So, you’re thinking about starting a small business? Awesome! Get ready for a rollercoaster of excitement, challenges, and a whole lot of cool moments. This guide is here to help you go from daydreaming to doing it! Let’s get into it!
Dream It, Define It:
First things first, what’s your vibe? What problem do you want to solve? What unique product or service do you want to offer?
Next, nail down and define your vision and your why. This is a personal statement that should help potential customers see why your business is important and inspire positivity and action. Your vision will also help keep you going when the small business life gets a little too real.
Even though you may think that EVERYONE would love your product (and they might), you need to be honest with yourself and scope out who and what age range you want to direct your marketing toward. To help narrow down your audience, think about who benefits from what you’re putting out there and what makes you different. You can also check out your competitors and see what they are doing to push their products. Eventually, you will find your niche and will be ready to bring your take to the scene.
Sketch Out a Business Plan:
Time for a plan, but don’t stress out! This is just your roadmap, not a strict rulebook. I can’t tell you how many times I pivoted when building my business plan…and I still do! Start with the basics: what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, how you’ll get the word out, and where you want to be in a year. I like to call this my brain dump! Any and all ideas, just get them out and onto paper! Once you get everything down on paper you can create achievable goals to help you move forward one step at a time.
Sort out the paperwork, grab any licenses you need, and make sure you have all your state requirements done! If you are in business with a best friend or partner, make sure that all expectations and details are agreed to and written down. You can go here to follow the steps and learn more.
What are your start-up costs? Determine where your initial cash investment will come from. Are you rolling with savings and loans, or getting the squad involved? Whatever you decide, keep it simple but smart. When you get sales, where is that money going to go? If available, consider opening a business bank account, and sort out some simple accounting (there are many online accounting programs available).
Time to brand yourself. What’s your vibe? Create a logo, nail down your visual style, and tell your story. I really love to use “mood boards” to make sure my brand has a cohesive feel. You can do this by gathering photos online and adding them to a Word doc, or my personal fav, creating a board on Pinterest! Consistent branding is like having a solid music playlist –people start recognizing your tunes.
The Online Game:
We live in a day and age where EVERYTHING is online. So, set up a website, get on social media where your target audience hangs out, and maybe dip your toes into online sales. Being online is like having a 24/7 open mic for your business!
Connect the Dots:
Networking is just making friends in the business world. Hit up events, join some online groups, and connect with other small business owners. I have made some of my closest friends by collaborating with other businesses. Don’t be afraid to reach out and start connecting with people!
Treat Your Customers Like VIPs:
Customer service is the secret sauce. Treat your customers like VIPs – listen to what they’re saying, be open and appreciative of feedback, and always look for ways to level up your game. Always be willing to go above and beyond. Happy customers are your best promoters.
Roll with the Punches:
The one thing you can count on when running a small business is that things change! Not everything is going to go exactly how you plan it. Sometimes you will be flying high, and others, you will be hitting rock bottom. Stay flexible, keep an eye on what’s new, and be ready to switch things up. The best businesses are the ones that can ride the waves and come out on top. Remember your company vision and why. This will help you keep going when things get hard.
I would recommend you take a course to really give you that extra oomph to start your business. This one here is a good one to start with! Starting a small biz is like starting a band – it’s a journey full of highs, lows, and killer tunes. Keep it simple, stay true to your vision, and enjoy the ride!