11 Step Guide to Starting a Business

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There are no limits on who can become a great entrepreneur. You don’t necessarily need a college degree, a bunch of money in the bank, or even business experience to start something that could become the next major success. However, you do need a strong plan and the drive to see it through.

Check out this step-by-step guide to help turn your big idea into a successful business.

  1. Evaluate yourself.

Let’s start with the most basic question: Why do you want to start a business? Use this question to guide what kind of business you want to start. If you want extra money, maybe you should start a side hustle. If you want more freedom, maybe it’s time to leave your 9-to-5 job and start something new.

Once you have the reason, start asking yourself even more questions to help you figure out the type of business you should start, and if you have what it takes.

  • What skills do you have?
  • Where does your passion lie?
  • Where is your area of expertise?
  • How much capital do you need?
  • Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?

Be honest with your answers. This will create a foundation for everything you do moving forward, so it is better to know the truth now than later.

  1. Think of a business idea.

Do you already have a killer business idea? If so, congratulations! You can proceed to the next section. If not, there are a ton of ways to start brainstorming for a good idea.

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Also, go out and meet people and ask them questions, seek advice from other entrepreneurs, research ideas online, or use whatever method makes the most sense to you.

  1. Do market research.

Is anyone else already doing what you want to start doing? If not, is there a good reason why?

Start researching your potential rivals or partners within the market. It breaks down the objectives you need to complete with your research and the methods you can use to do just that. For example, you can conduct interviews by telephone or face to face. You can also offer surveys or questionnaires that ask questions like “What factors do you consider when purchasing this product or service?” and “What areas would you suggest for improvement?”

  1. Get feedback.

Let people interact with your product or service and see what their take is on it. A fresh set of eyes can help point out a problem you might have missed. Plus, these people will become your first brand advocates, especially if you listen to their input and they like the product.

  1. Write your business plan.

A business plan is a written description of how your business will evolve from when it starts to the finish product.

Here’s what we suggest should be in your business plan:

  • Title page. Start with the name of your business, which is harder than it sounds. This article can help you avoid common mistakes when picking.
  • Executive summary. This is a high-level summary of what the plan includes, often touching on the company description, the problem the business is solving, the solution and why now.
  • Business description. What kind of business do you want to start? What does your industry look like? What will it look like in the future?
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  • Market strategies. What is your target market, and how can you best sell to that market?
  • Competitive analysis. What are the strengths and weakness of your competitors? How will you beat them?
  • Design and development plan. What is your product or service and how will it develop? Then, create a budget for that product or service.
  • Operations and management plan. How does the business function on a daily basis?
  • Finance factors. Where is the money coming from? When? How? What sort of projections should you create and what should you take into consideration?

For each question, you can spend between one to three pages. Keep in mind, the business plan is a living, breathing document and as time goes on and your business matures, you will be updating it.

  1. Finance your business.

There are a ton of different ways to get the resources you need to start your business.

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Join a startup incubator or accelerator. These companies are designed to help new or startup businesses get to the next level. Most provide free resources, including office facilities and consulting, along with networking opportunities and pitch events. Some, also provide seed funding as well.

  1. Develop your product or service.

After all the work you’ve put into starting your business, it’s going to feel awesome to actually see your idea come to life. But keep in mind, it takes a village to create a product. If you want to make an app and you’re not an engineer, you will need to reach out to a technical person. Or if you need to mass-produce an item, you will have to team up with a manufacturer.

  1. Start building your team.

To scale your business, you are going to need to hand off responsibilities to other people. You need a team.

  1. Find a location.

This could mean an office or a store. Your priorities will differ depending on need.

  1. Start getting some sales.

No matter your product or industry, your business’s future is going to depend on revenue and sales.

  1. Grow your business.

There are a million different ways to grow. You could acquire another business, start targeting a new market, expand your offerings, and more. But, no growth plan will matter if you don’t have the two key attributes that all growing companies have in common.

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