We live in a time where anyone can start a business with very little money. Due to to the low barrier to entry, it also means anyone can fail.
This basic guide will give you some tools, tricks and things to consider before you start any venture to help you minimise the potential failure every new business faces.
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Before you dip into our guide to starting a business, we wanted to say hello to any new visitors!
My name is Rachel Swan and I am part of the team at A Life With Intention. I write most of our blogs but the ideas behind them are a team effort.
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The Basic Steps to Starting a Business
Having a good idea and being comfortable with pursuing it is an important building block for your business. Your idea needs to be something that you will be motivated to pursue.
Getting involved in a business you don’t care about will hurt you in the long run as you will begin to resent it. Having a great business idea will inspire you to make sacrifices and put in the necessary work to make it a success.
What If I Don’t Have an Idea?
If you don’t know what type of business you could start, read this article (the link will open in a new window) on How To Create A Great Life. This article has some very powerful techniques to help you find your life purpose.
Knowing your life purpose will help you know the direction you should point to for your business idea.
This is worth doing for any business you work on and it will eventually become part of how you weigh up any business ventures, relationships and investments.
Doing a S.W.O.T will help you foresee what you are up against and what you need to prepare for. It will also help you develop your self awareness which is tool that you will need for any endeavour.
Once you have a great idea, you should research the industry and your competitors within that industry.
Things You Should Research
- How much does your product cost to make and distribute?
- Do you need a patent?
- What equipment do you need?
- Do you need additional training?
- Do you need a premise?
- Can you start this alone?
Looking at leading competitors will give you some guideposts for what you are working towards. The founders of these companies may even have a book or interviews you can watch.
You are not looking to copy everything they have done but it can inspire you and give your key things that you need to consider.
Spend time on this research phase and do it properly by talking to people who are relevant in that space. This research is also to help you see if this is business is going to be something you are going to enjoy so take your time and don’t cut corners.
Let’s say you wanted to start a T-Shirt company. To work out your costs you will need to know what you need to do the job and who you are going to need to employ. You will need to find a manufacturer, a web designer and a T-Shirt designer.
All of those people cost a different amount and you will need to work out what you need from them, what the price will be to produce your product and time it takes to produce it.
The main point is that you have to plan and be strategic by thinking more than two steps ahead. Mentors will shortcut this whole process of planning and save you a lot of time and hassle; seek them out in the early stages. It might even be worth working for a company within your niche to get experience while earning money.
You have to keep in mind how you will finance each stage of the business. Money is the lifeblood of any business; once you run out of money the business will end. Work out your finance for setting up shop; finance, legal, product, equipment and then plan the money you need for each month.
Having a rough financial plan for the first year will help you see what your potential profit and loss will be. In the early stages, it may be worth keeping a side job until you have your business more established. Side income will also give you money that you can use to invest in your business.
It is worth looking at other business plans to give you an idea of how a business plan looks, reads and varies.
It will cover what you are doing, what your idea is, why you are doing it, who your competitors are, how much are you going to sell your product for and why there is a need for it. The executive summary expresses what you are doing in a summarised way.
We have put this step much further down as it isn’t necessarily the first thing you need. Names can take a long time to come up with and by doing your research and writing your business plan you may come up with some ideas.
When considering your business name think of words that are easy to spell and easy to say. Names that are easy to say are generally more memorable.
Here are a few tricks to help you create a business name.
Start by writing a few lists of words, don’t overthink when you do this, just write. Below are the lists you will make.
- Words of things you like.
- Word of things related to your business.
- The results you want your customers to have.
- How you want your customers to feel.
- The benefits of your product.
- Cool nouns.
From the lists you have made you can start linking words together and potentially come up with a business name. Some people say you should have what your business does in the name, for example fixmorecars.com. That can work but differentiation is very powerful; Apple and Google seem to be doing ok.
When you have a list of words that you like, run them through Namecheap to see if the dot com is available.
Click The Images To Check Out SiteGround & Namecheap.
Once you have got a catchy name that you are happy with it is very important to register your domain name. There are a million choices of where to do this so it is worth doing some research.
We did about 2 weeks of research on this and were advised to have our domain name with a company who specialises in that service and our hosting from a company who specialises in hosting.
I think there are arguments both ways so that will be your choice but do some research and see what works for you.
We ended up using Siteground for our hosting and Namecheap for the domain. Siteground has great competitive deals, the service online has been really solid and the customer service has been exceptional.
We would say exactly the same for Namecheap. Keep in mind you will probably have to contact who you use at some point unless you are extremely tech savvy so having good customer service will be essential. Siteground is ‘supercached’ which some hosts don’t offer and we found it makes a big difference.
They also have a staging option which some hosting doesn’t have. Staging is handy when you are adding content and building your site.
When you buy your domain, you should try and buy the (dot)com, (dot)net, and the dot wherever you live (dot)UK, (dot)US.
You should sign up for every social media platform even if you don’t use them straight away so that you have secured your name on them.
Managing your social media is a whole skill-set in itself and definitely worth investing in.
We use a company called Kusobo for all of our design and social media management but we did a lot of social media training before we hired them to understand the process.
Whatever your skills level is on social media we recommend you read this article we wrote on how to use social media called> “Understanding Social Media”.
To delve a bit deeper there is a course that we did that has helped us and many others understand who to use social media to build your business online. These skills are essential because so much business happens online. Click the link for more details> “Social Media Marketing Agency”.
You will need to register for state and local taxes. This will be dependent on where you live and the laws of that state and country. It is worth speaking to an accountant to make sure that you have all the lawful things you need for your finances.
Finding a great accountant is a much easier way to handle this than trying to work it all out on your own; you need to work on your business, not in every part.
Your accountant will also show you how to keep your books and which receipts to keep, as some of your over heads can be used to write off against your tax. What you can write off will vary from business to business so speak to a trained accountant so you do everything within the law.
This search is for free but you may need to pay the attorney/lawyer to do an in-depth search.
You need to create something simple, eye-catching and recognisable. You will probably keep your logo for a very long time so spend some time making it into something you are happy with.
If you are not savvy with the graphic design side of things you can go to Upwork, 99 Designs or Logobids and hire someone to do it for you. Keep in mind when you choose a logo design that it should be transferable for the different places you will use it; letterheads, T-Shirts, invoices, website and pretty much anything related to your business.
The best advice we would give for you for creating your logo is to keep it simple and clear.
Your website should say why you are doing what you do, what you offer and give the customer a call to action.
Having a system of how you keep your accounts is very important. You will need to have records that account for the money that has been earnt and spent by your business.
You will have to present this once a year to the government for them to assess and tax you. Your accounts will show you what you are spending and earning. A professional accountant will give you a full breakdown of this if you give them your books.
They will show you your profit and loss and break down your spending in categories; utilities, legal, expenses, accounting, equipment etc. You can do your taxes and accounts yourself but we have found it is much easier if you hire an accountant.
Search for conventions, trade-shows and network events to attend. Your budget will dictate how far you can travel but these are great places to meet people, clients and business partners.
You can find events through Meetup and Eventbrite. Facebook has a lot of groups that will be related to your industry so join them, learn and add value to the groups.
If you can’t find anything…set up your own event! Find a local bar or cafe and ask to hire it for a few hours. This is a more expensive option but it is very effective as it sets you up as an authority in your space.
You may not see results straight away but if you are consistent and get the right people to attend it will build very quickly. You could organise for someone who is established in your niche to come and give a talk. Become a connector and give. It will come back to you.
In the first stages of your journey, you will probably have to do a lot of things yourself. This is a great thing as it means you will understand what you are delegating further down the line.
Having a business partner is a very important step to help balance out your weaknesses; you are looking for someone with complementary skills to yours.
Other Tools You Will Need
This is a very basic outline fo what you need to do to start a business. For additional reading we have an article with 11 books that you need to read as an entrepreneur.
These books will become reference points that you can keep coming back to. Click >HERE< to read the article. The tab will open in a new window so you can read it later.
Below are a few of the books featured in the article. If you are not a big reader we have a tool that can help you read books in a fast, fun and effective way.
Tools like this are really helpful because you will need to continually develop yourself to stay in step with the changes that you will inevitably face. To learn how to read entrepreneurial books fast click the link below.
Starting a business is an amazing journey to start. It may not be for everyone but it is worth considering as it might be a life-changing step for you.
If you know you want to start a business but aren’t sure what type of business you should start, read these two articles. One is from a program called “The 67 Steps” which shows you how to find your life purpose. The other program is “The Social Media Marketing Agency.”
We have done reviews on both that are worth checking.
This article on starting a business gives you a basic roadmap of things to consider when you are starting a business. Using this information, you should continue to research this subject and see where it takes you. Good luck!
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