If you plan on launching your own business, you’re probably wondering where to start. Sure, tasks like creating a logo and choosing a name for your new company are obvious, but what about the more fundamental steps?
Launching a business involves careful planning, making important financial decisions, and even knowing who and when to ask for help. For instance, insurance brokers can be of great help when it comes to purchasing the right insurance policies, whereas legal advisors will help you learn about the various legal business structures available and decide which one is the best for your company.
So, instead of guessing where to start, follow this 5-step guide and make your dream a reality.
1 – Research Your Business Idea
The first step in launching your own company is to determine whether there is a market for your business idea. Some of the key questions to answer during your market research include:
- Who is your target audience?
- Does your product provide your potential customers with any benefit or solve their problems?
- Are there other businesses already offering similar products on the market? What can your brand provide over these competitor companies?
To find the answers to these questions and support them with data and facts, you will need to use methods like focus groups, interviews, and surveys.
2 – Create a Solid Business Plan
Once the market research is completed and your business idea is verified, the next step is to put it all down on paper. A good business plan should include the following:
- Vision. Where you will describe your concept, what type of business you are building, as well as your plans for future growth.
- Mission. Where you will share details about your products or services, define your target customers, and describe your USP.
- Objectives. Where you should define how you plan to measure your success and list objectives (for instance, revenue target for the first year).
- Action plans. Where you explain the steps you will take to accomplish your objectives.
- Pricing strategy. Where you will say how much you’ll charge for your products and services and project your expenses and earnings.
- Advertising and marketing. Where you will specify the channels you plan to use to promote your business.
3 – Determine Your Business Legal Structure
Incorporating your business not only has tax advantages but is also the best way to protect your personal assets in case you have to pay legal judgments or business debts.
Whether you decide to establish a partnership, a sole proprietorship, a corporation, or a limited liability company will depend on several factors, including the number of employees, the type of business, etc. Consider consulting a business attorney to determine what’s the best strategy for your specific venture.
4 – Purchase Business Insurance
Purchasing insurance is a vital step that will help you protect your investment from unexpected circumstances like customer lawsuits, property damage, or theft. While general liability insurance should be enough for most small businesses, if you have employees, you’ll also need to purchase worker’s compensation insurance and unemployment compensation.
You should also consider purchasing a business owner’s policy which combines two important types of business insurance, commercial property insurance and general liability insurance, into a single package that’s typically more affordable than buying the coverage separately.
Nowadays, there are insurance companies that can help you get your business owners insurance coverage online. Because these coverages are customizable which allows you to choose and pay for only the types of insurance that are necessary for your business. And, what’s more, they can be purchased in less than 10 minutes.
5 – Start Promoting Your Business
If you want your new business to be successful, you need to start promoting it even before it launches.
Start by joining your local chamber of commerce, and see how they can help you advertise your venture in your community. In addition, consider participating in local events and providing free samples of your product. This can be an excellent opportunity to see how people respond to your offerings, while at the same time gathering valuable data for your market research.
Of course, you should definitely announce the launch on social media. You can also attract traffic to your site by sharing content related to your industry or promoting sales. Google and Facebook both offer effective ad programs that can help get your digital content in front of a big number of people.
Launching your business and making the first sales are only the start of your work as an entrepreneur. In order to make a profit and stay ahead of the competition, you’ll need to be prepared to adjust and always find new ways to grow your business.