For a lot of people, having their own business and being their own boss is a lifelong goal. Whether it’s a hobby you want to turn into a full-time job or just a brand new venture you have in mind, if you have the drive – you have the possibility. But starting your first business is a daunting task in between all the legal, financial, and business decisions you’ll have to throw yourself into. So to make sure you’re not just throwing yourself to the wolves, here are a few tips to help you succeed in your first or next business venture:
- Do Your Research
Throwing yourself into something blind is never a good idea. You might think that your ideas are new and fresh and you have a whole new approach, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find that most of the things you want to do are things that someone has already tried, and you can learn from their mistakes or their successes. So your phase one should always be asking around, reading up, and networking with people in the industry to try and get a scope of the situation before diving in.
A big part of this will be scoping out the competition. Go out and try your competitors’ products and services. Be realistic about what is good and what can be improved, listen to what the people are saying and what they are looking for. This will be your guiding star to a successful product. If you just keep thinking your product is the best just because it’s yours, you won’t be on the right path.
- Have Your Personal Life in Order
Starting a business will always add additional stress and strain to your life, so if you’re already struggling to hold all of the reins in your hands, adding a business on top is not your smartest move. We’re not only talking about time and general management here, you also need to have your finances in check, as lenders will often look at your credit to see if they should loan you funds to start a business.
Speaking of loans and funds, starting a business, no matter how small, takes money. It’s an expensive venture, and unless you have a good deal saved up, you’re going to need to get a loan. Remember there are a lot of different ways you can get financed, so looking at options like small business loans with Nav will help you see all the options that are out there. You always want to start small – get just enough to get up and running, and then pay off that loan and reinvest from the profits. What you don’t want as a small business is to get stuck in an endless loop of loans and paying them off without actually having your funds to use and invest.
- Get Comfortable with Administration
Most people don’t know the first thing about business administration and bookkeeping, but it’s the first thing that can get you in trouble with the law and with yourself if you’re not careful. Even if you’re going to hire someone to take care of all the books, you still want to know about it yourself. Take a quick beginners course or just go online and learn the basics. This will ensure that you have a firm grip on your business and you know what is happening in and out at one glance over the records.
- Hire Contract Workers and Freelancers
If you’re just a business owner who does work or sells something, there’s a lot of administration and responsibility. But if you become a full-time employer, you triple that responsibility. So in the beginning, it might be way more beneficial for you to hire people for specific jobs or specific periods, since you will have the work done, and there is far less burden on you. This is also a good way to figure out what kind of people you need and to start with those who are fully committed to doing what they do since freelancers are some of the biggest experts in their field.
- Commit to Marketing
A lot of people are surprised when they find out that for the average product, more money is spent on marketing and advertising than on the actual product. There’s barely a market in the world that isn’t oversaturated, so you need to spend a lot of funds to reach your target audience and make them familiar with both your product and your brand, at the same time convincing them to choose you over the competitor. So get a good marketing team or agency and get the word out there.
- Have a Long-term Plan
You can’t be looking just one month ahead. You might have a plan for what you’ll do after your first sales – and then what? Just having a vague idea about what it is you want to do isn’t enough. You need to have a step-by-step plan with how you plan to grow your business for the next decade. And then a backup plan and a backup for that backup. Not only is a plan like this necessary to make sure you can secure a loan, but it will help guide you in the future.
- Find the Right People
We’ve talked about who you might want to hire, but now let’s talk about partners. Having a good business partner can make or break your business. Whether it’s your spouse, best friend, or a stranger you share a vision with, you need to get to know them and see if you can work together. If you can’t stand each other and you bicker and fight – you’ll have the same dynamic within the business and it will suffer.
In the end, there’s only one tip: Stop dreaming and just start. There are a billion people on the planet who have the best ever idea for a business. The difference between them and successful business owners is that one got going. And if you want to be one of those – then get going. Sure, you might stumble and the first few steps will be hard and long, but it will all be worth it in the end. Starting a business is always opening a new chapter in your life, and if you think you’re ready for that step in your life, take these tips and run with them into your new adventure.