[This article was written by Craig Middleton.]
Starting your own business takes more than just desire and ambition. It requires a point-by-point business plan, adequate capital, the right talent, and several other factors that can help grow it. To give you the best chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur, here is a complete roadmap of what you need to start your own business:
Learn Your Industry
Learn your industry in and out. Your business should be centered around an industry you are very familiar with. If not, take the time and effort to understand it at a deeper level. Learn about market cycles and fluctuations in demand and supply, who your biggest competitors are and who has the lion’s share of the market, what existing laws and regulations could affect your operations, etc. Learning your industry is key to identifying the risks that abound as well as the opportunities that you can capitalize on.
Work for Someone Else
There is no better mentor than experience. Work for a company and try to absorb as much information and techniques as you can. This is also a great way to find potential co-founders, investors, and employees that you can hire when you start your own business. Another reason to work for a company is to give yourself time to build your skills as well as find ways to refine your business idea further while earning cash and growing your capital.
Find a Co-Founder
You’ll need someone to bounce ideas off of and someone who can share the burdens and pressure of everyday business operations. This is where a co-founder comes into the picture. Your co-founder should be someone who understands your vision and is equally passionate about the problem it is trying to solve. Good candidates for a co-founder will often hire executive resume services to boost their credentials and qualifications. They should also be someone whose judgment you trust and whose knowledge and experience you can tap into.
The cost of starting a business varies depending on what kind of business you are starting. An accounting firm or web design firm will often cost less than a franchise business or a software-as-a-service company. Write down every immediately identifiable expense and research average market prices or better yet contact specific service providers or suppliers for quotes.
Write a Business Plan
According to the Small Business Administration, a business plan should have an executive summary that serves as a snapshot of your business, a company description that describes what you do, and market analysis that details market-specific research. Of course, you should also explain what product/service you are offering, and a marketing and customer acquisition plan.
Make Things Official
You can’t really say you have a business until you make it official. Decide on your business structure and name, and then register it. You should also apply for the necessary IDs, permits, and licenses as well as open any necessary bank accounts. If your product/service has any unique features, apply for the necessary trademarks, patents, and copyrights. It’s best to deal with the legal aspect early on since the process usually takes some time to complete.
Now that you have a business, you’ll want to get the word out. Start marketing on social media, at trade shows, and even at public parks. Regardless of where you choose to do your marketing, keep in mind that it’s all a numbers game. The more people who know that your business exist, the more chances of generating leads and converting them into paying customers.
Oftentimes, aspiring entrepreneurs get caught up in the excitement of starting their very own company that they forget just how challenging it can be. By having a clear cut roadmap to follow, you can systematically build a business that has a good chance of surviving and eventually succeeding and keep a realistic view of what to expect when you’re behind the wheel.