Having an incredible idea that you want to transform into a business can be very exciting and you probably can’t wait to get started. Launching and maintaining a successful small business however, can be an overwhelming process and needs to be carefully planned to avoid falling into the many pitfalls that first-time business owners face. Below are some ways to simplify the process of starting your business and ensuring its continued success:
CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN
The number one mistake that many would-be business owners make is trying to conjure up a complex business plan that never gets off the ground, or worse, failing to plan at all. Try to keep everything simple and your costs down to a minimum, while making sure that you take all important influencing factors into account. In your business plan, include your vision, mission, objectives, strategies and the course of action. Conduct a PEST analysis (political, economic, social, technological) to find out what could affect your business, such as changing legislation, rising prices, cultural shifts, or new technology. Look at your business from the inside out as well, with a SWOT analysis, to assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Be sure to analyze your potential customers and competition as well.
Now that you have the research carried out, you’ll need to know how to use it. Think about how you want to reach your customers. Get a website. The majority of the population rely on the internet for information and advice before they act, and not having an online presence could be detrimental to your small business. To secure the URL of your choice, try GoDaddy or HostGator and if your business will be purely carried out online, you might want to hire a UX (user experience) Manager to improve your CTAs (calls to action), color scheme, look and feel of the site, and click and conversion rate.
Experiment with your marketing and social media marketing methods and post your promotion messages and images, discounts and offers at different times of day, when you think your customers are more likely to respond to them. Think about how your product differs from the competition and communicate that to your customers. Successful copywriting appeals to customers wants, not needs, and is benefit not feature driven. So, for example, if you’re selling hiking boots, most people probably won’t know much about breathable mesh fabric, but if you tell them that their feet will stay drier for longer, they’re more likely to want to buy.
ASSESS YOUR FINANCES
Starting a business will require investment and if you want to get your business off the ground quickly, you’ll need to assess your finances and maybe think about getting a business cash advance to cover your start-up costs. While many people wait until they have saved up enough to invest in their new project, using an external source of finance will speed up the process, and you can find out if you pre-qualify for a loan for your small business without any cost.
DECIDE ON THE LEGAL ENTITY
Legally setting up your business can be expensive, from municipality licensing and business entity fees, to state incorporation, and more. Do your research and try to determine the fees charged in your area. If you’re testing the waters, register as a sole proprietor, as this translates into less paperwork and upfront costs.
Starting your own business can be challenging and risky, but with the right planning and research you can increase your chances of success and sustainability.
Michael Peggs is the founder of digital marketing agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.