loans from friends and family
- Angel investors
- Government grants
Speak to Experts
When you’re starting a business, one of the worst things you can do is think that you know everything. The truth is that nobody does! Even presidents have advisors and successful CEOs wouldn’t be where they are today without their teams.
Speak to as many experts as you can as you build your business. If you know any CEOs, ask them for advice. Speak to banks about funding options, speak to tech companies about the best software to implement, and engage with marketing professionals on how to get your brand out there.
Invest in the Right Tech
In the digital age, your company will benefit from the right technology and software. Implementing tech can:
- Speed up business processes
- Reduce human error
- Build a better brand image
- Improve customer experience
- Improve employee experience
Consider what digital software would be most useful to your business. If you have a physical shop, for example, products like a contactless card reader, smart CCTV, and custom QR codes would all be useful. Content management systems and communication tools, like Slack or Zoom, are essential for improving employee experience, and tools like automated email marketing software can speed up your marketing processes.
But, it’s important you don’t waste money on software that’s not useful. Consider, first, what’s essential, like a card payment machine and employee communication tool, and then bring in software that will improve your company but perhaps isn’t vital as you progress.
Create a Business Plan
Your business plan should work as a map for your company’s road to success. It should detail everything anyone needs to know about your business, even if they’re going in with no idea of who you are or what your company does. Investors, marketers, and management will all want to see your plan.
If you’re building your company without any outside help, a business plan will help you get to grips with your plans. Any mistakes or flaws will be easier to spot, and you’ll have an organized approach to setting up your company.
Your business plan should include:
- A summary of your business purpose and goals
- A description of what problem your business solves for consumers
- Why your business stands out (e.g. your professional background or filling a market gap)
- Market analysis
- Business organization and structure
- Statistics, articles, or data that may affect your business
- Marketing and lead generation plan
- Financial plan
Protect Yourself and Your Business
No entrepreneur should underestimate the importance of insurance. Though you may not want to add another expense to your budget, you’ll thank yourself one day! Insurance gives you the peace of mind that your personal finances and business are both protected.
Some smart insurance policies to look into include:
- Contents insurance (for physical shops or storage facilities)
- Employer’s liability insurance
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Public liability insurance
- Business buildings insurance
Starting a business from scratch can be stressful, but the long-term benefits are undeniable! Making your own money, working the hours that you choose, and creating a company under your own name are all sought-after perks of becoming an entrepreneur. Just remember these tips and you should be on your way to becoming a successful business owner.