One of the most crucial skills an entrepreneur can have is being able to process a lot of information at once. Entrepreneurs are constantly busy; there’s always something else to tend to when you’re the owner of a business, after all. If you’re yet to embark on your journey as an entrepreneur, then the sheer volume of information you need to absorb regarding how to start the business up and how to run it could feel overwhelming. That’s where we come in. Here are just some of the things you need to know about the process of starting a small business.
You’re going to need funding
Gathering funding is one of the first things you should look to do when starting a business. As you might imagine, there are plenty of sources you can look to for funding. Whether it’s angel investment, standard business loans, or venture capital, if your idea is sound and your plan is as foolproof as you can make it, then investment should be slightly easier to obtain. You can even dip into personal funds; using bad credit loans for a last-gasp attempt at fulfilling a dream is far from unheard of in the business world, so give this a shot if you truly believe in your idea.
No investor is going to give you the time of day if you don’t have a solid, well-researched, and clear business plan. This should show exactly what you intend to do with your business; how you intend to achieve success, what you’re going to do with any funding you get, and how you intend to carve out a niche for yourself and identify your client base, among other things. Writing a great business plan is never easy, but it’s a necessary step if you want to get funding and build a successful business. Make sure you seek external help if you feel like you need to.
Unfortunately, many businesses are destined to fail, even with the best management techniques in the world being exercised. Within the first year of operation, around 20% of businesses fail, and 60% of businesses – which is a sizable majority – will go bust within three years of starting up. Of course, you shouldn’t let that discourage you; with good management, a little luck, and a lot of hard work, there’s no reason your business can’t be one of the 40% that carry on beyond three years. Still, you should be aware that business failure can happen, and it can often be outside your control, too.
Many entrepreneurs make the fatal mistake of thinking their business idea has to be a completely new one. The fact is that coming up with a totally innovative, fresh idea can be incredibly difficult. All you need to do is create a business that fulfils a niche or a gap that isn’t filled by another, more successful operation. That idea doesn’t have to be new; it just has to be successful. Of course, it does have to be a good idea, which is much harder to come by. Identifying a niche isn’t enough; you also need to know how best to serve that niche, and how your idea can do just that. Speaking of which…
Every business has its own demographic. Depending on what you’re trying to create – whether it’s a product, a service, or some mixture of the two – your demographic will be different, and could even be distinct from a competitor’s, even if you’re doing similar things. To identify your demographic, it’s necessary to engage in some market research. Find out what kind of person needs the things you’re going to provide. Look into your competitors and see what niches they’re providing for. Is there a gap in the market that you could neatly slot into?
An unfortunate reality of the corporate world is that there are some companies who are simply too big to touch. If your company is an ecommerce retailer, for example, you are never going to be able to compete with Amazon. That’s a reality you’ll need to face up to. In fact, one of the best things you can do as a new ecommerce business is simply to work with Amazon. Open up a seller’s store on the site and sell your goods through Amazon; they may take a cut of the profits, but many people will discover you through these bigger companies anyway, so you’ll gain in the long run.
You could have the greatest business idea in the world and an incredible product or service to back it up, but that’s going to mean nothing if you don’t invest enough into marketing. Telling people your business exists is how you’ll drum up more custom; you won’t be able to draw people in if they don’t see what you’re doing. Use social media extensively to market yourself; pay for ad campaigns, build profiles and try to create viral content, and engage with followers when you get them. You can also pursue more traditional marketing avenues like paid ads on Google and even physical advertising on billboards if you think it would suit your business.