One of the scariest and most exhilarating moments in life is quitting your job to start your own business. You’ve fostered a business idea, written a business plan, and secured the capital. Now, you’re ready for the clinking of champagne toasts at the grand opening. Not all of us are there yet. We’re conditioned to believe that stability comes in the form a traditional career pathway. College, interview, office job, executive, 401 (k). But remember, every multi-national corporation started with a different approach. Before becoming tech empires, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, and Google, all had modest beginnings in a garage. Another thing these businesses have in common is they have a systematic method outlining the ins-and-outs of how to start your own business.
Read on to learn how to start your own business the right way.
There are a lot of moving parts involved in opening a business. It’s a dynamic move with some variables you can control and some you can’t. Securing your business’s success is dependent on not leaving things up to chance. Diligence, tenacity, and passion turn unanticipated challenges into a business plan. Business is a risk. But it should be a calculated risk. Six Steps Toward Building a Successful Business Overcoming Doubts and Crafting Your Vision Making a courageous decision to open a small business takes believing in your ideas and using your skill-set to bring this to fruition. Believing in your business idea is believing in yourself. Many entrepreneurs can have a seemingly full-proof business model but fail to execute when the pressure comes. Successful business owners find pathways with limited liability, but unforeseen events happen. Construction begins on the road outside your storefront. A competitor opens with a unique product line making your product or service obsolete. Your business experiences a lack of cash flow during the slow season. These hindrances are real situations that you may have to maneuver around. The good news is that there are plenty of free resources to develop a refined business plan. SCORE chapters, your local Chamber of Commerce, and business blogs are all at your disposal. Yet the one free resource you have is yourself.
Visualize how you plan to open a business.
What does your business look like? Are you making thousands of dollars running an e-commerce store or brick-and-mortar? What industry appeals to you? What types of business do you think running would fit you? Knowing your expectations can help channel inhibitions to action. Once you find a market niche and business concept you’re passionate about, you can begin your initial research. Finding Your Target Market Before you begin running a small business you need to find key target audience. This means researching demographics of the area you plan to open a location in, or digitally market toward. For instance, say you want to open a gym with a membership to establish a recurring revenue stream. Your typical member is between 24 and 65, has an annual income of $45,000, and pays with their membership with credit cards. This consumer lives within a five-mile radius of your planned location. Also, market research shows the convenience factor is this person’s strongest appeal to visit a local business.
You will begin making rich customer profiles. The more you research your key demographic, the more information you have as a tool to actualize your business.
Finding a target market helps bring you to your customer, not the other way around. If your average customer values the ability to workout in your gym 24/7 it is worth investing in a magnetic key-card and security system. As you design your brand—the narrative of your business—you should look to what appeals to your target customer. Don’t paint your walls blue when your customer prefers green. Marketing Plan Developing a successful local marketing campaign is a full-time job and business owners should treat it as one. In the digital world, marketing looks much different than it did even ten years ago. Journalists are competing with key influencers like blog writers. This makes press releases and newspaper ads much less effective. SEO is vital. Your business must appear within the first five listings on a search engine results page. If it doesn’t, this severely weakens your business’ visibility and likelihood of attracting customers. Customers still praise brands via word-of-mouth. But, the praise is posted on social media and crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp. What modern business owners can look forward to is that marketing efforts are less expensive, offer more control, and have instant feedback. The tools to promote a business are all at a business owner’s fingertips. A pragmatic marketing plan embraces social media.
Find out what your target market uses and build your network on this platform
To reach potential customers, post engaging content, promotions, and sales. You can amplify the most important posts you want customers to see. Start blogging about your business. Many small businesses can start off with basic postings on relevant information about your business. This will help with SEO. A good rule of thumb is that high-quality posts mean better rankings—pushing your business to the top of search engine result pages. If you have the funds, you can consider hiring an inbound marketing team. Finally, create your promotions for your target market.
The Small Business Administration is a branch of the government
- Devoted to stimulating the economy by supporting small business.
- The SBA incentivizes lenders to loan money to small businesses.
- These loans guarantee the majority of the loan based on SBA standards.
- If a business defaults, the lender doesn’t lose as much. This makes it less risky for lenders.
- Interest rates are usually between 6 and 13% with terms up to 25 years.
- The most popular loan program is the 7(a) loan.
More than 70% of small businesses take advantage of receiving invoice financing through an online vendor. These are typically short-term loans financed with collateral from outstanding invoices. Term parameters are between 3 and 18 months with interest rates around 14%. Qualifying for a business credit card is less rigorous than some short-term loans. Credit cards have high limits and can be useful for immediate small purchases. Interest rates vary but can be in a high range between 10 to 22%. Final Thoughts Opening a small business is tons of work but can show huge monetary returns. This is only half the incentive to begin running your business. Knowing you built something from the ground up is an amazing feeling. If you’re ready to explore your entrepreneurial side, we wish you luck!