With job security becoming a relic of the past and wages stagnant, many people are considering starting their own business.
But before you can start selling your products, you’ll have to conduct market research, create a business plan and obtain the proper paperwork. Here are seven smart steps to help you get started.
1. Research Your Market
Researching your market lets you reduce risks even when your business idea is still a mere gleam in your eye. Look at demand, economic indicators, and competitors to make sure your business can succeed.
Find out whether your product will fill a gap in the market, meet a customer frustration, or offer something new that can disrupt the industry. You can use online forums in your niche to gather information and get first hand feedback from customers. You’ll also want to set up a company website, and social media to interact with potential customers and promote your brand.
2. Build a Website
A well-planned website is one of the most important parts of a new business. It helps establish credibility and encourages customers or readers to spend more time on the site.
If you’re not familiar with how to build a website, consider hiring a professional designer or utilizing a website-building platform. Your site should have pages that ladder up to your intended business impact, such as an “About Us” page, product pages and a contact form.
Register your business in online directories and submit it to city hall or local chambers of commerce for inclusion in their listings. It’s also a good idea to obtain commercial insurance.
3. Develop a Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve established your market and built a minimum viable product, it’s time to start building your brand and converting those early interest leads into sales. This means creating a company website and building up an online presence on social media.
This will help you show your market that you are a serious business and that you have the potential to succeed. It will also give you the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise, and to build trust amongst your audience. You should also consider registering key documents like articles of incorporation or an operating agreement, a DBA, an EIN and income tax forms.
4. Build a Brand
Building your business and building a reputation is vital to success. This includes conducting extensive market research to understand your clients and the demographics of potential customers. It also means developing a company website and using social media to spread the word about your new business.
Finally, it’s important to build a brand by creating a unique value proposition that differentiates your business from others in the industry. The process of building a brand can be difficult, but it’s worth the effort to ensure that your business is successful.
5. Get a Business License
Once you’ve settled on the appropriate legal structure and registered your business, it’s time to focus on getting any required licenses and permits. For example, New York City’s NYC Business website has a helpful online tool that can help you identify the licenses and permits your business needs based on location and industry.
If you’re operating in a state where requirements vary, check out the Small Business Administration’s list of resources for each region, as well as local government websites. Also, remember to keep up with any renewal requirements.
6. Hire Employees
Even if you plan to remain a solopreneur for the life of your business, at some point, you will need employees and will need to establish a formal hiring process. Be sure to research the specific employment laws in your area, and make a point of registering your business for workers’ compensation insurance.
A common mistake many new entrepreneurs make is to hire too quickly, and this can cause a host of problems in the long run. You’ll need to register for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and apply for any necessary business taxes.
7. Start Selling
The next step is to start selling your products or services. Make sure you have a system in place for customer service and follow up. This will help you build a strong reputation and attract repeat customers.
The first year of business is often the most difficult. It is essential to keep your business afloat by making a profit. This can be done by focusing on building relationships with your clients, offering excellent service, and keeping your prices competitive.
When you’re ready to start selling, it is important to take the time to do your research. This will ensure that you are not wasting your time and money.