A Guide To Starting Your Own Business

The Ultimate Guide on How to Start an Online Business
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You're not following any authors. Next Article -- shares Add to Queue. Image credit: Hero Images Getty Images. Matthew McCreary. Entrepreneur Staff. That why we are here. Check out this step-by-step guide to help turn your big idea into a successful business. Evaluate yourself. What skills do you have? Where does your passion lie?

Where is your area of expertise? How much can you afford to spend, knowing that most businesses fail? How much capital do you need? What sort of lifestyle do you want to live? Are you even ready to be an entrepreneur? Think of a business idea. Here are a few pointers from the article: Ask yourself what's next. What technology or advancement is coming soon, and how will that change the business landscape as we know it?

Can you get ahead of the curve? Fix something that bugs you. People would rather have less of a bad thing than more of a good thing. If your business can fix a problem for your customers, they'll thank you for it.

The Complete Guide to Starting Your Own Business

Most popular. But how do you actually make those sales? Examples: Browsing fashion websites, working on your car, reading fitness subreddits, etc. If you really want all those things, you need to learn to dig deep into what your customers really want and put their needs first. Otherwise, you need to start executing it. Jul 7, Here is a more in-depth guide to help you.

Apply your skills to an entirely new field. Many businesses and industries do things one way because that's the way they've always been done. In those cases, a fresh set of eyes from a new perspective can make all the difference. Use the better, cheaper, faster approach. If so, think about the current offerings and focus on how you can create something better, cheaper or faster. Do market research. Is anyone else already doing what you want to start doing?

If not, is there a good reason why? Using only online resources. Surveying only the people you know. Related: How to Start a Business Online 4. Get feedback. Here are six steps for handling feedback : Stop! Your brain will probably be in an excited state when receiving feedback, and it might start racing to bad conclusions.

Slow down and take the time to consider carefully what you've just heard.

Look for the grain of truth. If someone doesn't like one idea, it doesn't mean they hate everything you've just said. Remember that these people are trying to help, and they might just be pointing out a smaller problem or solution that you should look into further. Seek out the patterns. If you keep hearing the same comments, then it's time to start sitting up and taking notice.

Listen with curiosity. Be willing to enter a conversation where the customer is in control. Ask questions. Figure out why someone liked or didn't like something. How could you make it better? What would be a better solution? Make it official.

The top 7 things NOT to do when starting a business

A quick checklist of things to shore up might include: Business structure LLC, corporation or a partnership, to name a few. Business name Register your business Federal tax ID State tax ID Permits more on permits here License Necessary bank account Trademarks , copyrights or patents While some things you can do on your own, it's best to consult with a lawyer when starting out, so you can make sure you've covered everything that you need.

Write your business plan. Start with name the name of your business, which is harder than it sounds. This article can help you avoid common mistakes when picking. Executive summary. This is a high-level summary of what the plan includes, often touching on the company description, the problem the business is solving, the solution and why now.

Business description. What kind of business do you want to start?

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What does your industry look like? What will it look like in the future? Market strategies.

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Use this question to guide what kind of business you want to start. . some things you can do on your own, it's best to consult with a lawyer when starting out. A business plan is a blueprint that will guide your business from the start-up production, supplies, travel expenses, employee salaries, your own salary, etc.).

What is your target market, and how can you best sell to that market? Competitive analysis. What are the strengths and weakness of your competitors? How will you beat them? Design and development plan. What is your product or service and how will it develop? Then, create a budget for that product or service. Operations and management plan. How does the business function on a daily basis? Finance factors. Where is the money coming from? What sort of projections should you create and what should you take into consideration? Finance your business. Fund your startup yourself.

Bootstrapping your business might take longer, but the good part is that you control your own destiny and equity. Pitch your needs to friends and family. Request a small-business grant. Start by checking out our guide to small-business grants. Then, head over to Grants. Start a crowdfunding campaign online.

Sometimes power is in numbers, and a bunch of small investments can add up to something major. If you think your business might be a fit for something like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you should read up on 10 of the best-crowdfunded businesses ever or check out the most popular crowdfunding websites. Apply to local angel investor groups. Online platforms such as Gust and AngelList and local networking can help you find potential investors who relate to your industry and passion.

Solicit venture capital investors. VCs typically look for big opportunities from proven teams that need a million dollars or more, so you should have some traction before approaching them. Join a startup incubator or accelerator. These companies are designed to help new or startup businesses get to the next level. Most provide free resources, including office facilities and consulting, along with networking opportunities and pitch events. Some, also provide seed funding as well. Negotiate an advance from a strategic partner or customer. If someone wants your product or service bad enough to pay for it, there's a chance they'll want it bad enough to fund it, too.

Variations on this theme include early licensing or white-labeling agreements. Trade equity or services for startup help. For example, you could support a computer system for office tenants in exchange for free office space. Seek a bank loan or line of credit. Here are 10 questions you should ask before applying for a bank loan, including whether you will qualify. If you do meet the requirements, a good place to start for loan opportunities is the Small Business Administration. Develop your product or service. When you are ready to do product development and outsource some of the tasks make sure you: Retain control of your product and learn constantly.

If you leave the development up to someone else or another firm without supervising, you might not get the thing you envisioned. Implement checks and balances to reduce your risk. Hire specialists, not generalists. Get people who are awesome at the exact thing you want, not a jack-of-all-trades type. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Manage product development to save money. Related: Service Businesses to Start Today 9. Start building your team. Whether you need a partner, employee or freelancer, these three tips can help you find a good fit: State your goals clearly.

Make sure everyone understands the vision and their role within that mission at the very start. Follow hiring protocols. When starting the hiring process you need to take a lot of things into consideration, from screening people to asking the right questions and having the proper forms. Here is a more in-depth guide to help you. Establish a strong company culture. What makes a great culture? What are some of the building blocks?

The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

Find a location. Make sure your location is consistent with your particular style and image. Start by considering who your customers are. How important is their proximity to your location? If you're a retail store that relies on the local community, this is vital. For other business models, it might not be. Foot traffic. If you need people to come into your store, make sure that store is easy to find. Remember: even the best retail areas have dead spots.

Accessibility and parking. Is your building accessible? Don't give customers a reason to go somewhere else because they don't know where to park. Sometimes having competitors nearby is a good thing. Other times, it's not. You've done the market research, so you know which is best for your business. Proximity to other businesses and services. This is more than just about foot traffic. You need to be the one in control of your work schedule, not your business. Avoiding that trap begins with awareness. A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to settle for second best. Everything they do at work is driven by a grand vision.

You should always strive to do your best, and you should always aim for the top. But you need to understand your limits, and you need to balance your desire to put out a quality product or service with all of the other demands on your schedule. But the whole point of taking on employees is to free up your time and give those individuals an opportunity to prove themselves and assist your business in finding success.

You hired your employees to do a job, so let them do it.

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Learn to delegate tasks, and place trust in your team to handle all of the day-to-day tasks that would ordinarily decimate your schedule. When a lot of us are short on time but have a long 'to do' list, we instinctively dive into the workload without stepping back to figure out how to finish it logically. That can be a fatal mistake as far as productivity is concerned. Before attempting to tackle a large pile of tasks, you need to compile a list of everything that needs done and create a road map. Teams lose a huge amount of time and energy when employees are duplicating efforts.

This often happens where your team members are required to carry out lots of repetitive processes on an individual level without communicating. To avoid duplicate efforts, it falls on you to provide your employees with a bit of structure.

In the beginning...

Develop detailed processes, create templates for paperwork or production and make sure your team is constantly communicating to ensure everybody is on the same page. If you fail to maintain a clear line of communication between you and your staff, key stakeholders, customers, suppliers and everyone in-between, all of these time-saving strategies are for nothing. Communication is absolutely vital to your success, and it can save you so much time and energy.

Try to avoid back-and-forth email threads, get away from your desk and have real conversations with people in order to settle issues with one swift conversation. But what happens next? Part Four of our guide explains some of the ways in which you can try to advance your new business by exploring innovative ecommerce solutions, but it also offers advice on the ways in which you should be trying to develop your leadership skills and where you can find support to help you manage the ups and downs of life running your new business.

One of the biggest risks start-up owners face is getting comfortable. That sounds like a pretty attractive prospect — but the truth is, it can lead to complacency and ruin. You should constantly be tinkering with processes and trying to improve your business to move forward, achieve your goals and move on towards setting more ambitious targets. But on a microscopic level, you should actively be seeking out and celebrating failures. Try out new packaging design. Tweak your pricing strategy. Start using a new social media platform.

Experiment with multi-buy offers, introduce discounts and pilot innovative new prototypes. As a result, you commit to doing a lot of things you may not be comfortable with — and more often than not, you bite off far more than you can chew. That means being honest with your stakeholders. Sit them down and explain why this task will take longer, and why it will benefit them to wait until the job is done. Honesty is always the best policy. Nobody likes a micromanager — and despite your wealth of knowledge, you do not know as much as you think you do.

There are loads and loads of ways your business could be capitalising on untapped markets that you have no clue about. But you can bet your bottom dollar you know somebody who does. Even the best and brightest entrepreneurs need a helping hand sometimes. Ask people what they think about your business — and more important still, listen to those people.

Take a risk and act on their opinions and knowledge. Remember: this guide is not exhaustive.

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Part One In the beginning How do I get started? I have a great idea — so what's the next step? How do I write a business plan? It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.