Do you want to start a small business? Here is your guide to what you can do to open up shop and have a successful career as a business owner!
Decide What to Sell
Before you can even think about opening for business, you need to know what you will sell. You can sell services where you or employees help people or other companies. But you can also sell products, either physical products like clothes, or digital products, like downloads or media streams. You'll need to figure out your ideal customer and what they might want or need. You can also choose what to sell based on a problem you see.
If you can solve an issue that many people have, you can create a successful, sustainable business. Don't underestimate having a good idea. Many businesses fail due to cash flow issues, so make sure you can bring in consistent revenue with the right type of business.
Verify the Market Need
Once you have an idea of what to offer, make sure people will buy it. You don't have to wait until you create a bunch of products or free up a ton of time for services. Ask people in your network for their opinions on your idea. See if they or someone they know could benefit from your product or service. If you don't know anyone who would buy your stuff, you can ask in groups on Facebook and other online forums.
Don't spend a ton of your time on a product or service before you verify it can sell. That way, you won't end up wasting a ton of time you could have spent on a more profitable idea.
Determine Your Business Model
Next, you should figure out how your business will operate. If you want to sell clothes, for example, you can choose between an online store or a brick and mortar location. Someone who wants to offer consulting services can lease an office or work from home, meeting clients at client sites or coffee shops. You can also decide if you want your business to be a subscription or membership where people pay a monthly fee for your products or services.
Choosing the right business model for you is essential. If no one wants to subscribe to your business, you won't make any sales. Consider what you're selling and how your competition operates. You can then decide if you should follow the industry or change things for your business model.
Write a Business Plan
Now, you need to write a business plan so that you can strategize how you start and run your shop. Your business plan should include a company description, a market analysis, the products or services you sell, and your sales forecasts. A business plan doesn't have to be long or super in detail. If you don't plan on getting outside funding, you're the only one who will see the plan.
But if you do want to get investors, you will need to use your business plan to prove your business will work. That way, you can get the money you need to lease or buy a storefront.
Get a Business Bank Account
Odds are you have a consumer banking account, but you should get a separate account for your business. Even if you're running an online shop out of your garage with no employees, you don't want to mix business and personal finances. Doing that can make it harder to determine how much to pay in taxes. And if you start your business alongside a full-time job, you won't be able to tell when your business makes enough for you to quit your job.
You can get a business account at the same bank as where your personal account is. That way, you can make easy transfers when it comes time to pay yourself. But you can still keep everything organized.
Set Up a Website
Whether your business is online or in-person, you should have a website. You can use a website to promote your products and services, and you can reach more potential customers. A website can show a lot more detail than a small business card, and it can answer common questions your customers may have. And if you want an online business, your website will act as your storefront.
But even if you have a brick and mortar shop, you can also sell online. You can list your store hours or include a pop-up coupon code for people who subscribe to your emails. And if you list your products online, you can encourage people to visit your shop and buy something.
Market Your Launch
Finally, you should market the launch of your business. Start promoting it as soon as you have a date in mind. You can build hype and get people excited to shop at your store or on your site. Your marketing efforts can happen on social media or in more traditional media to increase your reach so that you can launch your business to more people.
Opening a small business isn't easy, but it is simple in that you can follow a process to do it. As long as you know the steps, you can start your next venture in no time.