Leaving the corporate world for entrepreneurship is an idea that appeals to many people but can be hard to navigate. Figuring out how to start a business is often so complex that it scares people away from their entrepreneurial goals and ambitions. What do you plan to sell? Who are you willing to sell it to? How do you plan to get new customers? These are just a few of the many questions that will pop up in your mind.
If this does not sound enough, every week, there seems to be a trendy business idea online that comes with its market potential. Facebook ads for social media marketing, chatbots for automation, Instagram influencers to run campaigns, and much more. How do you keep up with all of these trends? How do you successfully start a business in these challenging times?
If you seriously want to drop the shenanigans of corporate life and enter the entrepreneurial setup, then you need to stop overthinking the process and get straight to work. Then, put in the work required to make it happen.
Starting a business involves making financial decisions, planning, acquiring knowledge, doing market research, and preparing a business plan. You will have to step into areas you never thought about before and run the hard miles.
It is important to note that there is no one size fits approach to starting a new business. Every industry, every business idea, and every niche requires a different implementation plan.
Evaluate Your Readiness
There is never a right time, per se, to start your business. The stars didn’t align for Romeo and Juliet, and the chances are that they probably won’t align for you either. However, if you’re holding yourself back from starting your business due to some extrinsic factors, then you’ll be lost in a world of ifs and buts. There will always be something stopping you from leaving your job and starting your business. All you need to do is evaluate your readiness to make that move.
When it comes to leaving your job and starting your business, you should look for the right mindset rather than the right timing. Are you in the perfect state of mind required for running a business? If your answer to this question was anything less than a ‘heck yeah,’ then you seriously need to reevaluate your readiness. The reality is that you may feel that starting a business is easy and does not require anything significant. And that may be true in some cases, but turning that business into a process that generates money can be extremely tough in the long run.
You need to have the right mindset and be fully prepared to take the challenge by the collar. Why? Because there will be innumerable challenges on the way, and you can only get past them if you are at the top of your game.
Determine the Type of Business You Should Start
The second step to starting your business is determining the kind of business you’re willing to start. Ask yourself a few questions to decide on your inclinations. Is there a niche that you’re particularly passionate about? Are you on the lookout for a business that you can actively work on and take forward just on your own? What industries are you interested in? How do you feel about turning hobbies that you’re passionate about into a business idea? The answers to these few questions will make the thought process easier for you and allow you to develop ideas for your business.
You can start your model from something as simple as a Shopify store or a freelance business on Fiver or other platforms. You can also go for more traditional business models that require a team, such as restaurants or a manufacturing company. Find an area that best suits your interests and work on it.
An excellent way to figure out the type of business you should start, one that we recommend, is to create a list of things you are intensely passionate about. These things could include yoga, dogs, personal finance, clothing, movies, and food, among many others.
Once you find out what you’re passionate about, research the market to find the relevant traffic in that niche. The idea you pick should be famous because that would eventually drive sales. Also, consider how you’d feel about the niche or the hobby five years down the line. Will it be something that gets you out of bed excited and raring to get going? If yes, then that’s your million-dollar idea.
Select a Business Model
After you shortlist ideas and identify the type of business you want, the next step is to select a business model. Think about your execution strategy, and select a business model based on that. The business model is a strategy that allows businesses to see just how they’re looking to make money off of their customers and the shape and form they should adopt.
When learning the right way to start a business, it helps to know some of the proven business models around, which you can choose for your own business as well:
- Freelancing: Freelancing is the most common business model today, where skilled professionals provide a service online that they’re proficient in. These services could include writing, advertising, programming, and designing.
- Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is used to promote products and services from other businesses and services. Companies in this line of work receive a commission on every sale they finalize. This opens a passive revenue stream.
- Information Products: If you have sufficient expertise and knowledge in a specific field, you can package it and sell it through worksheets, eBooks, templates, and feasible online courses.
- Coaching and Consulting: This is another business model that opens up through expertise in a field. Sell your advice, guidance, and experience by becoming a coach or a consultant in your preferred niche.
- eCommerce: eCommerce is the fastest growing industry today and requires selling and buying physical products online. eCommerce retailers are fast-growing in the digital world.
- Software as a Service: If you’ve got a knack for tech items, then Software as a Service or SaaS could excite you. Create the perfect application and software and charge users a recurring subscription fee.
Research Your Market
Once you’re done with the initial planning and contemplation, you need to research your target market and find identifiable trends within it. Who are you going to serve? Find out all about your target market; their behaviors, usage patterns, online buying behavior, and other linked factors.
This is an absolute necessity when starting your own business. In the words of Philip Kotler, “There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.”
To make the identification of your target market easier, you should make sure that you’re part of that audience. For instance, you might find it easier to sell products related to hiking on the internet if you’re a frequent hiker and know the problems involved in it. But, on the flip side, you will find it extremely hard to associate with your target market if you aren’t a frequent hiker and don’t know the steps and challenges in the process.
When choosing a target audience, make sure you ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there something you are an expert in?
- What are your interests and hobbies?
- What do you spend your time doing?
Find a Problem to Solve
This is an age-old business ideation technique that has worked for hundreds and thousands of entrepreneurs before you. All businesses, whether they offer a service or a product, solve a problem. They would fail to exist if the problem they solve wasn’t a problem in the first place.
So, look around you and identify the problems that people suffer from. Please take note of the issues people talk about and others they perceive as problems, but perhaps don’t talk about as much. The bigger the problem you’re solving, and the better your solution, the more money you will be able to generate from your customers. How does that sound?
The best way to find a problem you can solve is by researching online, asking your friends and family, looking in your own life, and studying the society around you at large. Problems are easy to locate since people are generally very vocal about them.
Set Realistic Expectations
Unnecessary and unrealistic expectations when you are starting your business can pull you down. We’ve heard plenty of stories about businesses and entrepreneurs buying large office spaces, investing thousands of dollars in advertising, and hoping the company will pay back instantly.
The business will take time to generate its own money and get on its feet. We love how excited people are when starting their own business, but don’t let that excitement make you off your feet.
Remember that every business succeeds through patience and perseverance. So we’re going to go on record and say that the most significant difference between successful businesses and failed ones is the perseverance of business owners.
Don’t go for luxury goods, business trips, offices, and other equipment just yet. Let the business stabilize and become sustainable first.
Create a Business Plan
Unless you want to eventually go to a bank or a credit agency for a loan, you need to have a definite business plan. To create your project before you start your business. Start with a one-page business plan, which you can later turn into a proper document for investment pitches and much more.
Your business plan creation process should start while you’re at your corporate job. No harm in dreaming when you’re still a 9-5 worker. A typical business plan should include the following:
- Problems your business will solve.
- A one-line elevator pitch
- List of your potential customers
- A SWOT analysis
- A financial plan, including budget and expenses
- Marketing plan for all 4 Ps
- Financial projections for future quarters, how much time will the business take to break even?
This step is where you give your business a name as well.
Once you have a business plan and have finalized your idea, it is best to get feedback from friends and family members. This stage will kill some ideas, based on how honest your friends and family members are.
Be open to criticism, improvements, and changes in your business plan because a stitch in time will save nine down the line.
Register Your Business
Study the relevant business laws in your state and register your business accordingly. In some states, you are only required to register your business once you have earned a set income. However, others require entrepreneurs to register from day one. The sooner you register and incorporate your business as a separate entity, the better it is for you from a legal perspective. Once your business is registered, it is considered a separate entity, and you as the owner may not be regarded as the same.