1 Define your business and vision
In order to define what your business does, let’s ask ourselves a few questions. Who do we help and what problem do we solve for them? Why do we exist as a company? What is our vision for the future, for our company, our customers and our industry? What will our business do day to day? What is our plan for growth and what is our competitive advantage?
Check out regulatory and legal issues
This is probably a good place to check out regulatory, legal issues or other complications that could arise. Is everything you’re doing on the up and up? Before you start that daycare out of your house, why don’t we check the laws on that in your town. Recognizing potential hazards is always good to do before figuring out what kind of insurance and liability you need as well as if you need to incorporate as a legal organization (LLC, S-Corp, etc)
Set Business Goals
Set goals for your business. Personally, I enjoy setting quarterly goals, every three months. This helps me stay organized and not too overwhelmed. Setting both long and short term goals can help different people and really help establish a business. Figure out what your business goals are for everything from working with family and the size to finances to customer and staff satisfaction. Having clear goals and clear direction will help your business blossom.
2 Understand your customer
Who is your audience? The answer to this question will fluctuate but your ideal customer is the one who has an immediate and clear problem that they wish to solve. You need to be smart about when and how you get in front of your ideal customer, even after identifying them. Where do they hang out and spend time? What are their pain points and biggest problems?
Truly understand your customers, aim to help them and solve their problems and if you can do this successfully, there will always be a place for your business idea.
3 Learn from your competition
The best way to learn something is by studying those who have already achieved success in the areas you work in. Find the larger, more established companies in your industry and similar to your business. Find at least 5 profitable successful ones and 5 that you have never heard of and went out of business years ago. All ten stories will tell of both success and hardship, and you can learn a lot from every story.
There is no handbook on starting a business, no definitive guidelines to start your own organization. Learn from those who came before you, both in success and failure. Studying the way your competition goes about business is smart, and it is important to remember for new businesses that oftentimes the competition has been around much longer and is much more established, giving them an advantage in the sense of having a deeper understanding of their customers and the business model.
4 Financial matters
Finances are probably an obvious concern while starting a business, but it is important to take it to the next step. You should know a few numbers specifically, like your break even point, start up capital, forecasts and operating expenses. Budgeting is extremely important for a small, or newer, business and often expenses will be overlooked.
One of the first professionals most entrepreneurs hire is an accountant. This is because the financials can take much longer to do when being done by someone who is not a specialist. Obviously, the financial numbers are extremely important too, and you need to be able to pay your business expenses in order to remain operational.
Taking this seriously and tracking every single dollar that goes in or out of your business will be crucial to long term success.
5 Identify your marketing strategy
To figure out your marketing strategy, you do need to answer a few questions for yourself first.
First, you need to identify your target customers or audience. Get to know them, learn who they are. If you can understand what problems they have and who they are as people you have a much better chance of acquiring them as customers.
Qualify your customers
Second, qualify your customers. Your ideal customer, probably isn’t your ideal customer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your customer has a specific pain point that they realize at a certain time of the day, potentially in a specific place. If you can narrow down the time and place your audience needs you, you increase your marketing success rate drastically.
Lastly you need to find and test different tools and strategies to see what really clicks for your audience. When it comes to marketing there are so many options from free organic social media traffic to paid google ad campaigns to influencer shoutouts and collaborations with other businesses.
6 Stand out and be Unique
The most important thing with marketing is to remember to stand out, be creative and be unique. Other businesses have been famous for creative marketing strategies. McDonalds actually planted rare flowers on the side of a highway, knowing they could not legally be picked or removed due to their rarity, the McDonald’s golden M sat on the side of the highway in bright yellow flowers.
Being very creative within marketing
This is an excellent example of being very creative within marketing. If you are looking for other business to look into, Steve Jobs was renowned for his marketing and design efforts at Apple.
If your business successfully solves a real world problem that many people have, and you can identify who exactly your audience is, while testing different marketing strategies consistently, you have a much higher chance of success.