Want to start a business? Go for it! We live in a day and age where there is so much education and resources to get you started. Owning your own business can be a great day job or side job.
Decide what it is that is driving you to start a business, and read ahead on the top 10 things you should be doing when starting a business.
1. Know your why
Why did you want to go into business? Knowing your why is so important because that will be what will keep you going if times get tough. Remember what inspired you to start. Understand that your why was what got your started to help somebody else’s need. Your why is going to keep guiding you in the direction you started from the beginning.
If you don’t have a why, you don’t have a business. Why do your customer need you? Why is your competition afraid of you? Why did you need this business in the first place? Your why will be your pathway in guiding you.
2. Create a solid business plan
After knowing your why, creating a solid business plan is probably the most important step you can do in the process. Your business plan will help set a blue print for the business. It is essentially a guide to the future company for everything you do. It explains everything your business is going to do and how it’s going to do it.
It will help you plan out your vision, marketing plan, goals, competition, and financials amongst other things. There are many free templates that will help you get started. Take your time with your business plan. Your business plan may also be a 30 to 50-page document. It is essentially all the research you need to get started. Take it seriously.
This blog has some amazing templates for starting your business plan.
3. Get the education or experience you need
Are you an expert in your business? Even if you had a great idea, you have got to have either the expertise, the education or the experience needed to be successful. You don’t necessarily need a collage education, but be educated in what you are doing.
You want to start a sandwich shop? Consider working at one first. Want to start a daycare, get a job at one first. Sometimes the best thing you can do is start at the bottom, and understand the work flow processes required to run a business. The best CEOs and owners I have met are the ones that have been in the trenches.
4. Get a good CRM
A CRM is a customer relationship management tool. Basically it is a system that keeps track of all your customers. It helps you know their names, contact information, and anything else you want to track. Having a CRM from the beginning will help you keep track of leads, customers, and even sales.
By doing it from the beginning, this will help you time and time again with sales and marketing.
Leads and customers are what is going to grow your business. There are many affordable and free options out there. Don’t lose your leads.
5. Create a plan for growing big
This can be included in your business plan, but it is also a separate issue to really understand.
Some businesses have gone out of business because they grew too fast. They didn’t have a plan in place in the event when they grew too big to meet the supply and demand problem.
It seems magical to be an overnight success, but that could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Have a plan in place to do that. Before you start your business, have solutions in place to make sure you are set.
6. Don’t rush into affiliates and partnerships until you are ready
An affiliate is a person who is attached to your organization that may sell your product and services. They may or may not need to be a customer or use the service, depending on how your business is set up. A partnership is when you have an agreement with multiple owners or even VIP affiliates who are big influencers. The reason why you shouldn’t rush into this yet is because you may set up agreements that may not work for your business long term.
Make sure your affiliate program is exactly what and how you want it for when you grow. Be careful about what agreements you make with others and that it benefits your company and isn’t self-serving to them. Be wary of others who try to talk you into what they want. You are the business owner, and you set the terms. Affiliates can be the most amazing resource you have, make it right for both parties.
7. If you’re not changing, your dying
A growing business is a successful business. It's ok to always be changing. In fact, it’s great!
When you're changing, you're growing and adapting. That means new employees, new processes, and new revenue. However, if you’re not always changing, your business could be starting to die.
The last thing you need is a stagnate business. If it is, look at your sales, marketing, business plan, processes, or even your employees. A great way to do this is through a SWOT analysis.
Understand your strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This will help guide you in starting your new business.
8. Know your competition
Understand your competition. Know their prices and their processes. You might discover that you may have a better way to do something that they don’t. You may also learn that your competition may know what they’re doing and you will have to find ways to compete with that.
One great way is to secret shop your competition. Go to places as a customer. Call in for quotes and see how they handle situations. Check their websites at least a few times a year to know if they are adding services or changing their prices. Stay ahead of them.
9. Location, Location, Location
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Rome was a great location to build. Your location can make or break you. If you don’t have the right foot traffic or vehicle flow, your customers will forget about you. Really research your location options.
Also, if you are not a brick and mortar shop, understand your online presence. Sometimes location may equate to your online presence. Your social media and marketing need to be working for you. There are millions of people online, build your “location” for them to be successful.
10. Set goals, achieve your goals
Setting goals and achieving them is so important. Once it is written down, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time oriented. This SMART goal acronym can help guide you.
If it's specific, you know exactly what it is. By measuring you can understand your progress. Attainable means it is realistic, and that you can get there. Your goal also needs to have relevance to your purpose. Time oriented will help you know your deadlines.
See this blog for some great tips on goal setting!