Maybe you are sitting at your desk in that office job you hate, maybe you just finished school and you know you want to follow your passion, or maybe you are just at a point in your life where you think it is about time to start making your entrepreneurial dreams come true…
No matter where you are in life or what you are doing, one thing is true if you are reading this- you know you want to start your own business.
How to Create a Business from ‘Idea’ to Launch
Whether you know exactly what your business is going to be or you just Googled “How to start a business” for the first time does not matter. What matters is that at least a small part of you is ready to take the leap and make your dream idea turn into a business reality.
Disclaimer: There is No One-Size-Fits-All Approach
Before we start, I will clarify that this article is not some miracle recipe for how to start a business. Any article promising that is too good to be true. You also need to know that starting a business is hard and you may want to quit at some point. But, it is possible, and you can make it happen if you have the right information to get started and the determination to put the work in. This article is going to help you make those first tiny steps towards taking your idea to the next level.
Step 1: Start with What Interests You
The first step in starting any business is about deciding what business to start. This may seem obvious, but it is easier said than done. If you already know what kind of business you are going to create, awesome! You can move onto the next step. However, if you know you want to be your own boss and create a business of your own, but you do not know exactly what, this is for you.
So many people want to start something, but they give up at this stage early on. Not knowing what you want to start is completely normal and should not scare you away from starting. Most people do not have just one life passion, and many more have to take their time to find their passion in life.
Examining Your Interests and Passions
When deciding what business to start, you should think about yourself. Think about who you are, what you like, and what you enjoy.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you like doing?
- Where do you like going?
- What kind of people do you surround yourself with?
You want your business to be something you can work with your whole life and still love. If your heart is not in it, it will be difficult to stick with it, and reach a sustainable level of success in your business.
“Assess the Market”, “Fill a Gap”, and Other Related Advice
Some people might tell you to look at the market, see what people want, and start there. While that is a valid point, it does not address all aspects of starting a business. There are many different ways to make money, but it is difficult to stick with anything if you are not 110% invested in your brand, your customers, and your vision. You need to first find your own market. You must know that you can not cater to the whole world. Often, having a small, targeted customer base is better than trying to meet the demands of a large, highly diverse market.
Any passion can create a business, because there is always someone else out there with the same passion, no matter how uncommon it is.
Find the Solution to a Problem
Think about your own life and what kind of problems you encounter. Do you love music, but there is nowhere to listen to the music you love? Do you love bunnies, but always find yourself annoyed that there is nowhere to buy them? Do you always crack your phone and get frustrated over how expensive repairs are?
That is how you find a possible business.
- Try to find something you are passionate about
- Find out what is missing
- Ask, what are the biggest problems you encounter with it?
- Find a solution to that problem
Boom. There’s your business idea.
Step 2: Set Goals and Make a Plan
So you have the perfect idea for a business… now you need a Game Plan. Making a great plan and setting goals are extremely important. Without a plan, you will just be wandering around in the dark, and without setting goals, how will you know what you are working toward?
Deciding On Your Goals
When you have an idea for your business you need to sit down and set goals first. When creating goals, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- What do I want to achieve?
- By when do I want to achieve it?
When answering these questions, you should be as detailed as possible.
A bad goal is: “I want to make money in my business”.
A great goal is: “By September 1st I want to have my website up and running”.
I suggest setting up 10 or more goals when starting. They do not have to be huge goals, just small milestones. Think along the lines of: Get 200 followers on Facebook, write 3 blog posts per week, or set up my first e-mail campaign by (date). You can create 10 small goals, and 5 large, long-term goals. Only creating long-term goals will make you feel demotivated as they take a long time to reach.
Tip: Create goals that are achievable. Split 1 large goal into 2 smaller goals to make them seem less daunting and easier to achieve.
Keep Track of Progress
Make lists of your goals where you can cross it off when you have done it. Not much will make you feel more motivated than crossing a goal off of your list. Making goal lists are helpful because they let you keep track of how you are progressing and monitor if what you are doing is working. If you are not meeting your goals you might want to consider changing your game plan. Re-assess, re-examine, and revise on a regular basis to make sure you are moving forward and achieving your goals.
Make a Business Plan
Now that you have a list of start up goals, you need to create a business plan in order to meet them. For each goal, you should make a plan. Make your plan as detailed as possible. For each goal you should ask yourself:
- How can I reach this?
- What measures must I take to reach this goal?
- How much time do I need to spend?
- What resources may I need to accomplish this?
- Who can I reach out to to help me achieve this?
For example, if your first goal is “I want my website up and running by September 1”, then a great plan would be:
– Hire a website designer by (date)
– Research how I want my site to look like (layout, colors, fonts …)
– Research about website management and optomization (SEO, keywords, page speed …)
– Create a budget (for hosting, maintenance, marketing, etc.)
– Talk to other website owners for tips
A bad plan would be: “I need to hire a website designer and they will take care of everything”.
Implementing Your Business Plan
Once you build out the process needed to achieve each goal, you will then have a business plan. You have created a list of actionable steps you can take to start moving forward in your business. You have put down on paper what you need to do, when you need to do it by, and how to do it. You also have the ability to reach out to your network for help, do further research, and monitor your progress.
Your business plan will not look identical to anyone else’s. That is why there is no easy “recipe” to starting a business. However, there is a plethora of information out there can help you in certain aspect of your business, like starting a website, creating a marketing strategy, developing your brand, and more. Your business plan outlines what needs to be done, and helps you become aware of what you can easily accomplish, and in what areas you may need more help. As your skill base grows, it will become easier to cross those goals off the list, and develop new ones. This process will take your business to the next level, keep is sustainable, and keep you motivated.
Step 3: Ready, Set, Go!
Now it is time for the exciting part: Starting your business. This might seem like the hard part, however, if your business idea and plans are extensive and detailed, this should be the easy part. To start, you simply take a look at your business plan and start at the top.
By this point, you have already outlined what needs to be done to get you started. We have addressed the “Idea” stage, and the Practical stage. Starting a business isn’t so much about following someone else’s framework to starting a business, but having the patience and determination to create your own.
If you feel that you are lacking the knowledge or resources to make your an idea an reality, add them to your list, and ask yourself the questions in Step 2. You will then have a breakdown of how to achieve that next goal and will be able to keep moving forward.
Starting your own business is not easy, but it is also not impossible. If you are reading this, you already know this. You know, deep down, that when you succeed it will all be worth it. It will not happen overnight, but the process becomes much easier when you put your thoughts down on paper and make a plan. Your “dream” does not have to be this large, intimidating goal. Break it down into smaller, achievable steps, and you will be amazed by what you accomplish.
Are you past the idea stage of starting your business, and looking for steps to take it to the next level? Leave your questions in the comments below and we will be happy to help!