Do you have a great idea for a new product or service? Starting a company from scratch comes with plenty of challenges, but it can also be immensely rewarding. Not only will you be able to spend your days pursuing a goal that you believe in, but you will also be able to work for yourself. There will be no boss to mandate your work hours, dress code or the way you go about your day: instead, you will be free to work whenever and however you choose. If you are self-motivated, driven and ready to make your dream a reality, follow these best practices to get your startup on the road to profitability.
Every company needs funding. There are many costs associated with doing business, including but not limited to purchasing materials, renting a workspace and hiring others to work with you. You should expect to spend some of your personal savings in order to get things off the ground, but you should start seeking out other sources of funding as soon as possible so that you do not deplete all of your resources. Venture capitalists, like Mark Stevens, provide cash to startups and businesses looking to expand in exchange for a stake in the company. If you have ever seen the television show Shark Tank, you are somewhat familiar with this process: you will need to put a presentation together, find a few people who may be willing to provide you with some capital and do your best to impress them. Accepting help from a venture capitalist does involve giving up some control over the direction of your business, since many of them will expect to be part of your board of directors.
Another way to secure the funding that you need is to apply for a loan from the government's Small Business Administration. If you choose to go this route, it is important to keep in mind that you will eventually have to pay this money back, plus interest. You should only borrow an amount that you are sure you will be able to pay back. You can always apply for another loan later on.
Hire a Team
As your business grows, you will soon find that you are not able to run it entirely alone. Since you are the boss, you can hire whomever you choose; former colleagues, friends, family members or anyone you trust. Business challenges and disagreements can test even the strongest friendships, so if you do choose to hire people you know, you should be aware of the risk. Alternatively, you may wish to consider second- and third-degree connections within your network (friends of friends) or advertise available positions on online job boards like Indeed and ZipRecruiter. Managing employees is a job in and of itself, so as you expand your team, you are likely to find that some parts of your job get easier and others become more difficult. Consider doing some research on how to be a good manager, checking out relevant books or speaking with people in your network who have managerial experience, before taking this important step.
Once you have secured funding, hired a team and are well on your way to becoming profitable, you should start to think about advertising your business. In order to achieve a high level of success, you will need customers, and in order to attract customers, people will need to be aware that your company exists. In today's world, there are many options when it comes to where you can advertise. First, it is essential to set up a website that includes, at a minimum, your mission statement, your address and an email and phone number where people can reach you. Social media is a great place to advertise, since it is endlessly customizable. You can choose the amount you wish to spend on the ad, the amount of time it will be visible and even the demographics of the people who see it (including age, geographic area, interests and other factors). Don't rule out old-school advertising methods, either: a well-placed flyer in a popular gathering spot, like a coffee shop or community center, can go a long way. Later on, as your budget grows, renting a billboard or TV airtime will become options as well.
Like any large, daunting task, the process of starting your own company becomes much more manageable once you break it down into small, achievable steps. Once you have an idea for a product or service and are ready to take the leap, start by drafting a business plan and creating a compelling presentation for any potential investors. Then, once you have secured funding, start to think about getting a team together and advertising. Soon enough, you will be well on your way to success!