Thinking of starting a small business of your own? It can be quite overwhelming at first, figuring out where to begin, who to talk to, and whether your strategy is destined for success. Whilst there’s no magic formula for quickly and confidently achieving your business goals, I do want to impart the top five non-negotiables, in my opinion, for setting up your small business.
- Find your niche
Know the market, and identify whether there is a gap or opportunity to place your brand. Determine your ideal customer and get to know the target demographic. Study your competitors and recognise where their strengths and weaknesses lie. There will no doubt be setbacks along the way, but consider each and every one as a crucial learning curve. Ensure you’re passionate about what you’re putting forward, as this is the key driver for success. Knowledge will always point you in the right direction, but you need to have ambition to cut through the noise.
- Write a detailed business plan
It is absolutely crucial to have a business plan in place. It will help steer your business from the go to grow phase, allow you to acknowledge business milestones, and it can also help to identify potential funding opportunities via banks or investors. A business plan should ideally include the following: market research, marketing strategies, short term goals, long term goals, finances, budgeting , margins, your competitors, your strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threats, then finish it off with your mission statement. It’s important to note there is no right or wrong way to write up a business plan, just visit it regularly to mark what you have achieved and what you still need to work on. This is something you can always add to, but never delete, you need to know what worked and what didn’t in order to move forward with new strategies.
- Assess your finances before you begin
Starting a business requires a fair amount of funding, and truth be told, you will need to spend a lot of money before you even see a profit. Don’t overspend on unnecessary items to begin with, because that will limit your turn over. Start small and continue to expand as and when your revenue grows. I would also recommend scoping options and availability for funding, whether it be from a financial institution, business grants, or investors.
- Don’t be afraid to seek out advice
Look for a mentor or advisor for the whole start-up process. Google, of course, is a very handy resource, however networking within your industry is especially important, as you will learn other people’s approaches, experiences, and prior knowledge. Seek legal advice to ensure you protect yourself and your brand, while also ensuring you are following legal guidelines. Get to know your accountant as they will also be able to guide and manage your finances throughout your entire small business journey, as well as advising the state, federal and local taxes you need to abide by.
- Develop a strong working structure
Put in the hard yards right off the bat; running a small business can sometimes feel impossible but with efficient working structures and systems in place, you won’t lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Keep control of your business and don’t try to grow faster than you can handle, it’s all about the long-term so try to enjoy the ride.