Preparation is key when it comes to starting a business and enjoying ongoing success. While creating a business plan is critical, you must go beyond that if you hope to beat the odds in launching a successful start-up. For example, you should have direct experience in the industry you hope to break into as a business owner. This gives you an in-depth understanding of how it operates, even if you don’t intend to work on the front lines yourself. We discuss several other tips shared by new business owners below.
Know Your Why
If someone asked why you wanted to start your own business, would you have an answer for them? You should. Defining your reasons for wanting to launch a start-up will help you persevere when times get tough. There’s also no right or wrong answer here. Making more money, having greater control of your own schedule, and providing your customers with a new product or service are all valid reasons to start a business. Knowing your own reasons can also help to clarify goals for your new business.
Make a Long-Term Plan to Save Money
You have probably heard the expression that it takes money to make money. This is as true in the business start-up world as it is anywhere else. If your goal is to operate your own business, determine a timeline for when you would like to launch and start saving money towards your goal today. You may need to make sacrifices but remind yourself that big goals like this don’t come easy. If you have a partner and family, it’s a good idea to get their buy-in as well since they will also need to make sacrifices.
Most start-up business owners will need to borrow money at some point. Even if your launch is months or years away, start researching small business lenders now to compare rates and terms. This should give you a good idea of the criteria most lenders require and give you a chance to get your finances in order before applying for a business loan or other forms of credit.
Study the Market and Competition
It’s important to know everything you can about a specific market before attempting to enter it. We recommend adding these things to your research list at a minimum:
- Competitors: Aim to learn everything you can about your closest competitors. What do they offer that you don’t and vice versa? What value proposition do you have to offer customers that makes your business unique?
- Customers: Who is your target audience? What are their interests and pain points? Conducting market research and then creating a customer persona can help you better understand who you’re trying to reach.
- Distributors: Who is in your supply chain? Do they offer the lowest possible prices and the highest possible quality?
- Suppliers: If you plan to sell tangible goods, where will you obtain them? Does the supplier you’re considering also sell to your competition?
This is also a good time to start forming your small business start-up network. Having connections to turn to for advice can prove invaluable later. It can also earn you extra business, a favor you shouldn’t hesitate to return when someone asks you for a referral.
Schedule a Consultation with Business Partner Alliance
Starting a business is exciting yet challenging. We invite you to schedule a consultation with Emory Ware, a seasoned start-up professional who created Business Partner Alliance himself, to get your business off to the best possible start.