Image via Unsplash
Is entrepreneurship calling your name? Starting your own business is a rewarding way to earn a living, but it’s not as simple as hitting the market with a great idea. If you have a brilliant idea you want to turn into a profitable business, take these five steps before you launch.
A business may be a good idea, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you. Explore your interests to discover the type of business you’d like to run. Then, explore your strengths to decide how you’d like to run it.
For first-time entrepreneurs looking to save on overhead, gig economy businesses are a good choice because you don’t need a brick-and-mortar presence. For example, a dog walker can set their own prices and schedule and be selective about the animals they work with. That said, it still takes great organizational skills to operate an on-the-go business.
Complete Market Research
You have a great idea, but who is going to buy it? If your problem doesn’t meet an identifiable need, you’ll have a hard time finding paying customers. This is where market research comes in. Market research shows you what unmet need exists in your target market, how you can meet it, and how much people are willing to pay. For a step-by-step guide to completing your own market research, read the guide from Envato Tuts+.
Write a Business Plan
The business plan is where you synthesize everything you’ve learned about your business idea and market into an actionable plan. The business plan details:
- What you’ll sell (description of products or services).
- How you’ll produce it (funding, suppliers, manufacturing, and staffing).
- How you’ll sell it (pricing, sales strategy, and marketing plan).
A business plan should also outline your mission, values, business structure, and financial projections, among other components. Basically, anything you need to know to run your business should go in the business plan.
Craft a Brand
This is the fun stuff — picking a name, designing a logo, and choosing a color scheme for your brand. However, it’s serious business too. Your brand has a huge influence on how customers perceive your business. Your brand’s image and voice should be consistent across all platforms, including website copy, social media messaging, images, and in-person communication. Learn more about developing your brand at HubSpot.
Register Your Business
Before you launch your business, there are a few legal steps to attend to:
- Choose a business structure and register your business with the state.
- Apply for sales tax permits.
- Apply for a federal tax ID number.
- Apply for licenses and permits if your industry requires them.
- Apply for a zoning variance for home-based businesses.
In addition to these legally required steps, knock these administrative tasks off your list before starting up:
- Purchase a domain name and create a website.
- Create social media profiles and content calendars.
- Establish record-keeping systems.
- Order business cards.
Once you’ve finished all these steps, you’re ready to launch your business! As you operate your first small business, remember to stay disciplined so you don’t fall behind and take time for self-care so you don’t burn out. There’s a lot to do when running a business, but with focus and dedication, you can get the job done.