Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Starting a business can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience, no matter how confidently you may be diving into the startup world. With so much constantly on your plate, it’s only natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. You want to make sure you’re doing everything in your power to turn your idea into a lucrative reality, but there are so many working pieces that need to be set in stone before you and your business can truly take flight.
Between taking the time to develop a business plan to weighing every measure needed for perfect execution, there are a myriad of steps all ambitious small business owners should take in getting their startup off the ground. We’re here to walk you through the most important steps you need to take to invest in your startup’s success both short-term and long-term.
Step 1. Research your market
You’ve got a brilliant idea, a service or product to make it a business, but do you understand the market for it? A bit of research can better prepare you for the current landscape of the market you’re going to dive into. A research job well done will give you better insight into what your business goals should be and how your service or product should be manufactured and marketed to dominate the market.
If at the end of your research, you can’t quite figure out how your service or product will stand apart from your competitors, it may be time to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Step 2. Devise a business plan
Going into the startup world blindly is a sure recipe for disaster, so it’s well worth your time to dedicate plenty of time to devising a highly detailed business plan that covers as many nitty-gritty details as possible. No need to start from scratch—the Small Business Administration’s business plan template is your one-stop-shop solution for organizing your ideas and fleshing out the who, what, where, when, why, and how.
According to the SBA’s template, the most essential components of a good business plan include:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Organization and management
- Service or product line
- Marketing and sales
- Funding request
Step 3. Find your funding
Now comes the big question: how are you going to fund your business? Every good entrepreneur knows that you have to spend money to make money but coming up with that initial spending money is crucial for any startup. You’re going to need enough money to cover a variety of expenses including everything from licenses and rent to inventory and equipment.
A few viable avenues for sourcing money for your startup include:
- Self-funding with your own money
- Online crowdsourcing
- A small business loan
- Angel investors and venture capitalists
- From friends, family, and colleagues
Step 4. Build your brand
A brand is so much more than a recognizable name and logo—it’s the very thing that distinguishes your company from the next. Every business has a unique name, color scheme, font selection, and tone of voice. Each of these elements factor into the outside perception consumers interact with and eventually buy into. Building your brand is crucial if you want to stand out in your crowded market.
Step 5. Plan your marketing strategy
How are you planning on attracting and building a loyal clientele? How will you reach consumers and how will you get them interested and invested in your company? Your marketing plan should answer these head-scratching questions.
To get there, heed the 10 key components of a good marketing plan:
- Market research
- Target market
- Mission statement
Step 5. Hire help
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it certainly wasn’t built alone. Growing your team is a crucial part of growing your business and setting your startup up for success. Between asking yourself what kind of employee your business needs and how long does it take for a background check, there are a number of key considerations you’ll need to sift through before settling on the standout candidates in your first pool of applicants.
Hiring the right employees is integral to the success of your business. Because you likely don’t have time or money to be wastedon wishy-washy employees, it pays to take your time during the hiring process, and thoroughly screen every candidate before making any final decisions.
Scary as it may seem, knowing the success of your business lies in your hands can also be freeing. As you grow your startup, don’t forget to enjoy the process, and keep your eyes on the prize.