You’re an entrepreneur. You have a great idea. Or two. Or three. And you want to turn them into a business but don’t know where to start.
To set yourself apart from the competition, we’ve put together a list of five basic steps that will help you on your journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur in 2022.
Step 1: Choose a Business Idea That Solves a Problem
If you’re new to the world of startups, you might be asking yourself what it takes to launch a successful business. Sure, there’s a lot you can learn about starting a business by reading books by successful entrepreneurs or watching Youtube videos on technology trends and innovation.
But in the end, it all comes down to the core business idea. You want to offer a product or service that solves certain pain points for your target audience.
So you think you have a million-dollar idea for a SaaS or ecommerce site? Congrats! But before you can put the idea into action to become a successful business owner, you need to determine the problem your business will solve.
Is your SaaS going to automate tedious tasks for people and save them valuable time in their daily workflow? How will you stand out from these other SaaS examples?
According to the experts at Breadcrumbs, Product-led Growth (PLG) is a popular SaaS business methodology where the product primarily drives a business’s success and growth. Delightful experiences with the product lead to the acquisition and expansion of revenue and retention. Customers typically have a great experience with products that make their lives easier.
Solving a problem is what makes your business essential and relevant. If the majority of your target audience would think, “I could do without that,” then there’s no need for it—and therefore no need for your business either.
Step 2: Create a Business Plan
Even if you don’t need it for anything other than your personal use, create a business plan.
This simple document should outline:
- what problem your business solves
- your target audience
- a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)
- your marketing plan
- your financial plan
This plan will serve as both your guiding light and measuring stick.
A business plan should include at least three basic components:
- an executive summary
- a marketing strategy
- a financial strategy
It should be a living document that changes as your business grows, but it doesn’t need to be too long or complicated.
An executive summary is your sales pitch to investors. This section typically includes a short description of your company and highlights the strengths of your business model.
It should also include information about yourself, including education and previous professional experience, as well as any other team members who are involved with the business.
Your marketing strategy should detail how you’ll find new customers and maintain existing ones by providing them with quality products or services at competitive prices.
For example, when starting an ecommerce website, you should consider having an alliance with a courier service company that will help deliver your goods as quickly as possible. Customers love fast and free shipping, with recent research indicating that 73% of consumers are more likely to purchase online items with free shipping.
Also, this is where SharePoint consulting firms can be of great use to you and your business. SharePoint is a CRM built to be integrated with Microsoft Office. It can be a great tool for analyzing your customer base and helping identify potential pain points in your marketing strategy.
A financial strategy should show how the company will generate revenue and cash flow to cover operating expenses until it becomes profitable.
If you’re planning on getting investors or taking out a loan, this will be essential for securing funding.
Even if you’re not going that route just yet, it’s still worth doing because it forces you to sit down and research everything involved with running your business.
Step 3: Register Your Business
Coming up with a business name is no easy task, but it’s a necessary step to making your business official. Be simple, short, and concise. The ideal company name is three syllables or less.
“Fortunately for those entrepreneurs who may be struggling with this part of the process, there are several online services that will help come up with a unique business name for their startup.”
Once you’ve picked out a name, the next step is to set up a legal entity. While it’s not strictly required, most experts highly recommend it. There are three simple reasons:
- It separates your assets from your business assets. If you owe money, creditors can’t go after your business assets, and vice versa.
- It gives your business credibility. Customers and partners will take you more seriously if incorporated. They know they’re dealing with a legitimate enterprise, and not just some guy or gal working out of their basement.
- It gives you flexibility in raising capital. It’s much easier to raise money for a corporation than for an unincorporated entity like a sole proprietorship or partnership.
So should you incorporate as a C-corporation? An S corporation? An LLC? A general partnership? You may want to consult with an LLC service company or accountant before deciding—there are numerous factors to consider, including tax and liability implications.
Step 4: Build Your Brand
Consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they trust, so it’s essential to work on your reputation and establish trust from the very beginning.
Think about how you’ll market your business and create a set of basic brand guidelines.
These guidelines could include your color palette, logo design and where to use it, and even the way you want to communicate with your customers through marketing materials, brochures, or presentation slides.
Do you want to approach all of your marketing with a more relaxed, conversational tone? Or is something more elevated and professional more fitting?
Keep these guidelines in mind when building your online presence. You can create a website, social media accounts, and content for your blog and newsletter. You should also use SEO strategies to drive traffic to your website.
Step 5: Master the Art of Sales and Relationship Building
When you’re starting a business, it’s important to stay focused. You only have so much time and money, which makes it crucial that you prioritize the things that matter the most.
How should you be spending your time? What are the most important things you need to do each day?
First and foremost, focus on sales and boosting your team’s sales skills. Without sales coming in the door, your idea will never even get the chance to blossom from a simple thought into a full-blown business.
At the same time, focus on building relationships. At the initial stages of a startup, relationships are everything. You’ll need to build a strong and trusting foundation with your suppliers, customers, investors, and employees.
Working with a PEO company to outsource HR duties may be more efficient and cost-effective than hiring an in-house HR team to deal with employee administration. With one less task on your plate, you’ll have more time to focus on sales and strategy to keep the business moving forward.
Building a startup isn’t easy, but fortunately, there are tons of resources available to help you out at every stage. Plus, there are even several companies dedicated to helping new startups get off the ground.
If you have an awesome idea for a business, don’t be afraid to give it a shot in 2022. The sky’s the limit.