Want to start your own business? Are you joining the growing ranks of new business owners or entrepreneurs? Welcome! You’re in for a wild, yet rewarding ride… if you know the essential steps to start a business.
Whether you are you opening an online business, a service-based business, or a brick-and-mortar storefront. No matter what type of business you’re starting, there are a couple of things that you should be planning for, or really understanding, before you get too far into this game.
After you know what business you’re opening, there is a large list of things that need to be done before you open for business. If you’re wondering where to start and what new business best practices you should be planning for, here are 4 of the most important steps to starting a business:
Finding your Why
Starting around 2 – 3 years of age, we start asking “why?” Even as adults now we’re still asking and being asked this question. So, we’re going to ask you this right now. Why? Why are you starting a business? This is one of the crucial first steps to starting your business.
We all have our reasons. Some want to turn our passion or hobby into a money-maker, others are looking for a way to bring in income while spending more time with family, and some genuinely want to be of service to others. Perhaps you want more financial and time freedom?
Before starting your business, understand why you are starting this journey. Do you have an entrepreneurial family and it already runs in your veins? Maybe you have personally experienced great results by using a specific product and want to share that with the world.
Learn more about Finding Your Why through our article: The Power of Finding Your Why.
What is your motivation for starting your business?
In our experience, one of the steps to starting a business that most people dread, or sometimes just skip altogether, is their business plan! Even though it may seem scary from the outside, its importance can’t be stressed enough. It’s really not that difficult to create as long as you have the right templates, support, and dedication to create it.
When planning for your new business it’s important to be clear about your key differentiating factors. How will you stand out in a sea of similar and competing businesses? This will involve doing some competitive research to see what services and benefits similar businesses are offering.
We’re not asking you to write a master’s thesis! No one expects your business plan to be lengthy. There are several templates and examples you can use, and even our LEARN and REACH course packages have more detailed information about what you should consider when business planning.
And finally, your business plan doesn’t need to be chiselled in stone. It’s a document that is expected to change as your business changes directions and grows. Don’t be afraid to go back and review your business plan in a year (or more) from now. You never know what might change.
Read more on Business Planning from our article: Write Your Business Plan in Five Simple Steps.
When doing your business plan, another thing to really nail down is about your ideal clients and customers. Which segues us into our next topic, and your next step to starting a business.
Knowing who your target customer is, is essential to business success. It helps you better understand what their needs and pain points are so you can best create products and solutions to specifically address them. Depending on your business, you may actually create several personas, one for each key type of customer.
To create a target persona, pick one specific customer/client type (for example a stay-at-home-mom in her 30s with weight insecurities). Start writing down attributes for that person, as they relate to your business. Consider things like their pain points or struggles, income group, how much they would likely spend on your business, when and where they like to buy, what related websites and publications they read or frequent…etc.
You can even print out an illustration or picture of this person if it helps you make them more real. Create a separate persona for your key customer groups, and use it when developing your products/services, and when planning for your marketing strategies.
Learn more about Target Personas from our article How To Create a Target Persona.
Digital Marketing Essentials
Having a solid business is great. But, you need to put your business in front of your target customers through marketing. This is why we recommend all new business not skip this essential step to starting your business.
Here are three essential online marketing areas to consider:
- Have a website. So many of us look up a new business online before we make our buying decisions. If your business can’t be found or doesn’t have a website, you may have lost a customer! Even if it’s a basic 1-page website, that’s better than no website. However, we do recommend at least a couple of pages on your website so you can go into more detail about who you are, what you do, and how to contact you.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is how you will be found in search engines like Google when people are looking for what you offer. In a nutshell, SEO is about finding the top keyword phrases people put into Google when they are looking for a business like yours. Then you need to optimize your website content for these words. Your selected keyword needs to be used in certain specific places on your page, and there are whole strategies about which keywords to choose and where to place them to get the most benefit. We go into this in more detail in our REACH Course Package.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM): Having a presence on social media is also crucial. It is a great, easy, and low-cost way to interact on a more personal level with your prospective and current customers. It’s another way to tell people about your business and any launches, sales, promotions, or news. For your best opportunity for success when using social media as an online marketing tool for your business, carefully pick which social media channels will work best for your audience (go back to your customer personas), and dedicate yourself to these channels.
Your to-do list to start up your next business may be lengthy, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Focus on one part at a time and give it your best effort. Also, remember that it’s ok to change your plans if things change or go in an unexpected direction.
We believe it starts with understanding your “why” for going into business, dedicating time to creating a proper business plan, truly understanding your customers by creating target personas, and getting your online marketing in place. These 4 things will get you on your way to starting a growing, successful business.
My Business Skills has developed a set of course bundles for entrepreneurs who need help in all these new business essentials. The LEARN Course contains 3 of our most popular planning courses, and the REACH Course contains these popular courses but 3 more marketing-focused topics. Check out these courses or book a consultation if you want more one-on-one coaching support to start your business.