A lot of people are getting encouraged to create a business even if it is small. And even more so today with the crisis that exists in which having a job is no longer a safe option and the salaries are getting worse.
The big problem is that, there you are, determined to open your own business, with all the illusion of the world and willing to work 12 hours a day if necessary but you don’t know anything about business. You don’t know whether to start an online business or a physical one, nor what to sell or what services to offer; you have no idea if you will need a lot or a little capital to start it, or how to attract customers and promote yourself to increase your profits.
You’re in luck: here I’m going to show you the 8 steps you need to take to start a business, from what type of venture is best for you, to how to get funding, to how to register your business and create a marketing plan to have a good customer base.
Think about what your business will be
This step is clear to you: if you want to start a business, you must have an idea of what it is going to be. However, there are many people who, although they are clear that they want to start an activity of this type, they do not know what to do.
Here is some advice to clarify your ideas…
To create a successful business, you must combine 3 important factors: something you like, something you know or have skills in, and something that is interesting to others.
So, think about those 3 factors and make a list to decide on one venture or another.
Make your business plan
Do you know what business you’re going to put in? If so, before you start going crazy looking for ways to attract customers or where to get the money you need, it is imperative that you make your business plan.
A business plan is a kind of “guide” where you will see the most important ideas of your project to guide you throughout the process.
Although the name may seem a bit complicated to prepare, do not worry, it is not as difficult as you think, and will be very useful both to take the first step to set up your business, as to solve future problems once you have opened your doors to your customers.
Your business plan does not need to be and you will need to answer the following basic questions:
- What is your business going to be?
- What are you going to sell in your business (products, services, etc.)?
- Who your customers will be (men, women, what ages they are, what interests them, how much they earn)?
- How will you reach them (social networks, magazine advertising, brochures in their mailboxes)?
- Who your competitors are and how you can differentiate yourself from them?
- Where are you going to put your business (Internet, a physical location…)?
- What equipment, materials, and expenses you will have (to create a budget of the necessary capital)?
- How you will manage to finance your project if you need capital (investors, your savings, your family)?
- What risks are there?
Seek financing if you need it
The next step is to find the money you need to start your business, if you need it.
Create your ideal customer profile
Sure, for you your ideal customer is anyone who comes into your business and spends $500 at once; but when we talk about the ideal customer profile, we mean the people who are going to buy what you offer.
If you’re going to sell women’s dresses that cost $150, chances are a man is not your ideal customer, and a woman with a very low salary is not your ideal customer either because she can’t afford it.
That’s why it’s so important to identify your ideal client by profiling them.
Ask yourself if they are a man, a woman or children, what their ages are, what their tastes are, what things they buy and where they buy them (online or in physical stores), what their needs are and what problems they have and how your product or service can solve them.
Choose the location of your business
Once you know who your customer is, where they are buying, and have secured the necessary financing, you must choose the location of your business.
If you have verified that your customers tend to buy more through the Internet, this step will be very easy for you because you will only have to buy a domain and a hosting to make your website and open your business online.
But if your buyers are more traditional – they like to go to a physical store to buy your products or services – or your company needs a physical place like a warehouse or a building, you will have to choose a location and premises.
In case you are going to set up a store, make sure it is located in a good place where people interested in what you sell pass by, that it is accessible (public transport arrives, there is parking for cars) and that it has a good size for what you need.
Search for suppliers if you offer products
If you provide services in your business or create your own products, you can skip this step and go to the next point. But if you’re going to sell products that you didn’t make yourself, it’s important to find good suppliers who will serve your goods.
The first thing to think about is what you need from your supplier: do you want your goods to be good, but a little more expensive, or do you prefer a lower quality but a lower cost?
Once you have thought about this aspect, look for several distributors with the characteristics you have. You can start your search on the Internet, talking to other entrepreneurs in the same sector, going to dealer associations to see if they have lists of suppliers…
When you have found some providers, talk to ALL of them and select the ones you are most interested in, and then try to negotiate prices to see which one provides you with a better service at a cheaper price.
Remember that it is important that you try their services by making a small first order and, if you like the way they work with you, stick with it.
Register your business
At this point, before you start your business activity, you will need to register it and apply for the necessary licenses and permits. I can’t tell you exactly what you will need to do because this is different for each type of company and each country. So the best thing to do is to go to your local council or your local authority and ask them for all the necessary information.
Create your marketing plan to attract customers
This is the last step to start your business: create a marketing plan to know what message to convey and through which channel to attract customers to your company. The customer profile you created in point 4 will also be very useful for this, because with it you will know where your customers are and what they are most interested in.
Your marketing plan should include:
- What objectives you want to achieve (attract customers, build customer loyalty, achieve X percentage more sales, etc.)
- What strategies are you going to use (advertising, publications in social networks, discounts, organization of events, contests…)
- What means will you use to put your plan into action (traditional advertising, digital marketing)
- With this data, you must put your marketing plan into action to start making your business known and thus build your customer portfolio.
Starting a business may seem complicated, but if you take it step by step, thinking about what you should do, it is easier than you think.
And the best thing of all: once your project starts working, if you have done everything right, the benefits will be a great reward for all your efforts.