by Lucy Reed
Statistics show that the U.S. boasts over 30 million small businesses (enterprises employing fewer than 500 individuals). Starting a business allows you to enjoy flexibility and control while making money and expressing your creativity. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a great idea who doesn't know where to start to make it a reality, there are basics you can use as a launch pad.
Write a Business Plan
One of the problems people, including new business people, often encounter when trying to begin something new and complex is that they don't have a clear sense of direction. They know they want to do this, and that to get there, they need to complete all these other tasks, but it gets jumbled up because there is so much to consider and do.
This easy guide on starting a new business helps you get focused and organized. It starts with creating a business plan, which can boost productivity and save you time. It summarizes all aspects of your business and generally includes sections on:
- What your planned location, business name, and brand are
- What your mission statement is/what values you plan to incorporate into your business
- What your business is/what goods and services you plan to provide
- What your marketing strategy is
- What your funding plan is
- What your goalposts are and the timeline you hope to complete them on
A business plan outlines the path you want to take so you can keep yourself on track.
Perform a Market and Competition Analysis
Before you jump into the business world, it is vital to understand the existing market you want to enter by doing an analysis. Research potential competitors. This can be done easily by looking up their websites, social media platforms, products, pricing, and reviews online. If the competition has physical locations close to where you are, you could even go sample their wares in person. By viewing your competition's strategies, products and customers, you can get an idea of what works, what the market is over-saturated with, and ways you can make your own business stand out from the crows.
To learn about what customers like, you can also ask family members, friends, and acquaintances. You can do beta testing by offering free samples to those willing to try your goods or services. Social media influencers and bloggers often exchange reviews for free products and are a good way to spread the word about your business; they can be incorporated into your marketing strategy. You can also conduct customer surveys and polls to gather information about what possible customers like to buy and what they do and don't like about their buyer experiences.
See how Natural Lynx can help you develop a solid marketing strategy.
Network With Old and New Acquaintances
Who you know matters a lot in business. Networking is valuable because it allows you to grow your customer base, learn from others, form relationships and take advantage of new opportunities. Social media sites like LinkedIn and events are excellent platforms for connecting with individuals who share your interests.
Networking with friends and acquaintances you've lost touch with also offers advantages. If you aren't sure how to find them, you can utilize a search engine to locate the classmates you graduated high school with from Olympia and the surrounding area. Just type in a name, graduation date, and school and you'll receive options for contacting your old friends.
Don't Give Up
One of the most important things is to keep persevering. You may stumble a little; everyone does. Only by persisting will your dreams come true.
It is important not to neglect the basics as you start your business. They form a firm foundation for your startup to grow from.