If you were to ask a handful of entrepreneurs for advice regarding starting a business, you’d probably get a lot of varied responses relating to each entrepreneur’s respective venture. However, while each response might seem unique, you’ll probably notice that regardless of the business, it always comes down to persistence, hard work, and a few other key characteristics.
There is no magic guide that contains all of the secrets of starting a successful business, but with a little research, you’ll probably find a pattern of values that all seem to contribute to success and longevity.
Here are 10 steps that will help you become a self-made business owner.
- Figure Out Your Passion
One in four Americans have thought about starting their own business at some point, but ultimately decided against it due to the associated risks. Many people are disheartened when they realize what goes into starting and maintaining a business. Accordingly, having the utmost passion and perseverance for your startup is absolutely necessary.
If you’re not passionate about your venture, you’re probably not going to last long. Businesses struggle and it often takes an immense amount of work to get the business back on track after it falters. Without passion, it’s easy to simply admit defeat and move on. However, if you’re truly passionate, there’s not much that’s going to be able to frustrate your efforts.
- Gather Information
Research, research, research! Many successful entrepreneurs started out in an apprentice-type position when first starting out in their fields. Find a mentor in your industry that can bring you up to speed on what it takes to successfully start a business, do well to gain their future support, and make sure to learn from their mistakes.
Further, make sure to read up on your field. Read about a successful business in your area of interest and see what applies to your situation. You want as many details as possible when starting your business.
For example, 42% of small businesses register as an S-corporation. Is this arrangement suitable for your business? Knowing details such as this is necessary if you want your business to be successful from the get-go.
- Create a Plan
It’s hard to become a self-made business owner. Two-thirds of new businesses will survive past 2 years, but only one third will make it past 10 years. As such, it’s important to have a well-thought-out and rational plan when first starting out as a business owner. The plan does not have to be an encyclopedia, but it should nonetheless be comprehensive and well thought out.
- Find Your Ideal Customer
Businesses need customers; when one of the top 3 challenges of running a business is a decline in customer spending, knowing beforehand who is going to buy your product is essential for success.
When trying to identify who your customers are and how to reach them, you need to be as specific as possible. What types of customers do you imagine walking through your door every day? Women? Men? Young? Old? It’s details like these that are crucial towards effectively targeting and capturing a consistent customer base.
- Build a Reputation
52% of small businesses are home-based, so many of you are probably wondering how you’re supposed to build a reputation when you’re new to the game and are lacking a physical presence. Maintaining a blog on a high traffic website and volunteering your services at first are great ways to garner trust amongst potential clients.
Once you have a solid reputation, it will be easy to reach out to and find new customers. Once your reputation is perfected, you’ll probably notice that you’re finding new customers with less effort on your part.
- Get Funding
It takes time for many businesses to become profitable, so you need to secure reliable funding prior to starting your venture. This is not always an easy task, as 27% of businesses surveyed by the NSBA reported that they were not able to receive the funding they needed.
- Build a Team
Starting a business isn’t easy, especially if you’re trying to do it by yourself. There’s no shame in hiring a team. In fact, from 2009 to 2013, 60% of jobs created in the U.S. were from small businesses.
Many are often hesitant to hire a team due to the associated costs, but it’s important to remember that sometimes spending money is required to make money. With a quality team supporting you, you’ll find that your team will probably pay for itself in the long run.
For any new business, one of the main obstacles is the fact that nobody knows you exist. To overcome this, you’ll need to take advantage of the many marketing opportunities available.
Make a marketing plan that lays out your goals, and figure out specific strategies to achieve those goals. You can use channels like social media posts, videos, live streams, and more. For instance, 75% of marketers are increasing their investments in content marketing.
- Get Cash Flow
82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems. To avoid this, you’ll want to get revenue coming in as quickly as possible.
One strategy is to build and launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP); with this, instead of creating something perfect, you create and release something quickly and improve it as you go along. This is efficient and can start bringing in money early on.
- Track Your Metrics
In this day in age, with data available about practically everything from sales to ad clicks, there’s no excuse to not be paying attention to your metrics when starting a business. Despite this, 60% of small business owners don’t track the ROI of their social media activities. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage, as metrics can let you know what’s working and what isn’t.
Make sure to examine your customer records, financials, website traffic, social media engagement, click-throughs, and anything else relevant to growing your business. This will help you measure your progress towards your goals and pick out strategies that will help you reach them.
Although becoming a self-made business owner can be intimidating, there are plenty of opportunities out there if you take the necessary steps.
What are some other useful tips for starting your own business?