Ready to become an entrepreneur but don’t know where to start? In this article we’re going to discuss the 9 steps necessary to becoming an entrepreneur and starting your business. While businesses in different industries may have extra steps in order to pass certain regulations or in order to be set up to reach their customers, here are the 9 steps that every entrepreneur was go through to launch their new business:
- Find Your Business Idea
- Test Your Business Idea
- Create a Business Plan
- Find the Right Amount of Financing
- Create a Legal Business Entity
- Build a Website & Start Your Online Presence
- Create a Specific Plan for Your First 100 Days
- Make Sure Your Product or Service is Ready
- Tell Everyone You’re in Business
Once you’ve completed all of these steps and are officially in business, be sure to check out our article on 7 things new entrepreneurs should not do to make sure you don’t create any big problems before you business gets too far off the ground. If you have a business idea but are worried that the timing isn’t right to start your business then check out our article on why the time to start your business is always right.
Now, let’s dive into each step and learn how to complete each one.
#1 Find Your Business Idea
This may seem pretty obvious since it’s hard to start a business without a starting point. You need the foundation of what the business is going do for people, or what it’s going to sell to people. Finding your business idea is so much more than that, though.
You need to find the right idea for you. That means not only is there a need for your business to exist, but it is something that makes you passionate enough to get out of bed during the hard days and make sure everyone knows there is still a reason that it exists. If you find that, then the time to become an entrepreneur is now.
#2 Test Your Business Idea
Are you sure your idea is a good one? I know we all think our ideas are fantastic, but how do you really know? You need to get a sample size of people that aren’t members of your “love lie club”, which is friends and family members that love you enough to lie to you. Test your product or service with other people and see if you have a positive response. If people that match the group that will make up your target market of customers are genuinely excited about your idea then you know you’re ready to move forward.
#3 Create a Business Plan
A business plan is very important to layout a map for how you’re going to be successful. This is an exercise that every entrepreneur needs to do before they start pouring money or resources into a business. You need to know about how much you expect to spend, and how you’re going to spend your money. You need to know how you plan on marketing your business and getting customers.
The formality of your plan isn’t as important as the exercise of going through the thought process of each of these vital steps in your business. If you’ve made it to this step then be sure to check out our article on what to include in a business plan.
#4 Find the Right Amount of Financing
Now that you’ve written a business plan you should have a thumb in the air estimate as to how much money you’re going to need to get your business off the ground. It won’t be an exact number by any means, but you should be pretty close. That number might be $100 for some online businesses, but it could be thousands of dollars for product based businesses or businesses that require large pieces of equipment.
When you know the right number then you should hit up your friends, family, or your bank account to find what you need. If you don’t have the immediate resources you need then you may have to get a loan. As a startup you won’t qualify for the loans with the best interest rates, but short term loans can have similar total costs of capital if you’re paying them back swiftly. Check out our recommendations on the best small business loans.
#5 Create a Legal Business Entity
A lawyer friend once told me “Getting sued is the price for doing business.” Unfortunately we live in a litigious society, and you need to protect yourself regardless of your industry. You don’t want to put your personal assets at risk when you do business. We recommend you find the right legal structure for you and move forward on creating it before you start selling products or services to anyone.
#6 Build a Website and Start Your Online Presence
Let’s face it, the world is now online. Even if you don’t sell your products online, your customers are there. The first thing that many customers will do when they first hear about your business is go online and check you out. If you don’t exist or at least have a website, then you may lose sales before you have a shot at them. Check out our article on how to build a website that converts your site visitors into sales.
#7 Create a Specific Plan for the First 100 Days
The first 100 days of your business are the most vital. The majority of businesses fail within the first year, and that downward spiral starts in the first 100 days. In fact, many online businesses and side projects are given up on if there isn’t a significant amount of progress in those first 100 days. This is why we recommend taking your business plan and turning it into an actionable process of how you’re going to move forward in your first 3+ months.
#8 Make Sure Your Product or Service is Ready
At this point you’re almost ready to start telling everyone about your business. But before you do you should make sure your product or service is ready. You only get one chance to make a first impression on your potential customers. You don’t want to delay your business launch forever because you’ll never be able to make everything perfect, but you should do your best to set your business up for success.
#9 Tell Everyone You’re in Business
Now that you’ve done our first eight steps, it’s time to tell the world that you’re in business. Every time someone asks you what you do, or what you’re interested in. Every time you interact with a potential customer via reach out or on social media. Don’t miss an opportunity to tell anyone and everyone about your business and why you could potentially help them. Be a light for the customers that you could potentially have in the future.
The Smart Hack
Now that you’re ready to get your business off the ground, tell us in the comments below how it’s going and what other questions you have.