Starting a business is like going on an adventure. It’s exciting. It’s draining – mentally and physically. You are going to spend an awful lot of time planning, strategising, and juggling tasks just to get your business off the ground.
And, once the business is launched, you are going to shift gear to make sure, the business stays afloat, develops a coherent brand and reputation and starts accomplishing your business goals.
If this is your first time starting a business, you would have discovered by now, just how much work, research, and learning you need to navigate through.
Here are seven steps to help you along the way of starting your own business.
At this stage, you are figuring out everything you need to get started, often this stage is answering questions like, how will you sell your product? How are you going to market your business? Are you going to work from home? etc.
Write down your ideas on how you plan to go forward with your business idea.
Business Idea and market research
You cannot start a business without a viable market, your business will fail.
So, the first step in starting your own business is: after you have thought of a business idea, then verify if there is enough demand to justify launching your business idea.
At this stage consider if your business idea is solving a problem or fulfilling a need. If it is then you are onto a good thing.
During your research, you will want to answer the question, who are my customers? Where can I find them? What is the best way to reach them? How much are they willing to pay for my services or product?
Questions related to customer acquisition also involve knowing what marketing channels are going to serve you best. Establishing a presence online may involve blogging about your business, adopting a social media strategy, paid media buys and more.
You need to determine which marketing channels have worked for your competitors, which your budget and time can sustain and which are best suited to your client base.
You will also need to conduct a competitive analysis on existing competitions, map out their strengths and weaknesses and strategize how to beat them.
With answers to these questions, its time to move to the next step:
Your mission statement does not have to be anything fanciful at first. However, the mission statement should help you put into words what you hope to achieve with your business. You can create one wether you hope to start an online business, a franchise or as an independent contractor.
Choose a business structure
You need to decide what kind of business you intend to start. Do you want 100 percent control of the business or are you willing to give up some shares?
How much business taxes are you ready to pay?
How many people will be working in your business?
Answering these questions will help you clarify what’s the best business structure to use.
Keep in mind though, in Australia, you only have four types of business structure to choose:
Sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, Partnership, and Trust.
Do your research on which structure suits your needs best. There are tax implications and liability issues depending on which structure you choose. You may want to do extensive research on this or even hire a professional to advise you on the appropriate tax category you fall into and whether or not you need a tax file number.
You stand a better chance of growing your business by taking a short courses in business that teaches you how to handle different aspects of your business including bookkeeping best practices, funding, and marketing.
Budgeting and Funding
If you are anything like most startups, funding is going to be a major concern for you. So, before you even launch your business, figure out your funding sources and have a budget in place.
Are you going to dip into your personal savings? Would you be needing a partner to fund part of the business? Are you going to take out a loan or apply for grants?
Make sure you are careful with your number-crunching as you do not want to make an error in this regard as it could be the difference between your business being a success or not.
Register your business name
In many countries, you need to register and obtain a Business Number before you can legally start a business.
This number is a unique number that identifies your business. You can use it to claim Goods and Services Tax, VAT or whatever your local tax system provides. You will use it on your invoice or when ordering goods. It also, allows you to claim your domain name in countries like Australia.
Claim your domain name
Once, you have your business legal structure formed, you can now go ahead to register your domain name. Be sure though, to check if the domain name you choose is still available.
Then you go ahead and begin trading, seeing where the journey of starting your own business takes you. The world, as they say, is your oyster.