Nearly any interest you have can be seen as a business opportunity. There are gaps in every marketplace and when you’re a part of the consumer base, it can often be easier to see those gaps than if you’re on the production side. If you see a gap in the market and would like to create a business based on your talent and interests, the journey is a long, but rewarding one. As a general overview, here are a few key steps to take when starting your small business.
Create a business plan
Before you can truly begin developing your business, you need to create a business plan. This is the foundation for your business and will help you present to potential investors. A business plan will outline the guidelines for how you want to start and manage your business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends choosing between two business plan formats: a traditional plan and a lean startup plan.
A traditional business plan includes many in-depth sections about your company. This process will outline things like your company goals, marketing strategies, financials and the products themselves. This method is great for detail-oriented individuals that want to have everything ironed out before taking the leap.
A lean startup business plan may be a better fit for those creating a general overview rather than diving into all of the nitty-gritty details. The SBA recommends this plan for entrepreneurs who are trying to hit the ground running or those wanting to change up their plan throughout the run of their business.
Develop an online presence
The 21st century has brought with it an influx of technology that we’ve never seen before. The online presence of a business can make or break its success. Word of mouth is no longer actually speaking, but sharing and reviewing on social media. Create a website, join social media platforms and encourage your first customers to review your business online.
Credibility online is just as important as your presence itself. Michael Evans, a contributor for Forbes.com, recommends creating a domain name for your website as well as for your business email (i.e. your website would be www.mybusiness.com and your email would be firstname.lastname@example.org).
Find an office space
Another recommendation from Michael Evans is to find a space to conduct your business. At the very beginning, a lot of your business endeavors may be conducted out of your own home. However, as your client base increases, having a traditional office setting will appear far more professional to face-to-face clients.
If you do plan to work out of your home, dedicate an area of your household to your business. Whether that’s a desk, a room or a dedicated portion of your home, it will be far less distracting if you have a separation between your business and your personal life.
Starting a small business is not easy, but having a good foundation will create a strong platform for you to jump from. Having a thorough business plan will help prevent big surprises throughout the startup process.