Humans today are resilient and innovative; every day it seems as though there is a new way to generate income. If you want to try your hand at launching a small business, you are not alone. There are roughly 50 million new businesses launched each year around the world – about 130,000 each day. Amidst this sea of creativity and ambition, it’s important to keep your bearings in order to increase your chances of success.
The grim reality is that only half of new businesses survive their first five years and only one-third make it to their ten-year mark. Maintaining a commitment to your vision (AKA the reason you’re doing this) and exercising adaptability are two surefire ways to increase your chance of success. As you start to formulate a tangible concept of your idea, use these six steps to construct your business plan and make your dreams a reality.
6 Steps to Starting a New Business
1. Clarify Your Why
Putting pen to paper and documenting exactly why you do what you do is the first step to starting a small business. Just as it is pointless to drive a car without a destination, it is a waste of time and money to launch a business with no clear goal in mind. A palpable objective leads you to the precipice of achieving your entrepreneurial vision. Start with a straightforward mission statement. It does not have to be lengthy or eloquent. Simply write down why you are launching this initiative and what you hope to achieve through it. Let those words serve as a compass to guide the rest of your decisions from here.
2. Build a Website (and SEO)
As absurd as it may appear to the casual observer, virtual real estate is very much a reality in the age of technology. Metaverse Group’s recent $2.43 million dollar sale of Decentraland, a virtual-only environment proves just this. On a more laymen comprehensive note, your digital presence is crucial to the success of your business. Not only do you need a website and social media presence, but your platforms must be well-maintained and SEO optimized. Google search rankings largely contribute to your web visibility, so ensure you register with Google Business, have a user-friendly website, and engaging content on your pages.
3. Establish Your Target Market
An intelligent supplier is one who understands their consumer. With this comes knowing that customers today are well informed and confident about their expectations. It bodes well to be as equally equipped as you prepare to dive into the market and promote your services. Not understanding your target market is a critical misstep in the delicate dance of supply and demand. A successful business person is driven by a very clear concept of who they are reaching. This knowledge consequently determines everything from effective advertising strategies down to product presentation.
4. Talk to Your Ideal Client Base
Once you determine just who you will be marketing to, take the time to poll your target audience. Consider how you intend to advertise your services and the methods you plan to distribute them. As your business starts to get off the ground, think about offering your services at a discounted rate in exchange for direct customer feedback and honest (hopefully positive) online reviews. This test population will help you work out any kinks early on before you begin to promote your business to a wider audience.
5. Assess Your Finances
Every business needs financial backing upfront in order to get off the ground. Fortunately, if your pockets are feeling a little dusty, there are other ways to generate revenue for your business. Many entrepreneurs choose to go down the road of small business loans and financial investors in order to fiscally cushion the grassroots portion of their business launch.
Managing cash flow is a crucial element to business longevity. In the most elementary sense, businesses need money coming in so that they can survive. Starting with your existing revenue, begin to put together a financial forecast to help predict your upcoming expenses. This also allows you to better budget through those first few months of your business launch, and create feasible goals for sales in the beginning stages.
6. Register With the Government
Before you can legally operate your business, you will need to register as a governmentally listed entity. Start with denoting your legal business structure: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or a limited liability company. These labels correlate directly with your business size (amount of owners) and tax status. A limited liability company (LLC) is one of the most common structures used for registering small businesses.
Once your entity structure is established, you will need to acquire various business licenses such as your EIN, DBA, and tax forms. File DBA is an efficient and user-friendly site to help get your business name officially registered so you can establish your tax profiles.