Starting your own business can be an exciting adventure, but it’s no small feat. There are many moving parts to consider as you build your business from the ground up. Having to plan, prepare, and execute can seem overwhelming at times, especially when you want to get your idea launched.
However, every building block of a business is important. Leaving something out could destroy the foundation of your start-up before you even get, well… started!
Don’t make the mistake of trying to get rich quickly or setting unrealistic goals. Building a small business takes time, no matter how great your plan is.
With that in mind, let’s cover some of the basics you need to know to build a small business from the ground up. By taking the time to do things the right way, you’ll create less stress for yourself, and it’s more likely your business will experience long-term success.
Before you start putting time and money into a new business, it’s important to do your research. Market research covers a lot of things, including:
- Market size
Your research should include things like surveys, interviews, and focus groups. The more information you can get before officially launching your business, the better choices you’ll make. You’ll have a better idea of which business models work and how you can adjust yours to be more flexible and adaptable to changing situations.
You can take the information gathered from market research into the creation of your business plan, which should be your next step.
Build the Best Business Plan
Business plans can look slightly different for everyone. However, it needs to be a clear outline of what your company will look like and how it will be run. Most business plans include things like a mission statement, a description of the business, and a marketing plan.
You should also list out the different departments you’ll be utilizing in your business, and how each one will be used. Some of the most crucial departments are:
- Human Resources
- Customer Service
It takes a lot of different people to make a small business work. Even if you only have one or two people in each department, it’s worth defining their roles and expectations.
Your business plan should also include a budget, financial projections, and how much money is needed to get your plan off the ground. Having a clear picture of your finances will make it easier to capture the attention of potential investors.
Speaking of investors, you’ll want to have a few of them lined up before you launch your business if you don’t have other ways of funding your start-up. Even micro businesses cost about $3,000 to launch. A business with multiple employees outside of the home will end up costing a lot more.
If you don’t have investors interested in your business, there are other ways to secure funding. You can ask friends and family, apply for a small business loan, or try crowdfunding to reach a specific financial goal.
Whatever option you decide to go with, make sure it’s included in your plan, especially if you have to pay back a loan or reward people with offered incentives for donating to your launch.
Build Your Brand
Once you’ve laid the foundation for your business, you can move on to the next steps required for a successful launch.
One of the best things you can do before you open your business is to decide what your brand will be, and how you want to market yourself.
Creating an ideal brand for your business requires more initial research. You’ll have to determine your target audience and who your business is “for” before you put any effort into your marketing strategy. It’s also a good idea to look at your competitors and see what their brand looks like. What do they want their audience to see and think? What do you want your audience to see and think?
Once you have your target audience in mind, you can go through a few steps to bring your brand to life:
- Pick a personality
- Choose a logo
- Choose colors and a font to represent your “look”
- Decide your brand messaging
- Keep your brand consistent throughout your marketing efforts
Not sure why a consistent brand is important (as well as the marketing that goes with it)? Think about some of the biggest corporations in the world. When you think of Apple, what comes to mind? Chances are, the first thing you think of is their iconic logo. If you see an Apple logo anywhere, it will immediately cause you to think about the brand, what they offer, the messaging they put out, and any personal experiences you’ve had with them. That’s the result of successful branding, and it’s essential to do the same for your business, even if it’s on a smaller scale.
Sustainability is more than just a hot topic nowadays. Consumers want to see sustainable efforts from the businesses they support. One recent study showed that more than one-third of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. People are more likely to choose businesses that focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. It’s not just a gimmick or marketing ploy. It’s something your business should be founded upon.
Thankfully, cloud-based accounting, telecommunications tools, and IoT sensors can be used to improve efficiency and cut back on a business’s carbon footprint. These digital solutions help track and enhance your corporate sustainability measures and initiatives, so don’t be afraid to use tech to your advantage when it comes to streamlining your business and doing something good for the environment.
From equipping a brick-and-mortar business with smart technology for security to utilizing telecommunication for remote workers, using tech to your advantage will keep things running smoothly and will help you stay connected with your audience as you grow. Make sure you understand things like best practices for SEO so you can improve the visibility of your website. Hire someone to take charge of your social media efforts so you can connect with your audience and form relationships. Take care of your IT professionals so they can ensure you’re using the latest software to keep your systems secure.
Again, there are a lot of moving parts to consider when it comes to starting a small business from the ground up. Technology can take some of that weight off of your shoulders, especially when you hire the right people to take your tech to the next level.
If you’ve got a great idea for a business, there’s no reason to let anything stop you from getting it off the ground. However, it’s important to understand that it takes time and effort to find success. Don’t try to take any shortcuts or cheat your business out of all of the proper steps. Doing so will put you at a greater risk of failing, and ending up in a sticky financial situation.
Instead, use some of the suggestions and ideas here as a guide to launching your small business. You don’t need to have a lot of experience in the business world to be successful, but you have to be willing to learn, adapt, and grow.