13 steps to start a business

Running a business can have a powerful impact on your life and the lives of those around you, but before you can manage it, you must set it up.

If you’ve never owned a business before, the idea of starting your own can seem frightening. Fortunately, many other entrepreneurs have already done so, so you can benefit from the wisdom they gained from their successes and failures.

These 13 time-tested steps will help you start a business, whether it’s your first or your tenth, with tips on everything from finding and validating your money-making idea, to discovering your shipping strategy, to finally launching your product or service.

1. Use the time you have available

No matter how ambitious your business goals are, you can still start a business in your spare time, and fit it in with your current life commitments. Not everyone has the ability to give up their full-time job to pursue something of their own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start.

For example, it is possible to create a business of handmade products in parallel to a full-time job, or start a blog that then becomes a business. If you’re looking for more inspiration, here are seven more ways to start a business without giving up your 9-to-5 job.

2. Identify a business idea

Finding a business idea is something you can approach systematically by relying on time-tested approaches that have worked for other entrepreneurs. Here are 12 ways to identify a product you can sell, including strategies such as:

  • Exploit your personal interests. What do you like to do in your free time? Are there products you can sell that relate to your hobbies, or that address a common frustration you have?
  • Research existing products. Examine product reviews to see if there are common complaints about popular products, and see if you can identify gaps in the marketplace.
  • Capitalize on trends early. If you notice that a particular product seems to be popping up everywhere, or if you have a great idea to help get the most out of a popular product, you could come up with some great business ideas.
  • Remember, all you need is an idea to get started. Many successful businesses were launched with an exclusive product and expanded into complementary products from there.

3. Validate your business idea

This may seem difficult, but it’s really just a matter of testing whether customers are willing to pay for your product before you spend too much time and money on it. No matter what kind of business you are starting, it is important that you validate your idea.

There are many ways to do this, some are simple and others a little more complex. Here are some tactical examples that can help you figure out how to measure market demand before you go too deep.

  • Set up a store to take pre-orders.
  • Launch a crowdfunding campaign.
  • Create a beta version of your product or service to sell.

There are other ways to validate your product ideas, but if in doubt, start selling as soon as possible. Learning from direct customer feedback and understanding how they are using your products is invaluable when developing a small business.

Take a look at the case of PopSockets, a now ubiquitous way to confidently hold a smartphone in one hand. Initially, David Barnett designed PopSockets as a way to prevent headset cables from getting tangled. It wasn’t until he saw the students in his class using their PopSockets to better control their phones that he realized the unplanned value his customers saw in the product. That information helped PopSockets sell over 35 million units.

4. Find a brand name

Work to find a name for your business that makes it clear what you do, that is brief and memorable, and that is not in use in your industry. This is not an easy task, but it can be accomplished with a little effort and imagination.

Name generators can help you find a list of unique ideas, and there are also many proven best practices for choosing your business name that can help you build your own list.

Generally, a good name has some characteristics:

  • Short and simple. Customers should be able to remember your name quickly, and the best way to do this is to avoid long names. One or two words are ideal, although three or four short words can also work if they create a memorable phrase.
  • If your market research shows that everyone in your industry seems to have similar names or is based on similar elements, you should avoid them to get a name that really stands out.
  • In addition to avoiding similar names, you should make sure that no competitors are using the name you want for your business. To do this, do a free trademark search in the countries where you’ll be doing business, and be sure to check Google and social networking sites as well. (The same goes for URLs, so do a domain name search before you register anything as well.) ) Even if someone hasn’t registered a trademark, in many jurisdictions they could legally challenge you using a name they’ve been using to do business in the same industry. If you are in doubt, consult independent legal counsel for advice specific to your situation.

5. Make a business plan

Writing a business plan helps to validate and formalize your idea, and can speed up the process of creating the business by inviting you to sit down and think things through methodically.

A classic quote that applies especially to the business plan development process is: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. Many entrepreneurs say that they rarely look at their plan once they have opened their business, but they will also tell you that there is value in thinking about and researching your idea while developing the plan.

If you have never done so before, here is a complete guide to writing a business plan and a business plan template to help you structure your thoughts.

When creating your plan, be sure to pay special attention to the sections on competitive analysis and SWOT analysis. While nothing can replace the validation of your idea by confirming that people will pay for it, the research needed to complete these sections can be further proof that you are on the right track.

6. Understand the finances of the business

The shared goal of any business is to make money, so fully understanding cash flow is an integral part of running a business. In this sense, you must understand some basic concepts to start and scale that knowledge as you grow.

There are many businesses you can start with only a small initial investment, but others will require money for inventory, equipment or physical space. Therefore, it is essential to have a clear vision of your total investment before spending a penny, as it will help you make important projections, such as when you will reach your break-even point.

It is essential to have a clear vision of your total investment, before spending a penny

If those calculations show that you need more funds than you can spend out of pocket, you may want to consider financing options such as a small business loan or a crowdfunding campaign.

Accounting should be one of your main financial tasks as soon as you are ready to start shopping for your business. Keeping accurate records of your income and expenses will help you control cash flow and make a smooth transition to working with an accountant or bookkeeper later on.

To make the process even easier, consider opening a bank account and having a credit card specifically for your business. Keeping your personal and business finances separate makes it easier to prepare your business taxes and can also help automate some of the steps.

Resources:

  • Shopify Capital (only available to U.S. merchants). Helps selected merchants get the funds they need, without lengthy bank approvals or giving up part of their business.
  • Profit First. A book designed to help ensure that your business is profitable, no matter what type of business you have.
  • Tools for accounting. Applications that work directly with Shopify to optimize your accounting processes.

7. Develop your product or service

You’ve done the groundwork and understand the finances, now it’s time to dig deeper into the product or service you’d like to offer.

For a product-oriented business, developing your idea might mean taking one of these three general approaches:

  • Creating your own product. Whether you are creating handmade items or looking for an original product from a manufacturer, developing your own product to sell can help you stand out in the marketplace.
  • Customize an existing product. With print on demand options, you can add your unique designs and ideas to products that include t-shirts, leggings, towels, backpacks and more.
  • Cure a selection of products. Dropshipping is a way to stock your store without creating a new product, so you can start selling almost immediately without having to manage inventory.

As you develop your product, consider your total costs when calculating your prices. While the pricing of your product is not solely based on costs, and there are many factors that influence your pricing strategy, it is important to price your product profitably.

8. Choose a business structure

Your business structure influences the key parts of your business, from taxes to operations and your personal responsibility. Choosing the right structure for your business will help balance the legal and financial protections you need with the flexibility that different options offer. It is an important decision that you should consider carefully before launching your business.

Choosing the right structure for your business will help balance the legal and financial protections you need with the flexibility offered by different options.

Business structures vary by country and area, but two common types, which may have different names in your country, are sole proprietorship and corporation. A sole proprietorship is excellent if you are the only person involved in the business, and it is usually the structure that requires the least effort, but you are still personally responsible for the business and its activities. You can even hire employees as sole proprietors, but you will need an employer identification number to do so, which means registering your business.

On the other hand, if you opt for a more formal structure such as a corporation it is easier to involve several owners in the business, and you will not be personally responsible for the business, but there is more paperwork and steps involved in starting and maintaining a partnership.

When it comes to choosing a business structure, there are some factors to consider.

  • Where is your business located? The laws of your country describe the different business structures you can form, and whether or not you need a business license to start.
  • What kind of business do you have? Some structures are more suitable for businesses of a certain scale or within particular industries. There may come a time when you need to restructure your business to work with new partners. It is not uncommon for large companies to ask their suppliers or partners to have formed partnerships, for example.
  • How many people are involved? If you go it alone as a sole founder you may be able to consider streamlined options. If you have a business partner or several people with ownership in the company, you will need to look at more advanced options to ensure that everything is set up and shared properly.

An accountant or lawyer can be helpful in evaluating the different options available in your area and helping you with the process of establishing your business.

9. Research licenses and regulations

No one wants to get into legal trouble. Remember that your business is subject to the laws governing business in your area, as well as the specific laws and regulations of your industry. For example, a food service company needs to follow specific licenses and regulations for handling the products it sells, but it must also pay attention to the legality of its marketing efforts and to trademark and copyright laws, among others.

Invest time and money to obtain timely legal advice from an attorney, who will be able to guide you according to the specifics of your business, such as industry and geographic location, before you start, so that you avoid future headaches.

10. Select your software systems

One of the best ways to reduce the hard work involved in running a business and prepare for future success is to choose software that helps you automate or streamline the things you need to do.

Often, when you choose the right software systems, you can set them up once and get them working efficiently with little effort. Consider finding software that helps you manage the following tasks:

  • Accounting software: With multiple options to help you keep track of everything from a meal with your business partner to a large inventory order, accounting software is one of the best ways to get your business off on the right foot.
  • Email marketing: A good email marketing tool will help you stay in touch with your current (and future) customers and ensure that you can send the right messages to the right people at the right time.
  • Marketing software: Paying for ads is often an inherent cost of business, especially for online business, but there is marketing software that can help speed up the process and make the most of your advertising budget, no matter how much you have to spend.
  • Project management. Even if you are the only owner, having a place to plan your work and follow up on important tasks can help you meet your work schedule. Tools such as Trello and Asana can help.
  • Website or online store. Choose a platform that allows you to easily manage all the critical tasks involved in running your business. Look for a theme according to your product lines, and that allows you to take and manage orders easily. To give you an idea of what to do, here is a complete store launch checklist.

11. Find a location for your business

Your business plan will help guide what kind of space you need for your business. If you sell on-demand printed T-shirts, you may only need to find a place in your home to create a small work space, a desk and a laptop. On the other hand, if your business requires physical commercial space, you will need to find a place to rent.

To help narrow down what you need from your business location, consider asking yourself these questions:

  • How much space will I need for inventory? If you agree to receive thousands of items at a time, you may not be able to accommodate them in your living room.
  • Will I be offering retail sales in person? While selling in your home may be an option for your first orders, if selling in person is an important channel, you’ll need a comfortable, easily accessible space for customers to visit.
  • How do I pack and ship orders from my location? Depending on the size of your shipping operation, you may need more space than you have available in a home office.

You may be able to manage your business from a space you already have available, especially if you do not plan to sell in person. If that’s the case, here are some design ideas for a home office that will help you create an effective workspace as your business takes off.

12. Plan your workload and team size

How much work will you need to do and what skills will be needed to launch your business? These are fundamental questions that you will need to answer, as they will guide the timeline and investment for the launch.

If you plan to do all the work yourself, you will be limited to the time you have available; if you plan to hire help, you will need to account for those costs, as well as the time needed to find and hire freelancers or employees.

Here is an overview of the basic skills you will need to learn, know, or hire when you launch your business.

Design

There are many design decisions you must make when setting up your business, from designing a logo to choosing your brand colors. There are tools available to help you make some initial decisions and guide you in the right direction.

  • You can use a logo creator like Hatchful or online image software like Canva to create your logo.
  • Start with one of the many online tools that can create a color palette, or use Hatchful to choose colors for your brand.
  • Website design. Using a professional theme for your website allows you to get a site based on best design practices.

If taking on shop design on your own is too far outside your area of expertise, you can find professional designers by asking for references from other business owners, or find a Shopify expert.

Photography

Quality photos are essential to your business, especially if you are selling online, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take photos of your products yourself.

There are also templates you can use to simulate product designs, like these mockups of T-shirts and shirts.

Marketing

Marketing is an integral part of your business that requires a set of skills. So start by determining which marketing activities will have the greatest impact on your new business, and use your plans to make a list of the skills you will need to execute them. For example, running paid ads requires different lifestyle photography skills to develop your Instagram fan base.

Research and understand some of the most common promotional tactics used in your industry, and make sure you have the skills necessary to implement them.

Submissions

Once you receive an order, how will the products get from point A to point B? Make sure you have a shipping strategy that covers key details such as

  • Will you offer free or discounted shipping to your customers, or will you transfer the exact cost to them? This is a decision that affects many parts of your business, so it’s important to crunch the numbers and weigh the options.
  • Lighter packaging often means lower shipping costs, but you’ll need to find a balance between weight and protection. Cardboard, although heavy, protects many products better than a polyethylene envelope.
  • Will you be shipping internationally, nationally, or just locally? The answer will depend on your products and your goals, and may change as your business grows.

Whatever your shipping strategy, Shopify Shipping (only available to US and Canadian merchants) is here to help you with negotiated rates with USPS, UPS and DHL in the US, and Canada Post in Canada.

For more information on preparing and shipping goods, don’t miss our free guide:

Hire help for your business

If you don’t have the time or ability to do everything you need for your business, get help. You can find a virtual assistant for continuous, routine tasks, or work with an expert for more complex projects, such as creating your website or your marketing plan.

Manage your workload

Once you have a good understanding of the tasks to be performed and who will perform them, it is time to add a little project management to make your life easier. Consider using a time management tool such as Trello or Asana to write, assign and track tasks. These tools are especially useful for keeping your team on schedule, but don’t underestimate the value of the structure they provide for you as well.

13. Open your business

You’re ready to take the last step in starting a business: the launch. The preparation you have already done has established a solid foundation to support your launch, so you can concentrate on marketing activities and make your first sale. However, a plan of attack, especially when trying to generate traction, can help make your launch even more successful.

While every launch is unique, there are some elements that can boost the first few days of sales of any business.

  • Leverage your network. Promote your store primarily on free channels that are already available to you, including your personal social networks and your contact list. Sending one-to-one emails asking for support, as well as sharing content on social networks, can be very useful in gaining traction.
  • Consider offering discounts. Rewarding early customers with a discount code that fits your profit margins can help you gain traction early on, especially when your store is new and does not yet have many customer reviews or social trial points.
  • Try paid ads. Even if you start with a small budget, paid ads can be one of the most effective ways to present yourself to your ideal audience. Trying out early and learning from your results can help you drive your first sales and optimize your ad’s performance as you scale.

Start a Business and Make an Impact

Starting a business is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be scary either. Whether you want to sell a product that solves a problem, build a profitable business for yourself, create opportunities for the people around you, or generate some extra money each month, these steps can help you make your dreams come true.

7 KEYS TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS


How to start your own business? You are not alone. Many people today want to be entrepreneurs and how to create their own business. Running a business involves a number of challenges, but being your own boss and doing what you love best can be incredibly rewarding. If you’re thinking about starting a new business, this guide will tell you step-by-step everything you need to know, including how to build your brand.

  1. Brainstorming

Every new business starts with an idea. Maybe you have a good understanding of something or you’re passionate about it, or you think you’ve found a niche in the market. Gather a list of businesses you could be in. In the beginning, you can start with a home-based business, such as an event management company, or with an Internet business, creating an online store. Once you’ve narrowed your list of ideas down to one or two, look for existing businesses in your industry. Learn what the current leaders are doing and find out how you can do better. 

2. Create a Business Plan 

This will help you find out where your business will be, how it will overcome the greatest difficulties, and what you need to do to sustain it. These are the basics you need to be clear about: 

  • What your business is about and how to achieve your goals 
  • Your long-term goals and how to adapt them to your market needs. 
  • Your research in your target market. 
  • Organisation and management of your company 
  • Your service or product line, including copyright information and research and development activities 
  • Strategies for market penetration and growth 
  • Cost estimates and funding requests (if you need financial assistance)

3. Evaluate your finances 

Will you be able to finance your new business or will you need to borrow money? If your business allows you to combine it with other daily work, you could cover your initial costs without carrying debt. If you’re thinking of making your new job a full-time one, it’s wise to wait until you have some money saved. 

4. Determine your legal business structure

Before you register your business, you need to decide what type of entity it will be. If you run your own business and are responsible for all debts and liabilities, you can register as a sole proprietorship. A partnership, as the name implies, means that two or more people are responsible as owners of the business. A business that has multiple employees must register as a corporation or limited liability company. Forming a limited liability company is one of the most common options among business owners because it is taxed as a sole proprietorship, but it offers the limited liability protection of a corporation. Ultimately, it is up to you to choose which type of entity best suits your needs and goals. 

5. Registering with Social Security and the Inland Revenue 

To be an officially recognized entity you must be registered with Social Security. If you register as a corporation, you will need the statutes document that includes your name, purpose of the company, corporate structure, existence data and other information about the company. You will also need to register the name of your company, which may be legal or fictitious. After registration, the next step is to obtain the employer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service. 

6. Build Your Brand and Publish Yourself 

Before you begin selling your product or service, you will need to build your brand and have a large number of people waiting for you to open the doors of your business. Nowadays, a company’s website and social networking profiles are essential. Create a logo that can help people easily identify your brand and use it on all your digital platforms. You could use a promotional tool, such as the first 25 people who like it on your Facebook page will receive a discount coupon. 

7. Launching and growing your business 

There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you make your first transaction. But remember, to make a profit and stay in business, you have to keep growing. Time and effort is all you need. Collaborating with more brands in your industry is a great way to move forward. Communicate with other companies, even bloggers, and ask them to promote you in exchange for a free product or service. Starting a business can be a risky decision, but with the right tools and information, you can find the right path to start right away.

Advantages, disadvantages and how to start a business

Thinking about entrepreneurship? You’re not alone. Every day, more and more people dream and hope one day to have a business of their own that not only offers them the opportunity to dedicate themselves to something they are passionate about, but also allows them to have more freedom with their time and money.

However, despite the fact that every day there are more and more people who have that entrepreneurial spirit, not everyone has a deep understanding of what entrepreneurship means: advantages, disadvantages, how to start a business, what kind of profitable businesses can be developed today, etc.

Therefore, in this post we will explain what are the positive and negative points of having your own business, in addition to giving several tips for those who want to start in this world.

Advantages of having your own business

Let’s start with the good news: let’s look at the advantages of getting started and saying goodbye forever to bosses and office hours!

You don’t have to take orders from a boss

When you start a new physical or internet business you have the advantage of being your own boss and achieve the so longed for work autonomy. You can organize your own patterns, tasks and activities according to your work rhythm, preferences and availability.

Being your own boss allows you to discover your ideal work methodology and learn things you may never have imagined doing.

You choose your working hours

Another great advantage you have when you start and create your own business is that you can choose your work schedule and combine personal, family, couple and professional life.

This is something you have to handle very carefully: not having a schedule to keep can be tempting to do a lot of things and leave work aside, so we recommend that you take advantage of this flexibility in a smart way and learn to manage your time very well and prioritize activities according to your goals.

You choose where to work

When you start up – especially if you decide to create some kind of digital business – you can work from anywhere. From your living room, your bedroom, the nearest library or your favorite bar. Anywhere is perfect for getting inspiration and making money.

You can create something that leaves a mark

Starting and growing your own business is a great opportunity to create something that is important to you and leave a mark on the world. Today there are a lot of profitable businesses and entrepreneurial initiatives that more than producing money seek to meet a need, fill some kind of gap and make the lives of their customers much better.

You can devote yourself to what you are truly passionate about

There’s no point in getting into something you don’t like, is there? When you start your own business and work for your own benefit you have the opportunity to work on something that you are really passionate about and motivated by.
Could there be anything more rewarding than that?

You can make a lot more money

That’s right, when you undertake you stop working for the economic benefit of someone else and start getting more income for yourself. The income from your business may be miniscule at first, but in time you will begin to realize that it is worth it.

Making more strategic decisions

Having your own business teaches you to think much more about things before you do them and to make more strategic decisions – a bad decision could cost you the success of your entrepreneurial project!

You have more flexibility to be with your family

Another advantage of having your own business is that if you are well organized and productive, you have more flexibility to be with your family and friends.

In fact, you can become a digital nomad and earn money online while traveling with your family.

Disadvantages of having your own business

Now we’ll show the downside of having a business of your own. Let’s see:

The responsibility is much greater

When you own your own business all the responsibility falls on your shoulders, that’s why it’s very important to prepare yourself very well before starting, especially on a financial, academic and psychological level.

The risks are greater

There’s a lot at stake when you make the decision to undertake. We could say that there will always be risk and the possibility that the business will not work, that you will lose money and that you will have to go back to look for a job.

You have to worry about all areas of the business

One of the big differences between having a permanent position in a company and being the owner of a business is that in the first one you only have to worry about your own responsibilities and activities, while in the second one you have to be aware of all the areas of the company.

Yes, even though you have other people helping in the business, an entrepreneur should always watch and supervise that everything works well.

You might be working too hard

When we talked about the fact that when you undertake you do not have a fixed schedule, we not only referred to the fact that you can have free time when you want, but also that if necessary, you may have to work too much.

It can be stressful

Owning a business can be stressful: having the uncertainty and fear of not selling enough to pay the bills is almost inevitable.

How to start your own business

If the advantages seem attractive and the disadvantages don’t discourage you, look at some tips on how to start your own business. Let’s see:

Define the market niche of your own business

In this post we have stressed the importance of being involved in something you are passionate about and know how to do very well. However, it is also important that you start a business that is in high demand and that, of course, generates profits.

It is important that before you start, you prepare yourself and take into account key points, such as defining your market niche and selecting the one that is most advantageous for you and your finances.

Conduct market research

Market research is ideal for those who want to start a business and want to know if their proposal is profitable or not.

Do you want to learn how to do market research and make decisions that will help your business grow? In this post we show you 4 options to make yours.

Create a buyer persona

A personal buyer is a prototype of the ideal client for your business proposal. When you have a defined and clear buyer person it is much easier to define the product strategies, price, place and promotion of the product or service you plan to develop. 

Plan financially

Although there are entrepreneurial options that make it possible to create your own business without having to invest a single penny, it is advisable to prepare yourself financially before investing, especially so that you can at least cover your basic needs while the business begins to make a profit.

Create a business plan

A business of your own is not something that can happen overnight, much less by improvisation, so it is important that you establish a business plan in which you detail information such as the steps to be taken and the available budget.

The business plan is a strategic document that will guide all the actions of your company, the idea is that this plan anticipates all possible scenarios for your business. To create it you need to have a clear idea of your short, medium and long term objectives, keeping in mind a period of twelve months.

Create a marketing plan

Marketing is everything these days. For example, let’s say you have an innovative business idea and the budget to get it off the ground immediately and hire the best people in the area to support the project; however, you still need to get people to know your business and encourage them to spend their money there. You can do all this with a marketing plan. Do you see how important it is to your business?

The best thing is that today you don’t need to spend a lot of money to develop an attractive marketing plan that works. There are a lot of online tools with which you can develop marketing plans, spread information about your products or services, communicate with your customers and position your brand.

Put together a good team

It is always good to have some help when it comes to entrepreneurship, especially if the support comes from professionals. One of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when starting their own business is wanting to do everything themselves, so we recommend that you put together a good team of collaborators who will provide support in the different areas of work.

Study constantly

To be a successful entrepreneur it is important that you prepare and study constantly. Get used to reading news on business and entrepreneurship portals, researching new market trends, taking online courses, participating in events in your market niche – the sky’s the limit!

Do networking

Another thing you should do when starting a business is to have good contacts and the best way to achieve this is by networking. Be interested in meeting other entrepreneurs or professionals who can add new knowledge or ideas to your business.

Register your company

Legal issues are something you can’t avoid when it comes to starting a business from scratch. Register your company, comply with all local taxes and all legal and administrative procedures to avoid problems in the future.

Think about scalability

Focus on creating a scalable business proposition; that is, a company capable of multiplying its revenues without increasing its costs in the same way.

Focus on online business

Online businesses or Internet businesses every day show us that they are here to stay for a long time. Whoever chooses to work or undertake business on the Internet has the possibility to sell physical products or digital products.

The best thing is that the possibilities are endless. For example, you can create a digital product such as online makeup courses, e-books about coaching, create a blog and earn money with advertising, join an affiliate program, be a youtuber, become a digital influencer and much more.  

Ready to get started? We’re sure you are. There are plenty of innovative businesses you can start, so get out of your comfort zone and dare.

How to start a business without knowing anything about business (8 steps)

You want to start your own business but you don’t know anything about business.

You don’t know whether to start an online business or a physical one, or what to sell or what services to offer; you have no idea whether 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.

How to start your business in 8 steps

1. 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.

I can’t tell you what the ideal business is for you even if you tell me what you are passionate about or what you have good knowledge of. That is your decision alone.

But what I can do is give you 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.

You can decide to create a craft business because you like that activity and it is a fashionable sector; but if you do not know how to make crafts, your project will fail.

Or you can think about selling templates for blogs and web designs because you know how to do it and it is a business that now leaves a lot of money. But if you don’t like it enough, or you have little interest in it, it will be noticed and you will end up having to close your company.

So think about those 3 factors and make a list to decide on one venture or another.

With our article 6 steps that will help you to know which business to put in you will be able to discover what your interests and skills are.

And with the post How to know if your business idea will be profitable you will be able to find out if there is a market that is willing to buy what you sell.

2. 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.

It is not necessary that your business plan is long (10-15 pages is enough), and it should 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?

Read the following article to learn how to make your business plan: How to design your business model step by step.

3. Seek financing if you need it

The next step is to find the money you need to start your business, if you need it.

For example: if you want to create an online store where you sell your crafts or offer services such as consulting, you may only need very little savings for a website that will cost you very little each month, and just under $50 for materials.

On the other hand, if your dream is to open a restaurant, a gym, or even an online clothing store, the investment will be higher and you probably won’t have enough money.

Read the following article to find out what options you have to raise capital: How to get money to start your own business.

4. 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.

Just like if you offer online guitar courses not all men, women and children will be interested in that, only those who like it and want to learn how to play this instrument.

That’s why it’s very important to identify your ideal client by making his profile.

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.

5. 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 a venue.

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.

6. Look 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, 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 trade 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.

7. Register your business

At this point, before you start operating your business, 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.

For example, if you want to open a bar, apart from registering your business you will also need licenses and permits to sell alcohol, while if you want to set up a mobile phone shop this will not be necessary, but you may have to deal with other documentation.

So it’s best to go to your local council or your local authority and ask them for all the information you need.

8. 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.

For example: if you sell sportswear and your customers are men and women between 18 and 26 years old, who like to exercise and use daily Facebook and Twitter, it would be logical to promote yourself on this social network by publishing ads about sports, with images related to this sector, etc.

Starting a business may seem complicated, but if you take it step by step, thinking through what you need to do, it’s easier than you think.

And the best thing of all: once your project starts working, if you’ve done everything right, the benefits will be a great reward for all your efforts.