There’s much to love about starting your own business. You get to put your ideas into practice, be your own boss, and make a positive impact on the world. Nice! It’s important that you’re not getting too caught up in the excitement of all the possibilities, however. When you’re thinking of getting a business started, your aim should be patience. Rushing into anything is a surefire way to commit errors. If you’re well-prepared, then you’ll find that running your business can be much more straightforward. Below, we take a look at fourteen things that you’ll want to do before launching.
Read up on the Industry
You’ll know a lot — or should know a lot — about whatever it is you’re starting a business in, but it’s important that you’re thinking “bigger” than just what you’re doing, and instead focus a little on the industry as a whole. There will be a lot of trade magazines, insight blogs, and expert commentators that can tell you what the future of the industry will be like. This is important because it might prevent you from making an error; no-one wants to set up a business in an industry that has a bleak future, for example. Also, understanding what changes are to come in the next few years will help you to position your company correctly.
Find Your Niche
Before launching your business, you’ll need to figure out why your company will be needed. What will be your USP? How will you be different from other companies? It’s tempting to follow the formula of other companies from time to time, but the world doesn’t need copycat businesses. If you do that, you’ll find that it’s hard to get people on board — there are already companies that offer what you will provide. So focus on what will make your business one of a kind. It’ll be the shining light that pushes your company forward.
Who Are You Targeting?
It would be nice to think that everyone out there would have an interest in your business, but this will not be the case. There’s not a company in the world that caters to all people. You’ll find everything much easier if you’re able to figure out who your target customer is before you launch. This will form part of your market research. Once you understand who you’re targeting, you’ll be able to put together marketing materials and other business essentials together with them in mind. Companies usually run into trouble when they have no idea which type of people would be interested in their company.
Find Your Space
Some new business owners think they can just get their work done wherever they happen to be. While you can work from anywhere in this digital age, it’s not recommended — you can not build a successful business without having some sort of base. Now, where that is doesn’t really matter — it could be an office, a coworking space, or from a home office. But you’ll want to figure out where you’ll be working. Once you launch, the tasks will come thick and fast, and you might just find that sitting on the couch with your laptop on your knee will not cut it. If you choose the home office option, then make sure that you’re setting it up to optimize productivity and work success — this means giving it a professional feel, keeping a distance between the office and the rest of the home, and having set working hours.
Get the Look
There are plenty of different aspects that go into running a business. What you offer and how much you charge will just be the beginning. Remember, they are only two things that customers pay attention to. Before launching, you’ll want to look at completing your company branding — this will help to give your customers an instant impression of who you are and what you do. You should pay particular attention to the visual side of things. Get some tips for designing your logo, so you can have the best one for your business. Thinking about the visual presentation of your company might not seem like the most important task on your to-do list, but it really is — in an age when people make snap judgements, it can be the difference between success and failure.
Figure out the Finances
It is possible to start a business with next to no money, but really, it’s not recommended — running a business is an uphill battle anyway, there’s little value in making it even more difficult for yourself. So before you get started, take a look at the financial aspect. How much will you need to get your business off the ground? How will you fund the business? There are usually multiple options when it comes to funding, all with their pros and cons.
You’ll have some skills that’ll help you to run a business. But there will also be a lot that you don’t know — nobody knows everything! As such, it’s recommended that you read up on some of the things that’ll have a big impact on how well your business can operate. For example, marketing. This is going to be key to your success, but it’s famously difficult to get a grasp on — if you’re unprepared, that is. Read up on how to market your company (and other crucial aspects too), and you’ll have the knowledge you need to succeed.
Connect with Others
We tend to think of business as a hyper-competitive field, but actually, this isn’t the case. While there’s that dimension to it, you’ll also find a lot of evidence of cooperation and mutual support, too. It’s never too early to bring these qualities to the front. Before launching your business, take a look at connecting with other people in your industry (just not direct competitors). It’ll give you an insight into the partnerships that you might be able to create later on down the line.
Find the Right Set Up
It’s also worth remembering that you’re going to have a lot of legal obligations with your business, too. As such, you’ll want to get as much information about this before you launch. If you’re going to run a business in an industry that has a lot of regulations, then it might be worth hiring a lawyer to help you. More broadly, you’ll want to find the right legal set up for your company. There are many options available and which one is right for you will depend on various factors.
Will You Need Help?
You’re going to be the boss, but are you going to be the only employee? Many new business owners want to tackle everything themselves, but this isn’t always the best option. If there are too many tasks that have to be taken care of, then it’ll be in the best interests of you and your business if you bring other people on board. This could involve hiring an employee, or simply outsourcing work to a third-party company. While you can decide to work with others later on down the line, it’s best to think it over beforehand if you envision it’ll be an issue.
You’re the one in charge. And to do that, you’ll have to have a degree of confidence. But there’s a difference between having a belief in your abilities, and being arrogant. Before launching your company, engage in a spot of self-analysis. This will reveal what you’re good at, and what you suck at. In the future, when you need to do a task, you’ll have the knowledge that you can or cannot do something, based on your skills. Everyone places a lot of faith in external knowledge, but sometimes it’s the internal knowledge that can be the most valuable.
It’s important that you’re entering the world of business with energy and motivation. Running your company will take it out of you in one way or another! And when it does, you’ll wish that you had some reserve of energy to call upon. So before getting started, treat yourself — make sure that you’re feeling good, have energy, and are all-around in a good place.
Be Aware of the Downsides
You should keep a positive mindset when it comes to your business. You should think of all the good things that could happen if you work hard. However, there’s value in being aware of the downsides of running a business too. Even if it’s an overall positive experience, it’s not going to be a walk in the park every single day. Knowing some of the bad things that might come your way will help you to manage them when they arrive.
Are You Ready?
Finally, ask yourself this: are you ready? It’s no small thing, running a company, and it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. But if you generally feel that now is the time and you’re ready to give it a go, then starting a business is probably the right thing for you to do.