5 steps to starting a business
Are you ready to become your own boss? From formulating an idea to making sales, entrepreneur Emma Jones shares her tips for starting up your own business.
1. What’s the idea?
Come up with an idea for a business by asking yourself three questions:
- Have I spotted a gap in the market?
- What is my passion/hobby/skill?
- Can this be turned into a way of making a living?
- Is there something I’ve seen that I think I can deliver better myself?
The answer to these questions will deliver an idea for your start-up.
As the business grows, refine the idea and finesse your niche. The best businesses are niche businesses. Try to deliver a specific product or service to a clearly identifiable audience. That way, you keep marketing costs low, and customer loyalty high.
2. Have a plan
At the start of your business journey, set a plan that will act as your route map. It doesn’t have to be a long document and it’s easy to remember what to include as it spells I’M OFF:
- I – what’s the Idea for your business?
- M – which Market are you going to serve?
- O – what Operations do you need to get off the ground?
- F – are the Finances in order? Do a simple cashflow forecast and work out if you need a small loan to start.
- F – who are the Friends who will offer support along the way? Identify the mentors, experts and professionals in your network.
With this plan in hand, you’re ready for the entrepreneurial journey ahead!
3. Make a sale
Start out by making sales to friends and family. Grow from there by selling via powerful marketplaces, such as Etsy, Elance, iStock and the Enterprise Nation marketplace. Or create your own home on the web through template website builders such as Moonfruit. Consider PopUps, farmers markets and any other outlet or partnership that will get you in front of the customers you’re after.
4. Make some noise
Embrace social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) to become known across the web and reach out to the journalists and bloggers who influence your customers. Grab their attention with news, survey stats, crowdfunding campaigns, product launches or new client wins. Attach professional imagery to increase the chances of being covered online and off.
5. Keep repeating
Go through the above steps again to build momentum. Keep developing the product, making sales and getting known. Throughout, stay on top of the books to ensure there’s more money coming in than heading out. Taking these steps will soon see you as the successful owner of your very own enterprise!
Want to know more about funding your small business? Check out Emma Jones’ blog on the different funding options available to you.