Starting a business is no easy feat. So, whether you want to be the next big entrepreneur with a worldwide, globally recognised company or simply want a side business to bring in some extra cash alongside your job, you need to be prepared for the work and commitment that will be required of you.
Nine out of ten businesses fail during their first year of operation, so if you want yours to be the one that succeeds, it’s essential to do the legwork to prepare properly beforehand. No matter how big or small your dreams are for your business, the effort that you put into preparation could be the key difference between success and failure. So, what can you do to make sure that your business dreams, goals, and objectives come into fruition? Let’s take a closer look at the main things you should be doing to prepare.
If you’ve never started your own business before, the best way to get started is by finding and talking with people who’ve already been through the experience and can offer their help. The easiest way to do this is by taking the time to attend a wide range of networking events, specifically ones that are aimed at the industry that you would like to get into. Networking with experienced business owners is not only a great way to swap ideas, get advice, and learn something new; you may also be able to find people who are willing to invest their time, energy, and even their money into your business idea, and help you turn it into a reality. Use apps such as Meetup to find business networking events local to you; many are aimed at new and aspiring business owners and are an excellent resource for getting your company started.
#2. Invest in Education:
Are there any aspects of starting a new business that you are currently struggling with? Rather than hope that you will learn as you go, it’s a wise idea to first invest in your own education and improving your knowledge and skills. The more professional knowledge and information that you have, the easier it will be for you to deal with all of the challenges that starting your own business can come with. And, there are several options to choose from when it comes to boosting your business knowledge. You can study for an online degree in business, take an MBA at a local university or business school, or simply opt for career coaching lessons with an experienced tutor. Check out Superprof for a range of tutors who specialise in coaching topics and areas that could be extremely useful for you as a new business owner, such as public speaking, business and leadership skills, personal development, sales, marketing, and much more.
#3. Get a Mentor:
Many new and inexperienced entrepreneurs find that working one to one with a mentor who has years of experience and expertise to offer is just what they need to get their business idea off the ground and become successful. When you work with a mentor, you’re less likely to make common early business mistakes, as chances are your mentor will have already made these mistakes themselves and can guide you, so that you don’t fall into the same traps and are able to learn from their experience. There are many different ways to find a mentor; you may simply come across somebody at a networking event who is willing to act as a mentor for you, or you may pitch your business idea successfully to an investor who is also willing to mentor you, for a share in your business. Many entrepreneurs offer their services exclusively as consultants and mentors too, so it’s certainly worth investing in this service to get your business off to the best start.
#4. Write a Business Plan:
Before you can get your business started, it’s essential to come up with a business plan that you can refer to at each stage of company inception and growth. Even if you are not in a position where you need to apply for additional business funding, a business plan can help you make sure that you are on the right track with every decision that you make for your new venture. If you are unsure of how to write a solid business plan, there are several resources online that can help you do so successfully, or you can get help from a business mentor or advisor. Don’t forget that your business plan is not set in stone. As your company grows and evolves, you may find that it is necessary to be flexible with your plan and make the necessary changes to secure your success.
#5. Understand Your Target Market:
For your business to be successful, it’s crucial that you have a clear understanding of the customers that you are targeting. You will not only need to know who they are, but also what they like and dislike, how much money they are willing and able to spend, how they communicate with brands, the values that they hold dear, and what they expect from the businesses that they shop with. Understanding their opinion of your competitors is also crucial, as you can use this to determine the next steps to take when it comes to branding and company image. The best way to get to know your target market is with extensive research. Market research companies will help you by providing surveys, opinion polls and focus groups to people who fit the demographic, which will help you get a clearer picture of the people that you are targeting with your products and services.
#6. Get to Know Your Competition:
It’s not just your target market that you need to work on developing a relationship with and getting to know well. To be successful in business, it’s all about remaining one step ahead of your competition. Even if you are only starting a small, side business whilst working, don’t think that there won’t be anybody to compete with. Keep a close eye on your competition and figure out what they are doing well, and what they are falling behind on. Then, use this to your advantage by doing what they do well even better, and avoid the actions and strategies that aren’t working.
#7. Set Short- and Long-Term Goals:
Going into starting your new business with only long-term goals in mind can quickly lead to it becoming very overwhelming in just a short amount of time. Whilst long-term goals are certainly very important, it’s crucial that you meet them with a series of smaller and more manageable short-term goals that all lead to meeting your main objectives in the long run. Set small, easy-to-meet goals for yourself over a period of days, weeks or months, with the aim of meeting larger objectives tied into every small goal that you make. In addition to being easier to manage for you and your team, this will also help you better determine which strategies work better than others before it’s too late.
Starting your own business, no matter how big or small requires a lot of hard work and dedication. By taking the right steps to prepare, you can improve your chances of business success.