So you want to start your own business, but you’re not sure what steps to take to ensure your business is successful? The first rule of starting a business is that nothing in business is for certain. You could be in business on Monday and lose all of your inventory Friday. It’s a gamble, but with the right tools, attitude, and drive, you can make it happen. Here are seven tips for starting a successful business.
- Wake Up Early, Work Hard
Starting a business takes discipline and a devoted schedule. That means you’re going to have to start devoting a lot of your time to the business. How do you squeeze a few more hours out of each day? You wake up early!
If you’re groaning at the prospect of waking up earlier, we get it. No one wants to wake up before done and immediately start grinding, but that’s exactly what you need to do if you want to run a successful business. Making the most out of every hour of your day is a crucial component to creating a lasting business that you can depend on for the entirety of your income.
Time management is a skill that can be learned, and you should absolutely invest time into learning it. Read books, study up on how to maximize your days, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. This is a crucial part of your business. Wake up early, go to bed at the same time every night, and you’ll have both the energy and the hours to invest in building your business.
- Have Well-Defined Goals
A business with no goals usually ends up going nowhere. When you decide you want to start your own business, you must sit down and write out the goals you want to achieve. Why are you starting a business to begin with? For extra money? To be your own boss? To change the world? Identify your motivation and pinpoint it to create lasting goals.
Once you’ve identified your goals, write out how you plan to reach them. This will give you direction when you feel like you don’t know where to go. You can pull out your journal or paper pad and refer back to your original goals to get a better idea of what you should be doing.
- Put Away Money
When you decide to start your business, you’re probably going to be still working your 9-5. You’ll want to start putting away money as much as you can, to have working capital for your business. Starting a business requires lots of cash, and not only for the materials, marketing, and other things like website design. You’ll need to pay to get a business registered with your state (LLC, Inc., etc.) and you will likely need an attorney or some kind of legal advice if this is your first business.
LegalZoom is a popular option for startups, as the service costs a lot less than a traditional business attorney, and they’ll be able to help you register your business no matter what state you live in. They’ll also act as your registered agent with your state, so all of your business will remain with one legal entity.
You also may need financial help via financial advisor if you’re struggling with the money end of things. A financial advisor will help you get personal finance under control, and even help you formulate a financial plan for your business.
- Build up a Network of People
One of the best resources you will have at your disposal as a budding entrepreneur is people. The old saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know” goes a long way in business. Building up a network of professionals can help mitigate costs, refer customers, and provide you with a long-lasting support base.
Stay in contact with any connections you make via video conferencing, emails, or even a good old-fashioned phone call. Don’t let connections die off, as you might find later on that the person you never contacted was exactly who you need now.
If you have no experience in the field you plan to do business in, you’ll want to get some. You can volunteer or even apply for low-level jobs in your field of interest just to get a better look at how the industry functions and what you can expect on a day-to-day basis. Experience is a truly priceless asset, so the more you can accumulate before starting your business, the better off you’ll be.
- Study Your Competition
Who will your competition be? It’s important to know which businesses you’ll be competing against in your field, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Business is a dog-eat-dog world, and going into in unprepared pretty much ensures the competition will swallow you whole.
Study the way the competition markets, prices their goods and services, how good (or bad) their customer service is, etc. Essentially, know your enemy.
- Market Research
Last, but most definitely not least, you’ll want to perform market research to get a better idea of who your customers will be and how you’ll reach them. Understanding your customers is just as important (if not more so) as understanding the competition.
Know your demographics; what ages, races, or genders are you hoping to reach with your products? Where are they located? What kinds of products do they buy? Not performing any market research can leave you with a product no one wants and a massive hole in your wallet from funding it.