Starting a small business is a dream shared by many, but it's undoubtedly one of the scariest and biggest decisions you can make. This is especially if you are trading in a secure fulltime job to become your own boss.
But, based on our own personal experience, starting a small business is equal parts rewarding and daunting. The fact is that in today's day and age there are just so many different ways and options for getting things done, that it can all get a little too much.
That's why finding your way as a small business owner is a process.
However, don't let this put you off. On the upside for you, there is an absolute multitude of "stuff" out there, and by knowing where others have failed, you can give yourself the best chance of succeeding. For example according to Investopedia, common reasons include:
A lack of funding
Not understanding or defining the market
That last one is the kicker...planning...
Create a business plan
Whether you’re a freshly crowned MBA or a stay-at-home parent starting a small business in your garage, business plans are essential.
Writing a business plan helps you collate your thoughts and forces you put business ideas into words. After all, if you can't explain your concept in a business plan, how are you meant to sell it others?
Your business plan is essentially what you’re going to do, how you’re going to make money, and what you need to do to get there. As we said before the right way to get there can involve many different options, so its important that you figure out which one is the best fit for you. The types of tings your business plan will need to cover off are:
Your vision and mission
Objectives and goals - i.e. what success looks like to you
Key milestones and actions for getting you there
What the key roles within your business are going to be and who will be apart of it
Your products or services on offer
How you are going to fund your start-up.
There are hundreds of business plan templates you can find online to follow. We have one we are happy to share with you. Just flick us an email with your request and we'll send it on over.
The important thing is to do the work. Don’t worry if you feel as though it is not long or not detailed enough, you can always review your business plan later and expand on it if need be. In fact, that's a pretty standard approach, set a plan and optimise it as the picture gets clearer or the conditions change and you need to respond.
Make the most of digital marketing
Social media has done a lot to level the playing field between small and large businesses and the simple fact is that you have to be active in the digital marketing space. For more information on the benefits of digital marketing check out our blog or download our free how-to guide on creating a digital marketing strategy.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Will you need a licence of some kind? What type of insurance are you required to have? Are you required to collect and report sales tax? Skipping over these important questions can cause massive problems later on. The last thing you want to do is launch a business, gain some traction and then find out you owe thousands in unpaid fees or failed to secure the proper licence for your business type.
Spend a little extra time and money to consult with professionals and do things the right way. Don’t just assume you’ll figure it out as you go. If you want to start your small business off on the right foot, the first step (pun intended) is making sure you’re doing things the right way.
Find a mentor or business coach
As an entrepreneur, you’ll find yourself wearing many hats. Marketer. Salesperson. Business owner. Accountant. The list goes on. The first thing you'll quickly figure out is that you probably don’t know everything and that’s okay because there are people out there that can help.
Whether you know a successful CEO who you can take out to lunch every now and then, you join a local business group, or you work with a professional business coach, there is a wealth of knowledge out there for you to absorb. Find someone whose advice you trust and who also isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear. It will be a valuable resource to lean on.
Stay focussed and be willing to keep learning
A successful business owner is always ready, willing and eager to learn. Embrace new ideas, stay up to date on trends and new technologies and be willing to go that extra step to bring it all together.
Ok, tag! You're it...get planning and building your business.