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How to make the first steps in business?

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Do you have an idea for a new or existing product or service? Is it a solution that many seek? Are you a go getter who thrives in self-directed environments? 

Then entrepreneurship may be right for you. Being your own boss gives you more control over the course of your life, as well as the power to direct it in the ways that you want. You answer to yourself rather than working for the whims of others.

It also offers a wonderful opportunity to create jobs for others. You could be an inspiration to your employees by treating them well, creating a cool work culture, and making people feel like they’re involved in something that’s bigger than themselves. 

Also, by creating jobs for others, your products and services can help to improve the standard of living and grow and stimulate the economy.

In addition, entrepreneurship gives you a sense of pride. You should pat yourself on the back after building a successful business from the ground up. You will remember that you had vision, were able to execute it and can now reap the benefits.

Starting a business is no easy feat. There will be a lot of sacrifices, hard work, sweat and maybe even tears. Thankfully, you aren’t the type to back away from a challenge. 

If your business is successful, then it will be worth it. You will however have to patiently take some steps which will reduce the levels of stress that come with start-ups. 

Follow each one and hopefully, you will reap the rewards.

Do Your Research

Market research should be at the top of your to-do list. It prepares you for any threats or weaknesses that may arise as the business grows. 

Before you begin making any big steps in business, you need to ensure there’s a demand for your product or service. Without customers, there are no sales. 

Getting feedback from a focus group or asking potential customers to fill out questionnaires can give you a head start.

You will also need to find out who might pose a threat to your new business. If you’re aware of the competition, you can strategically position your company as a better alternative.

Study these other businesses and their offerings. You can compete by offering more variety, improving your online presence and lowering your price.

You can also view the websites of established research companies to see if they have presented data that may pertain to your industry. There’s also the option to hire them or invest in social listening tools to garner insights.

Market research ensures that you have all the information you need to make your new business a success. Give your business a competitive edge so that it can thrive.

Be Bold

Starting a business is a major undertaking. It can be slow and daunting in the beginning. If you’re serious about it, then it immediately carries purpose. Commitment strengthens that sense of purpose, and ownership strengthens commitment.

To stay committed however, you may need a boost of confidence every now and then. Entrepreneurship can sometimes be a lonely journey, especially in the initial stages. 

This is where a support group comes in. You can rely on friends and family members to cheer you on. You can also reach out to other entrepreneurs and likeminded people to encourage you along the way.

When your faith starts to wane and fear and self-criticism creep in, then it may be time to meditate or reconnect with a higher power (if you believe in one). Spend some time by yourself to recharge and to recommit to your purpose. 

Additionally, you can depend on self-help and inspirational books written by the greats who used to be where you are right now.  

Make a Business Plan

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

A well-thought-out and strategic business plan helps to narrow your focus on the key elements and keeps you accountable. 

It also informs your decision making as you move forward. With a business plan, you will be able to zoom in on the name, location, budgeting and market.

The name you decide on will be easy to spell and pronounce. It must convey what the business is about in some way and it should be catchy and memorable. Also, you will need to do a thorough search on the internet to see if the name is already in use.

The location shouldn’t be taken lightly either. Be sure to keep your brand in mind when deciding on an ideal location. Is your business online or is there a need for a physical space? 

Can your potential clients or customers find your office with ease? Will it thrive in an urban area or will have better luck in a rural community? How easily can you access vendors?

You should also outline the budget in the business plan. In the initial stages, you can present an expected budget which is an estimate of how money will be spent. 

This will reflect elements such as the cost of ingredients, expected salaries of your employees, cost of equipment and rent.

Lastly, your business plan will present a detailed list of who you are targeting. The breakdown will show the age range, spending power, education levels, gender and behavioural practices of your potential customers and clients. 

You will then use this to make an informed decision as it relates to strategies and tactics. Perhaps your target audience are health buffs who are high-income earners. 

You could use this knowledge to advertise your products or services in health-based magazines and blogs. You could also name a well-known fitness expert as an ambassador for your business.

Seek Funding

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Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

There are several high-income earning individuals who like to invest in start-ups. Sharpen your networking skills so that you can present your business as a viable option. 

It may also be best to make an appointment with those who are in your industry or who have interests and hobbies that are aligned with your business.

You can also consider getting a loan from a bank or lending services company that specialize in micro, medium and small businesses. Shop around to see who offers the best interest rates and terms.

Another option could be entrepreneurship and business centres. These entities are an excellent resource for aspiring entrepreneurs as not only can they help you connect with entrepreneurs and angel investors, but they can also help you determine what types of loans may be best for your business.

Educate Yourself 

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Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash 

You may not need an MBA to become an entrepreneur, but some other forms of formal training will come in handy. There are many Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) that are offered through universities and colleges around the world. 

Most are free or attract a small fee. They cater to you and your busy schedule by structuring some of these courses as self-paced. 

You can enrol in courses on entrepreneurship, leadership and management and marketing, as well as courses that are directly related to your niche such as fashion, construction or culinary arts.

If you prefer, you could check the universities and colleges within your area. They may offer short to year-long courses in entrepreneurship and other related specializations. 

They may appeal to you because certification from an accredited tertiary institution will help to establish you as an expert.

Register Your Business 

Your business will go a far way if it’s registered with a government or federal owned entity. First of all, registering your business name makes your company official. It will therefore prevent the usage of your name by another company.

As a registered company, it will be easier to access loans and grants. It also affords you the opportunity to open a bank account using the name of the business. Furthermore, you will inspire customers’ confidence because you’ve added some credibility to your business and brand.

Create Social Media Accounts 

Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

A business in today’s world simply can’t ignore social media. Your research will show that people that fall within various age groups, genders, tax brackets, social habits and education levels use social media. 

Your research will also reveal that certain social media platforms appeal to various groups of people. For instance, 56% of internet users aged 65 and overuse Facebook. 

People in this age group tend to use this platform more than Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Are your customers in this group? 

We also know that Instagram is more popular among women between the ages of 18 and 29. Do you own a beauty line or a clothing store? You can also effectively use TikTok to reach internet users below 25 to promote fun snacks that they can afford.

You can focus most of your energy on the social networks mostly used by your target audiences, but don’t totally ignore the other platforms. 

Having a presence on most of the other platforms, even if they are simply placeholders, will help your ranking in search engines.

Final Comments

Starting your own business is hard work, but with new challenges come exciting opportunities and a chance to improve your life. 

You can take comfort in knowing that you’ve decided to take control of your own future. Be patient and make use of the valuable lessons to be learned.

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