When it comes to taking the next logical step in your career, for many people, this means opening up your own small business. For others, it may simply mean moving on to the next challenge; however, choosing to become your own boss and making your way as a small business owner can be equal parts daunting and exciting too.
Sure, you may have read the stories about people starting a business from their sofa on a dime, but those successes are rare, and chances are, they already have the tools they needed to succeed. That is unless they simply struck it lucky, and it all fell into place.
But most of the time, planning a new small business takes a lot of time to plan and prepare, especially if you need to acquire capital to help you get started.
But that doesn’t mean you should put it off – far from it. You should actually start making plans now to help you start off your new business on the right foot to give yourself the best chance of success for the future.
Create a Business Plan.
No business should be void of a business plan. You need to know what you want to achieve and how to get there. It makes sense to plan out every detail and do your homework if only to prove to yourself that you are capable of doing it.
So what should you be considering when it comes to creating a solid business plan to help you with your new startup?
- Do you need business premises?
- Where do you need to be located?
- Is there passing traffic, or are you easily located for clients to find you?
- Will you need to hire employees?
- How much will you need to set up, if anything?
- What is the market like for your type of business?
- Is there scope to expand, if so, how is the market evolving to allow this?
- Is there demand for what you are selling?
- D you have a unique selling point, and what can you offer that others aren’t?
- What is your competition, and what can you learn from them?
- Do you have a contingency plan for worst-case scenarios?
Once you know your answer to these kinds of questions, you can actively start working to make your dream a reality.
This goes for you and any staff members you might be taking on. Can you do with brushing up your knowledge in certain areas? This comes in especially useful if you are going to be a solo outfit and want to take care of everything yourself.
However, picking up extra tools of the trade is never going to be a bad thing, and investing in further education for your future. There are many different courses that could be beneficial to your new business, depending on the sector you are going into.
So, why not use this time to enroll in a course such as those offered by the University of Southern California to help you gain an edge over competitors and fully prepare yourself for the world of small business owners.
If you are taking on staff members, making sure they are fully trained before you start accepting clients or customers could help you capitalize on being able to excel at your customer service by making sure everyone is working from the same page and know exactly what they are doing and talking about from the word go.
We covered a little part of this in your business plan above, but going into a new business without doing any research will only set you up for failure. With over 50% of companies failing in the first five years, you want to know you are avoiding the mistakes others are making.
How much competition do you have in your sector? This is something you should know so you can market yourself accordingly. Customers are always on the lookout for different services that can fulfil a need that isn’t being met currently.
How can you move your company forward in the future? What trends are emerging in your market for you to utilize and adapt to work for you? But mostly knowing you have a demand in the market for your products or services is half of the battle. The rest is all down to how you market yourself.
Create A Buzz
Use this prep time to create a buzz around your company. Even if you are a couple of months away from being ready to go, it doesn’t mean you can’t start marketing yourself ahead of time.
Look at registering your business in advance and getting yourself set up with a fully functional website and social media accounts to support this. Creating interest in your brand will lead to many potential customers being ready to engage with you as soon as you open your doors, figuratively, or literally.
Maybe look at hiring a marketing agency or a social media specialist who can read your profile and attract interest now. After all, you will need a solid marketing plan, why not get it up and running in the meantime. Creating SEO optimized content for your website can help you rank higher in search engines. Getting this right can mean people can find you easily using search terms you want to be found for. This will do you well for the future as you keep updating the information and adding to it as your business grows.
But marketing isn’t just for the internet. Creating branded products, business cards, and networking are also tried and tested tools in the marketing world that still hold clout today. The best campaigns mix traditional marketing methods with new strategies to help maximize reach and sales potential.
In conclusion: Doing your prep work before jumping head first into running a new business an be the difference between your new venture being a success or a failure. If you are taking the plunge, take the time to know all you can to help you help yourself when it comes down taking on this responsibility.