LaShina Mack, CEO of Premier Marketing Experts & Founder of Resume Renewed
You’ve decided. You want to start your business and can’t wait to get it going but now you are wondering what to do now. Where do you begin? How do you get started? Here are 7 things you may want to consider when starting a business.
Concept. What is your business going to be about? Is it a product, a service? Will it be just you? Is there anything out there like it? Once you have your idea, that is only the very beginning. Make sure you are clear on what you want to offer and are ready for the next step. Ask yourself if you are starting this business because it’s something you are passionate about or because you see everyone else doing it and it seems to be working for them. Gauge your intent. Make sure it is pure or else you will fail before you even begin. Do it because YOU want to, not because the masses are doing it. Not everything works for everybody.
Time. Make sure that you are aware that starting a business whether part-time or full-time will require an investment of time. How much will depend on the type of business you want to start. Are you launching a product? Will you be a freelancer offering services? Are you going to rent out space for a physical location? Will you be shipping out your own inventory? Whatever path you decide you want to take, make sure that you are prepared to possibly invest a significant amount of time into your business. Sometimes you will get back what you put in and sometimes you won’t. Doesn’t seem fair does it? It’s all part of the growth process and you have to decide how badly you truly want it.
Market Research. Do some research about your industry FIRST. Research competitors and see what they are doing. Look at the ones who are doing well and the ones who are not doing so well. You can pick up some great ideas along the way and also identify what you might want to avoid. Not doing proper market research is a huge mistake that new entrepreneurs or business owners often make. Don’t let that be you. Do students just show up for tests leaning on their own knowledge base? No, they study and you need to do the same thing.
Know Your Demographic. This is a big one. You need to identify who your ideal customer is. Who are they? What do they look like? How old are they? Where are they located? How much do they make? Seems invasive, doesn't it? Well, regardless of that, it’s not that hard to find out this information. A great way to find out who your audience is, is to do online surveys. You can use social media to conduct those whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or one of the other major platforms. Another way is to utilize Google Ad Words. It will show you demographic information based on keyword searches. You can utilize the Keyword Planner for free and it will give you demographic information about the people who are searching certain words or phrases. They do mention PPC (pay per click) which can be lucrative if you know what you are doing but don’t worry about that in the beginning. Save your money. Yes, you received that gold nugget for free.
The other resource you can use is one that I already mentioned which is Facebook. You can use their Audience Insights. It gives you analytics information about who is liking and commenting on your Facebook business page, their location, their buying behaviors and more. Yes, it goes pretty deep. You can also use your market research info that was mentioned prior as there is usually demographic information available. There are many other ways to get the information you need about your audience but you get the picture.
Money, Money, Money, Money. . . MONEY! It often does not have to be a lot, depending on what you are getting started. Many businesses are started with very little money while others require quite a bit of capital, especially when you are talking about a physical location. Just go in with the knowledge that you will certainly have to spend at least some money, and not just one time. As a business owner, you have to be aware of the difference between an investment and an expense. A light bill is an expense. You pay it each month so that you can continue to operate. Marketing for your company is an investment. It pays for itself over and over again every time you use it to draw in more customers and to build credibility for your company. Too many times, business owners go through leaps and bounds to cut down on investments. Please, if you do anything at all, find ways to trim your expenses, FIRST. I am guilty of this one more times that I care to admit.
Get Registered. Protect your company name. Get registered with your state. You can register as an LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, Non-Profit, Partnership or Sole Proprietorship. There are other categories believe it or not but we won’t open up that can of worms today. Let’s keep it simple. As a Florida resident, a great resource you can utilize is Sunbiz.org. They have great information on starting a new business, how to register, name searches and more. Now, if you are not a Florida resident, another resource is SCORE. They are a non-profit that will truly provide great assistance in helping you start your business. They have webinars, online courses, mentorship programs, an online library full of information and so much more. Most of it is FREE.
Now, if there is a chance you don’t want to go through the headache of registering your own business, there is a company that I used that I highly recommend. I used them to register one of my companies because I simply did not have the time to do it myself at that point. They did a great job and it was red carpet all the way. The company is called CorpNet. Click here to access their site and check out their offerings. You can do a search by state. Yes, I will get a referral fee if you decide to do business with them. It’s only fair. Lol. Transparency is an endearing trait. :-) Anyway, it’s up to you whether you do it yourself or not. No pressure. Just know that you are very capable and the process is not difficult but if you are super busy like me, it’s a great option.
Marketing. Don’t think because you have a cute website that the flood gates will open and people will be tripping over themselves to get what you have. While the site might be cute and maybe you are too, no one cares because they have no clue you exist. You have to market. Do you need a $10,000 billboard? In this age, not likely because there are just way too many ways for you to market your business without spending a dime. Prime example . . . SOCIAL MEDIA! Learn it, use it, love it. You can eventually spend money on ads via social media but don’t even bother if you can’t post on the regular. If you haven’t posted on your social media since May, then you need to get to work. Baby steps! You need to put your business out there or no one will see that pretty website you spent so much time or money on.
These are just a few things of many that will at least help you to get started. Is this all? No. But there will be more tips on the way. Stay tuned! In the meantime, Welcome to the Wide World of Business Ownership! Good luck!
My name is L.C. Mack. Our team assists small business owners with establishing a strong presence locally as well as on the web. The goal of our blog is to help you while on your journey.