Starting your own business can seem like a dream come true. You get to be your own boss, work on something you're passionate about, enjoy knowing that you built something from scratch, and pull in more income than would have been possible working at your old job. All of these things can be true, but not without a great deal of hard work. As any entrepreneur can tell you, starting your own business is one of the biggest challenges you'll ever take on. The challenges aren't all financial, either. There are plenty more ranging from the difficulties of leaving a previous career to the fear of the unknown. If you have an idea you care about and aren't afraid of committing to the challenge, here are some things you'll need to know to get started.
No one likes to dwell on the possibility of a new business failing, but you need to be aware of the possibility. There's a well-known saying that nearly half of new businesses fail within the first year. Fortunately, the odds actually aren't that grim, with about 30% failing within their first two years, though only a third survive 10 years. You need to know that starting a business is tough, but maintaining it can be even tougher.
This shouldn't discourage you, however. There are always a ton of reasons not to do something, and if you're afraid of your business failing, then you'll likely never go through with getting it off the ground. A failure now could lead to success later. You'll need tenacity to succeed, and part of that is realizing not every attempt works out.
Offer a Solution
It can be easy to get caught up in what kinds of products you want to sell or to overthink the finer details of your business. If you start doing this in the beginning, then your concept could snowball into something that's over-complicated and unmanageable. First, think of your business as a solution to a problem. Look at other businesses in your niche and think of what you could do better. This will lead you to your products.
Write a Business Plan
Once you've decided what you want your business to be, it's crucial to have a detailed plan. You don't necessarily have to write a formal plan like you're presenting to investors, but you'll need to cover all the basic concepts. You'll need to detail exactly what your company does and how you intend to do it. You need to carefully project your finances to cover start-up costs and your initial inventory. Once you've estimated costs, go ahead and double them to account for any unexpected issues that will almost certainly arise. If you'll require any patents, now's the time to take care of that and any other legal work. Finally, you'll need to know how you plan to market and grow your business once it's established.
Fulfill Orders Efficiently
Even if your business isn't a full e-commerce store, it's likely you'll have some online elements. You'll naturally need to restock your inventory for the in-person customer as well, and you need to get products and ship them out as quickly as possible. Working with a company like Modalyst can get you connected to reliable suppliers who can ship products directly to your customers. This way, you can boast fast delivery and excellent customer service.
No one knows your products better than your customers, so collecting feedback from users is critical at any point, even in the testing stages. Customer feedback lets you know what you're doing well and what you can improve on, so you'll be able to deliver the best customer experience possible. Many businesses accomplish this with things like customer surveys and email lists, but you can take it a step further. For example, with ux testing, you can collect videos and interviews of real users testing your products, services, website, or any aspect of your business you're curious about. Testing can help with designing and tweaking products as well as setting an agreeable price for customers.
There's no way to guarantee any business will be a success, but having realistic expectations and becoming as prepared as possible will give you a boost.
If you're thinking about running your own business and need of resources, here are our top recommendations to set you up for success:
- Secure your business through worker's comp insurance from Cerity.
- Read about Why It Matters To Do What You Love
- Learn to Be a Better Team Leader