A lot of people come up to me and say they have a business idea but they do not know what steps to take next in order to make it happen. And even though their idea is great, they get lost along the way, because they simply do not know the ins and outs of what it takes to startup a business and make it successful.
So, we decided to compile a list that should act as a guide for aspiring entrepreneurs to build the foundation for business success.
Maybe you’ve got a great business idea that will turn into the next Google, Facebook, Twitter or Uber, but you don’t really know how to turn that awesome dream into a reality. In some way, starting a business is pretty much like climbing a mountain. While it may feel overwhelming and daunting when looking at it from the bottom, you need to take it one step at a time so that you are able to reach the top (i.e. your goal).
Use this list as a step-by-step guide that will help you put all the pieces in place so that you are able to start a successful company.
1. First of all, you should do your research. Before diving head first and launching a business you should probably see if your business idea is viable. Moreover, if necessary, you should probably refine it according to the market feed-back. You should probably check out our article on The Market analysis of a business plan.
Also, apart from the market research, another investigation is necessary: make sure you ask yourself the tough questions before you start so that you will avoid as many obstacles as possible later on.
First the personal questions:
- Why am I starting a business?
- Can I do it alone?
- Do I enjoy challenges?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- Do I need new skills and education?
- How do I handle rejection and disappointment?
And the business questions:
- What kind of business do I want?
- What kind of business plan do I need?
- Who is my ideal customer?
- Does my business idea offer real value to customers?
- Who is my competition?
- How does my business differentiate from the competition?
- Do I have enough capital to start right now?
- How will I manage my business?
- How will I market my business?
2. Take a closer look at different business structures. Make sure you read up about the different legal business structures you can adopt so that you can decide what option is best for your newly founded company. As a matter of fact, very few newly founded businesses will start as limited companies; depending on the region you live in, you will probably have to register as a either a sole trader or try to find a business partner.
3. Create a solid business plan. Why do you need a business plan? Well, consider the following: would you build your house without using a blueprint? So why starting a business should be any different?
By writing a professional, solid and well-thought out business plan you will be able to steer your company in the right directions while also steering away from contingencies in the case of unexpected events.
Moreover, the business plan could prove its use if and when you are trying to secure investment. If you need more help on this topic, make sure to check the Business Planning section on our website.
4. Choose a suitable name for your company. While this may not be news to you, you still need to know how important choosing the right name for your business actually is. A company name should have the following characteristics: effectiveness, attractiveness, memorable, unique and fresh. Having a company name that possesses all these or some of the qualities mentioned above, it could very well be the difference between outstanding success and complete failure. Moreover, it should also hint at the type of business you’re running.
And while all the qualities are great, there are also some mistakes you should avoid at all cost. One of these mistakes is to evade creating confusion with your competitors. This can translate into a loss of sales and legal action. Also, nobody wants to perceive you as the ugly sibling who copies what the other brother does.
5. Create a great logo. Logos are considered to be the visual representation of all the things your company stands for in terms of products, services, values. Having a well-crafted logo could potentially determine people that are not familiar with your business to jump ship or to start using your products or services. Moreover, it is the first thing potential clients see. Thus, it is crucial that their first impression is in your favor. So if you’re new at launching a startup and don’t know all that much about designing a logo, you should probably check our article on How to create the perfect logo for your business. You could use an user-friendly online instrument such as Logaster.com.
6. Register a domain name and create a website. After starting your business, customers will go out of their way to learn more about your company on the web. So why not take advantage of this and register a domain name and create a website.
Online marketing is essential when creating and developing your online presence. Create your website while also taking a closer look at SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). This will help you in a tremendous way because not only clients will find you easier and faster but you will also be found by people already searching for what you offer. You should start by doing a keyword research to determine the best words and phrases to use on your website.
7. Set your financial affairs in order. Before you start a company and notice that you can’t handle the invoices and the receipts, you should probably get your accounting affairs in order or create a cash flow system. If you see your business growing beyond the VAT threshold, maybe it’s better if you plan it from the start. But do you know how to find the right accountant for your business? If not, make sure to check our article How to find the right accountant.
Good planning is the key to good luck!