How to Start a Business: 8 Critical Steps to Success

You can Success in business even without any experience and with very little money. But you need to make the best decisions on a number of critical issues. Here’s some quick advice on how to make the best choices.

How

1-Find an awesome business idea

A great business idea is going to make a difference in the success of your business. Yet many entrepreneurs go about choosing a business idea the wrong way and end up with either a bad business or a business that isn’t well suited for them. Often, they don’t even really choose a business idea. They just drift towards it. Maybe they saw that a particular business had a lot of customers. Maybe they heard that a friend of a friend was making a lot of money in a business.

Instead, you want to choose your business idea carefully. First, you should put together a big list of business ideas that appeal to you. If you don’t start out with a big list of business ideas to consider, you are not going to end up with an awesome one.

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2-Develop a competitive advantage

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail to truly make their business different from their competitors. They might survive, but often they end up competing on price, struggle to find customers, and suffer from low-profit margins.

It doesn’t have to be that way! A little bit of effort building a competitive advantage into your business will go a long way to making it successful.

Too many entrepreneurs try to compete head-on by being “better” than their competition. Or they simply think they will succeed by working harder and longer. That might work at school or in sports, but not in business. In business, you want to be different and avoid competing directly with the other players.

3-Carefully create your business plan

A business plan is going to help you build a better business. Even a small, part-time business should have a business plan. If you don’t have a good business plan you will likely end up running your business in a haphazard, disorganized way. A good business plan carefully evaluates all the key factors in your situation including the market, potential customers, the competition and your strengths and weaknesses. This process then leads to an optimal strategy for your business, along with a cohesive operating plan.

4-Develop compelling marketing

The big secret about marketing is that it is hard not just for new businesses, but also for existing businesses. If you try to pretend marketing isn’t hard and you decide you are going to pour all your resources into one unproven marketing direction, you could get into trouble really quickly.

So, what’s the solution? You want to try lots of very different types of marketing. And you want to spend as little money as possible on any one marketing campaign until it is proven to work.

5-Create financial statements and projections

Do you need to hire someone to do your accounting? No, you can almost certainly do it yourself. The key is to be organized. You need to record every single purchase and every single sale. You also need to create financial statements and projections. But it’s easy to learn. The most basic financial statement is the income statement. It provides a summary of your revenue, your expenses and your resulting profit over a period of time. You should also create a balance sheet and make future financial projections.

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6-Finance your business

There’s a lot of ways to finance a small business, even a startup. But especially with a startup, you are not going to get money from a traditional bank. You will need to explore alternatives.You also need to be fully prepared before approaching any potential financing source, including being able to explain how much money you need, how you are going to pay it back, and why your business is going to succeed. Your background and how you present yourself will also make a big difference.

7-Find a great name

It drives me crazy to see business after business with a lousy name! Like anything else, if you give it serious thought and you get some expert advice, you can come up with a great name.

Lots of people make the mistake of naming a business after themselves. For example, “Bob’s Painters.” It just doesn’t sound very professional and it could lead to people avoiding your business.

Other names may not lead to people avoiding your business, but they may not help attract them either. For example, “Belmont House Cleaners.”

8-Choose to learn

The more you learn about starting a running a business, the more likely you will succeed. And succeed in a big way.

I can tell you that hard work and perseverance can help. But they aren’t enough. You have to make great choices on key decisions along the way. Learning can make all the difference in making those choices.

It’s hard to find the time to learn. So here’s what I suggest. Set aside just 5 minutes every day. In about 5 minutes you could watch one video from a Business Town course and enhance your business learning in a systematic way.