Starting your business is so exciting! You have an incredible product or service that you are ready to share with the world but you also have a zillion questions about starting your business. Allow us to help!
Prepare for the exciting journey ahead with the tips below. The tips below will help you launch an organized, efficient business that keeps your customers coming back for more!
- Mental Readiness
- Planning Your Business
- Establishing Legal and Accounting Structure
- 20. Separate Your Personal and Business Finances
- Setting Expectations and Getting Organized
- 26. Invoice Promptly
- Create Your Marketing Plan And Strategies
- Building A Great Team
- Building Strong Customer Relationships
- Develop Your Business Acumen
- 45. Work With Integrity
- Ready to Start Your Business?
Mentally preparing to start your business is essential. Before starting your business, make sure you are mentally ready. Below are some tips that will help you become mentally prepared and better manage your emotions and stress.
1. Profits are Rewards, Not the Primary Goal
Becoming a business owner is much more than making money. Business is about creating sustainability and learning along the journey. The profits are the rewards for your persistence and dedication to growing the business.
2. Hard Work Ahead
Starting your own business will require hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember to embrace realistic expectations for the amount of time and effort that running your business will require.
3. Failure is an Opportunity
Failures and mistakes are where you learn and grow the most. Your mistakes don’t define your future, they shape your success. When starting your own business, failures are character-building and learning opportunities.
4. Be a Lifelong Learner
Lifelong learning will help you adapt to unexpected changes and help you to step out of your comfort zone. Learning about business operations and researching trends and innovations will inspire you to improve or change your business practices. Learning is how you can keep your passion which is key to the success of your business.
5. Don’t Fear the Competition
When competition exists, there’s a market for your business. Competition is motivation. Competitors force you to aim higher, to think differently, and to come up with creative, new ideas.
6. Be Flexible
Flexibility supports success. Your ability to pivot and adapt to challenges as they arise will determine the success of your business.
7. Patience is a Virtue
Patience helps you to avoid making hasty and costly business decisions. It takes time to build a successful business. While silencing doubts, your patience will enable you to work steadily toward your goals.
Planning Your Business
Taking time to plan for your business is essential. Pausing to plan in the beginning stages of your business will save you loads of time, frustration, and fatigue down the line. The tips in this section will help you develop your ideas into a profitable business.
8. Let Your Passion be Your Business Idea
A passion is a value that holds significant meaning to you or an activity you enjoy. You will find your business idea by combining your passion with something that the marketplace values. When you combine your passion with business you will be able to create authentic products/services that will set you apart from competitors.
9. Test Everything
Test your business idea/concept to determine whether people need or want your service/product.
- Test that the problem exists
- Test that the problem is big enough to make people or businesses change
- Test that you have a solution to the problem
- Test that someone will pay for your solution (if they won’t, it’s not the right solution)
After testing your idea, you can determine if it is profitable.
10. Study Your Competitors and Customers
To manage a successful business, you must know your customers and competitors well. Studying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors can help you see an opportunity to develop your unique selling point.
11. Price is Not Your Competitive Advantage
Competing on price might give you a competitive edge for a while, but you must also compete on quality and work on adding value to customers if you want long-term success. If you base your prices solely on competitors, you might risk selling at a loss.
12. Finance Your Business
When starting your own business, it’s important to know how much money you will need to get your product/service to market. Take some time to realistically forecast your start-up expenses.
Below are some of the ways to fund your business:
- Bootstrapping is starting a company with only personal savings.
- Small business loans could be an option if you don’t have enough money.
- Crowdfunding is a way of raising money to finance projects and businesses. It enables fundraisers to collect money from many people via online platforms.
- Investors provide start-up money for your business in exchange for a percentage of your business.
13. Write a Business Plan
A business plan doesn’t need to be lengthy or complicated. Instead, your plan should include your goals, target audience, and how your sales and marketing strategies will support your business goals.
View your business plan as a living document that you can revise as you become more knowledgeable about your business. As your business grows and changes over time, your business plan should change along with it.
14. Choose a Business Location
Find a location that best fits the needs of your business, one that offers an opportunity for growth and is accessible to customers.
Alternatively, office space is not a required expense as working from home has become more commonplace since the pandemic. With platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, you can hold virtual client meetings. For in-person meetings, you can rent meeting space when needed.
Establishing Legal and Accounting Structure
Creating legal and accounting structures is critical when starting your own business. The legal and accounting aspects of your business may not be the most exciting but they are the most important. Explore the tips below for help getting your legal and accounting structures running smooth.
15. Determine the Legal Structure
Specific legal and tax implications exist depending on how you plan to structure your business. Below is a list of business structures:
- A sole proprietorship is a business that one individual owns.
- A partnership is starting a business with one or more individuals to share profits and losses.
- A corporation is a business entity owned by its shareholders, who elect a board of directors to oversee the company’s activities. The corporation is liable for the actions and finances of the business – the shareholders are not.
- A limited liability company is a business entity that prevents shareholders from being liable for the company’s financial losses and debt liabilities. In business failure, the company assumes liability, not its shareholders.
- A Cooperative is owned and controlled by the people to meet their needs through a jointly-owned business.
16. Naming Your Business
Decide on a unique and distinctive name that best reflects what your business offers. Pick something easy to pronounce and remember.
17. Register Your Business Name
If your business name is available, register it and have it trademarked at the state and federal levels and secure a domain name.
18. Buy Insurance
Business insurance protects your business from property damage, liability, or even employee injury. If you’re working from home, be sure that your homeowner’s insurance covers theft or damage to business assets.
19. Establish Your Accounting and Payroll System
There are accounting and payroll software systems that will help to free up your time to focus on the parts of your business that only you can do. When selecting an accounting software system, you should evaluate all offerings, including compliance, reporting, tracking, and available add-ons. Alternatively, you can hire an accountant if you can comfortably handle the expenses.
20. Separate Your Personal and Business Finances
Once you set yourself up as a legal business entity, you must open a business bank account. A business bank account separates your personal and business assets and is essential in case you ever get audited.
21. Be Careful of What You Write Off
While it’s true that business owners can write off more than employees, there is a risk in taking this too far. Therefore, your deductions should be limited to those things that only relate to operating your business. For example, if you can’t document and cite a connection between the write-off and the operation of your business, you could trigger audits or fines.
Setting Expectations and Getting Organized
Getting organized is an aspect of business ownership that often gets overlooked. Don’t underestimate the importance of having systems and processes to stay organized. Your future self and customers will thank you for taking the time to get organized.
22. Set Business Hours
By setting business hours, you can create a schedule, and clients/customers will know when to expect to hear from you. It also lets you structure your workday into rhythms that enable maximum productivity.
23. Set Customer/Client Expectations
Running your own business is hard work, but burnout won’t help you succeed. Setting realistic expectations with clients/customers about your availability will create a work/life balance to maintain your energy levels. After all, there’s no point in running your own business if it makes you miserable.
24. Designate Time for Appointments and Meetings
Let your clients know that you are available for appointments and meetings but are only sometimes available for other kinds of contact. Phone calls, excessive emails, and messaging can waste your precious time and focus.
25. Keep Detailed Records
Detailed records can show whether your business is improving or what changes you need to make. The following documents will be invaluable to your business: financial statements, purchases, expenses, deductible expenses, and assets.
26. Invoice Promptly
Customer/client invoices should be presented immediately upon delivery of your goods or services to the customer or as soon as reasonably possible.
27. Make Sure Clients Pay Their Bills
Be sure to receive payment for your products or services and establish a time frame for payment.
28. Automate Specific Processes
Business automation simplifies all areas of a business by automatically accomplishing tasks that you or an employee would otherwise have to do manually. Identify processes in your business that could be automated.
Create Your Marketing Plan And Strategies
You have a great product/service. Make sure you have a plan to get your product/service seen by the right people. A marketing plan and strategies, will help you design effective promotions and impactful campaigns and reach your customers with targeted advertising.
29. Write a Marketing Plan
Take some time to draft a marketing plan. Your marketing plan should outline your goals and objectives, target audience, strategies, timeline, and budget.
30. Spend Wisely
A marketing budget should include many ways to reach customers. Avoid spending all your marketing dollars in one area, as you risk missing potential customers.
31. Create a Website
Building and maintaining a website is easier and less expensive than you might think. Even if you aren’t tech-savvy or creative, there are website builder platforms you can use to create a cost-effective and high-quality business website.
32. Optimize Your Website
After creating a website, focus on search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines can drive traffic to your website when a potential customer searches for specific keywords for your products/services. In turn, this helps convert website visitors into customers.
33. Establish a Social Media Presence
Social media allows you to connect and engage with your customers where they are: LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Use your social media accounts consistently by scheduling posts regularly and interacting with your followers.
34. Create Relevant Content
Creating content that is relevant to your product/service. Whether you are creating videos, blog posts, social media posts, or email campaigns, be sure to speak to your ideal customer. Add value through your content by posting helpful, educational videos to build stronger connections with your target audience.
35. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a way to build a relationship with your audience and keep them engaged over time. Add a form to your website to collect email addresses from visitors. Send your email subscribers updates about your services/products.
36. Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth marketing is a powerful way to market your business. Potential customers might not take your word for it when you tell them about your service and product but they will trust a recommendation from someone they know. When you are just starting out, ask your friends and family members to tell people they know about your business.
Building A Great Team
Team building improves productivity, encourages collaboration, and increases employee motivation and creativity. Build a team that support your business goals and ambitions with the following tips.
37. Find the Right Service Providers
If you don’t plan to have employees, you’ll still need a great team. Your team could include a lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper, marketing expert, website designer, shipping company, etc. You can’t be an expert in everything. You need to find the right experts to help your business grow.
38. Find a Mentor
No matter what business you are starting, learning from someone experienced is always ideal. Your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same industry but it helps to mentor under someone who has knowledge and experience in the areas you wish to grow in.
39. Hire the Right Employees
Hiring the right employees ensures they grow with you and contribute to the overall success of your business. The best hiring approach is to look for the right person to fill a specific need or skill set rather than just filling a desk.
40. Start Networking
A strong network can make all the difference when starting your business. Prioritize networking so you can start building relationships with people who can help you with your business goals. Start networking by building connections with people you already know, joining networking groups online, and identifying fellow businesses you’d like to connect with.
Building Strong Customer Relationships
Strong customer relationships are vital for the future growth of your business. Getting to know your potential customers and leaving them with a good impression will have a positive impact on the future of your business. Start building strong customer relationships with the tips below.
41. Know Your Customer
Learn what your customers/clients want by sending surveys, conducting one-on-one interviews, or assembling focus groups.
42. Engage in Two-Way Communication
Communication is essential to building customer/client relationships. Promoting your business and listening to your customers is equally important. Rather than just telling customers/clients about your business, have conversations with them. Find out what your customers/clients need, then show them you have a solution to their problem.
43. Ask for Feedback
Ask for customer/client feedback to help identify your customers/clients’ needs so you can make necessary changes to improve your product/service.
44. Show Appreciation
Appreciating customers/clients makes them feel valued. The following are ways to show customer appreciation:
- Write a thank-you note.
- Thank customers with a free product or service.
- Show appreciation to your customers on social media.
- Host a customer appreciation event.
- Sponsor community events or organizations that your customers support.
Develop Your Business Acumen
Business acumen is a non-negotiable when it comes to running your own business. As a business owner, you will need to be able to make judgements and quick decisions while maintaining integrity and excellence. Keep reading to find out how to build your business acumen.
45. Work With Integrity
You can demonstrate integrity in your professional interactions by respecting others and taking responsibility for your actions–even when nobody’s watching.
46. Strive For Excellence
Push yourself to deliver the highest quality performance in everything you do.
47. Be Consistent
Consistently building relationships with partners, customers/clients, and employees becomes a foundation for your business’s long-term success and growth.
48. Define Your Own Success
Success is about perception. Just because your business hasn’t made you a millionaire doesn’t mean that your business is a failure. So if you can make a profit doing something you’re passionate about, isn’t that a success?
49. Take Calculated Risks
You shouldn’t wing it when it comes to starting your business. Instead, you should learn how to take calculated risks. There’s no gambling or luck involved in calculated risks. Careful analysis of the pros and cons in decisions big and small will pay off big when it comes to starting and growing your business.
50. Become a Problem Solver
Solve business problems by collecting relevant information to assess available solutions, then apply your understanding of the consequences to choose the right course of action.
Ready to Start Your Business?
Congrats on starting your own business! The tips above are sure to give you the upper hand as you begin the exciting journey of business ownership.