People often ask us for a list of steps they can use to start their own business. From business type to business model to physical location, there are so many variables!
However, there are things that every business needs to do to get off the ground. So, here are the eight key steps you need to take to start your own business. Just remember, be flexible. Every business is unique and you may need to refine this list as you go.
1. Conduct a personal evaluation
Begin by taking stock of yourself and your situation:
- Why do you want to start a business? Is it money, freedom and flexibility, to solve a problem, or some other reason?
- What are your skills?
- What industries do you know about?
- Do you want to provide a service or a product?
- What do you like to do?
- How much capital do you have to risk?
- Will it be a full-time or a part-time venture?
2. Analyze your industry
Once you decide on a business that fits your goals and lifestyle, evaluate your idea. Who will buy your product or service? Who will your competitors be? At this stage, you also need to figure out how much money you will need to get started.
Your “personal evaluation” was as much a reality check as a prompt to get you thinking. The same thing applies when it comes to researching your business and the industry you’d like to go into.
There are a number of ways you can do this, including performing general Google searches, speaking to people already working in your target industry, reading books by people from your industry, researching key people, reading relevant news sites and industry magazines and taking a class or two (if this is possible).
3. Evaluate your target audience
Validate your business idea by creating a pitch page.
To determine how attractive your prospective market really is (your own desires aside for the moment), we suggest doing a market analysis.
- How urgently do people need the thing you’re selling or offering right now?
- What’s the market size? Are there already a lot of people paying for products or services similar to yours? Have you honed in on who exactly your target market is? Being specific will help you focus your marketing message and investment.
- How easy is it (and how much will it cost you) to acquire a customer? If you’re selling enterprise software, this may require a significantly larger investment than a coffee shop.
- How much money and effort will it cost to deliver the value you would like to be offering?
- How long will it take to get to market? A month? A year? Three years?
- How much up-front investment will you need before you can begin?
- Will your business continue to be relevant as time passes? A business that repairs iPhone X screens will only remain relevant so long as the iPhone X sticks around. If your business is only relevant for a specific period of time, you will also want to consider your future plans.