Starting a small business may seem like a daunting task, but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences for any entrepreneur. There are a myriad of informational books, websites and workshops available for those seeking to start a new organization, many of which offer in-depth advice pertaining to one specific sector of your business, such as creating a marketing department or recruiting the right employees.
Before you start delving into the more extensive aspects of small business development, however, it’s important to have the basics nailed down. If you’re thinking about creating your own organization, keep the following five tips in mind as you start planning your next great entrepreneurial venture.
1. Develop your business plan
Think of your business plan as an index of information about your company – it should feature detailed steps that layout exactly what your business hopes to achieve, a brief timeline for the tasks you hope to accomplish over a set frame, an overview of a budget and research pertaining to your desired industry. This is arguably the most important thing for a new small business owner, as it should be a comprehensive resource that features all you need to know about your new company and how to launch it from the ground up.
2. Identify your target market
Once you have your developed plan, it’s time to establish a target market. When you know what kind of service or product you’ll be providing, identify the people who you hope to reach. This is key for ensuring your small business is successful, as it will not only drive your marketing and sales tactics, but also decide how you speak to your customers via social media and which promotional products will be best suited to influence purchasing habits.
3. Find avenues for funding
There’s no sugar coating it – starting a small business is not cheap. There is an expansive range of fees and costs that you must take into account, including purchasing licenses for operations, paying startup fees to recognized organizations, shelling over cash for rent and obtaining necessary equipment to begin business. Some owners pay for these costs out of pocket, but for the majority of small business hopefuls, this is not an option. Begin by developing a comprehensive budget that details all fees you’ll have to pay up front, then examine how much you will require before your company breaks even. After this is done, explore your funding options – it may be wise to research small business loans, community grants or fundraising tactics that have proven successful in the past.
4. Ask for advice from the pros
It may seem like your struggles are uniquely yours, but you are not the first to create a small business. Many of the world’s most successful corporations – including Starbucks and Subway – started as tiny operations. Don’t hesitate to ask for help during this journey, as other owners in your community may be more than willing to dish out advice. Seek local universities or well-established companies that are replete with business professionals, as they may be happy and eager to help.
5. Craft creative ways to reach consumers
After you’ve developed your plan, budget and target market, it’s time to start figuring out how you’ll reach your consumer base. Once your target demographic has been identified, start researching how they are most likely to interact with your brand and which tactics are most effective in reaching them. A great way to win new customers and spread brand awareness is by distributing promotional products that feature your company name and logo. Consider a small option when your business is just starting up, as these can be easily purchased and spread to vast range of people. Bulk logo pens are ideal, as they are not only useful for everyday life, but they can be left in locations around the city, thus potentially boosting your exposure.