Starting your own business could be quite stressful. You have to take risks, invest time and capital, and work longer hours to survive. However, it can also be the most fulfilling adventure of your life. In the long term, it can generate returns that could be beyond your expectations.
If you have an idea, skill or expertise that can be useful to others, don’t hold yourself back. Believe in yourself, make up your mind, and take the biggest risk of your life. If you have a doubt about the products, services or execution, then identify the areas where you need clarity. Look for assistance actively and clarify all the doubts. Give your best. You will either have a fantastic business or have some lessons learned in life that are invaluable. In either case, you will be better than what you are today.
Here is a step by step guide to help you get started with your business easily and quickly.
How To Start Your Own Business in 9 Easy Steps
Decide a Niche
What do you want to sell?
It is crucial to answer this question to start a business. Never start a business with a vague idea of the product or service you are going to sell. Create a list of goods and services you would be selling.
If you are building a mobile or web application, games or a marketplace, then record the initial set of features you would like to develop. And, what distinct benefits the customers will get from those features.
Keep things as simple as possible. While starting the business, avoid selling too many products or services. You must be able to state your business in one or two sentences. Once you have some experience, you can add more items in your offerings.
Do some online research to gauge the demand for your services. You should also spend significant time in deciding the right price of your product or service business. Setting a price for products is easy. The price will be fixed for every unit. However, if you are providing services, the pricing may vary with every order. The pricing structure plays a critical role in the success of your business.
While pricing the services of a new business, you should take care of the following:
- How to Charge – Fixed price or hourly rates
- Competitive Pricing – How competition is charging for a similar service
- The perceived value of your services – How customers see the value of your services
- The level of your knowledge and experience in the specific services
- Payment Terms
- How do you handle revision and modification requests
Initially, keep a flexible pricing to attract more customers. As you start growing your clientele, you will get a picture of the pricing structure. You can use mystery shopping to find out the prices charged by competitive firms.
At this stage, you should also do a quick research on the marketing strategy you should adopt in future to attract more customers.
Name your Business
The next important step in creating a business is to zero down on a name. Although the name of a company does not affect its performance initially, it plays a critical role in the success of the organization in the long term. The name must be unique and indicate the product or services you are selling. It should not infringe the copyright of other businesses. Pay particular attention to the copyrighting issues as lawsuits have made many businesses shut their operations or undergo an expensive rebranding exercise in the middle of their growth period.
Design a logo
Once you have zeroed in a name, use Freelancer Contest, Fiverr or 99Design to get a logo for your business. Other elements of corporate identity such as letter heads, visiting cards, etc. can be printed at this stage. These things don’t help directly in increasing sales, but play a significant role in building a professional image of your business.
Develop a website
Register a cheap domain name with GoDaddy or any other registrars. Buy hosting and email services from the same or other firms based on your preference. I suggest Bluehost and Dreamhost as I have used services of both the companies and found them excellent. Initially, the choice of hosting or email service providers won’t have much impact on your business. However, once the traffic starts growing, you may need to upgrade your hosting to accommodate the increasing bandwidth.
Use WordPress to develop the website. You can use a premium or free theme based on your choice to design the look and feel of the site. Using easy tutorials, you can install the WordPress themes and develop the website quickly. If you are not comfortable with the technology, hire a developer from Fiverr or Upwork to get this done for you at a fraction of what you will pay to a local developer.
Develop Content that convert
Write content that clearly explains the benefits of your products or services to your clients. The content must be short, crisp and to the point. The words used in landing pages must be strong, positive and encourage users to take action. The packages, membership plans or other offers must be distinct and clear.
Don’t write narrative content. Never use overused jargons. The ultimate aim of your website content must be to tell stories your customers love. You can hire a professional copywriter from Upwork or Writers Per Hour to write the high quality content for your website.
Shout it Out
Send an introductory email about your business to your friends and social media connections. It should be a simple “let me inform you” mail. Avoid sales pitch at this stage. You may request people in your circle to provide feedback on several things such name, logo, website, product or services, etc. Listen to their feedback carefully and work on those that deserve your attention.
This step is critical to the overall success of your business. The quality and quantity of sales in the first six months will decide the direction of your business. Register your business on prominent marketplaces. Invest in social media and search engine marketing. Try everything possible to increase sales. If you are a service provider, ensure an excellent level of service delivery. This will increase customer retention and decrease the overall cost of customer acquisition.
Hire and Develop People
I suggest entrepreneurs to avoid hiring people until it is unavoidable. It helps in keeping the overhead cost on the lower side. Also, we have cloud-based technology solutions that can do a lot of regular stuff. Moreover, hiring contractual staff is an easier, cheaper and better way to scale up or down the business initially.
However, once your business takes off, you will have no option but to hire great people to run your business. Hire people for their values and cultural match and not just for skills. Creating a culture is important to sustain the business in the long term.
There is no right or wrong way to run a business. Don’t shy away from making mistakes. Being yourself and putting your heart and soul into the firm will create newer ways to address emerging challenges. No matter what business you do, strive to ensure an excellent experience for your customers. Last but not the least, stay focused. At some point, every entrepreneur feels that they are not made for the business they have chosen. Don’t let such thoughts distract you.