Are you thinking about starting a business? It can be very daunting because the odds are against you to last more than five years.
How can you survive the first five years and build a business that thrives? It all starts with the right foundation. Anytime you’re building something new, you have to have the right foundation in place to build on top of. Otherwise, you’re just going to have a house of cards that will topple.
Do you want to learn the top tips to create a thriving business? Read on for Business 101 and learn how to set your business up for success.
Take an Honest Look at Yourself
At the end of every single day, the success or failure of the business starts with you. A business is like being in a relationship with someone. It will reveal your faults and your strengths in ways you never imagined.
You’ll want to take an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses. For example, you could be very strong in sales but weak in money management. Your strengths could be customer service and accounting and delivering a service, while you’re weak at sales.
You can use this assessment to get the help and support that you need to create a thriving business. If you found that you’re weak in accounting, hire a bookkeeper to help you with your business finances.
Leadership and making tough decisions are a big part of running a business. The more self-aware you are, the easier it is to know how you’ll deal with certain situations. You might have customers that aren’t a good fit, you might have vendors who don’t deliver on time and a host of other problems.
You need to know that how you respond to stressful situations is going to have a huge role in the business you’re creating. It sets the tone and an example for your employees.
What’s Your Idea?
What’s the business you want to start? You have a big desire, what would you like to do? Do you have an idea for a mobile app, a fashion blog, or something else?
You need to have a clear idea as to what it is you want to do. You’re going to need to communicate your plans to other people and sell them on your ideas.
The clearer you are, the easier it is for other people to understand.
More importantly, you want to be able to convey why it’s important for you to start your business. You may have heard this from author Simon Sinek.
Your why is the purpose, the driving force between your business. It’s like starting a movement or a tribe. Your purpose is going to be needed to get buy-in from your customers, potential investors, and employees.
The Business Plan
Any Business 101 article will talk about the business plan. Do you need a business plan? Entrepreneurs really want to skip this step and just dive right into building a business. Don’t do it.
Recent research suggests that your business is much more likely to be successful with a business plan. Business plans aren’t just for people who need investors, they’re a necessary step in building a business.
Writing a business plan teaches you everything you need to know about your product, your customers, and how your business fits in against the competition. You also know your financials, too.
Here are the main things you want to include in your business plan.
Executive Summary: This is a summary of the business and the business plan on one page.
Target Market: This is where you talk about the demographics of your customers. You also want to get into their motivations to buy your product or service.
SWOT: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is where you assess what you do well and your internal weaknesses. There are also outside influences on your business such as increased competition and a strong economy.
Competition: You want to know everything you can about the competition. Understand how they market their businesses, to whom, their messaging, where they advertise, and their pricing models.
Financial Reports: You’ll need to know how much it costs to start the business, to operate the business, and how much you can expect to make over the next 3-5 years.
The purpose of the business plan is twofold. You understand your marketplace, and you know that you have a profitable business.
The Marketing Plan
The marketing plan can be a part of the business plan or a completely separate document. They go hand in hand as the marketing plan will drive revenue and there will be expenses for some marketing efforts that you need to account for.
When you create your marketing plan, you want to be clear on the tactics and the strategy that you use. They should align with how your customers find your services. You can read more here to learn more about creating a strategy.
They might turn to online search engines to do product research or to make a purchase. In this case, investing in SEO is a smart tactic.
Your potential customers could spend a lot of time on Instagram, which is where you want to be able to showcase your work.
Testing Your Idea
Before you launch your product or service, you want to test it in the marketplace. There’s a good chance that your systems are a little buggy and can use improvements. You don’t want to create a poor experience right out of the gate.
Get a small group of friends or family who are likely to be customers. Run them through your processes and get feedback as to where you can improve. That’s going to create a better customer experience for everyone.
Business 101: Start Your Business Off Right
Starting a business is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. You can become your own boss and finally call the shots.
When you start off in Business 101, you’re learning what it takes to build a thriving business. It’s a much smarter way than just starting with no plan.
Ready for more business tips? Read this article about the psychology of business success.