So, You Want to Start Your Own Business?

If you have dreams of finally getting your business idea off the ground, we applaud you! But starting a business can feel a bit like a nightmare when you go into the process blind.
 
Check out these 6 steps to small business start-up success!
With this guide, you'll learn how to:
  • Find your motivation
  • Define the strategy and plan
  • Kick off market research
  • Get finances under control
  • Ensure your business is legit
  • Find the tools you need to succeed

 

business plan, business motivation, small business

Before you do anything else, define your "why."

There are lots of reasons to start a business:
  • I want FREEDOM!
  • My idea will make me lots of money
  • I hate my job I hate my job I hate my job
If your reasons sound more trivial that purposeful, spending more time on your "why" will help solidify your next steps, and help you create your business's mission statement.

Author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek wrote the book on it (no really, he wrote "Start With Why.") He explains how the most successful businesses in the world work from "why" first, before they get to "how" or "what."

Check out Sinek's Ted Talk on the topic: 

Here's where strategy meets tactics and execution.

If the first step was all about why, this one is focused on how. This is where you will get into words exactly how you will:
  • Create your product (or define your service) with all of the details: Sourcing materials or supplies, setting up manufacturing, determining timelines, designing daily workflows.
  • Set your business's objectives in motion. We love SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.
  • Figure out if you need a brick-and-motar storefront, an online presense or a hybrid of both.
There's a likely chance that the pandemic played a role in your desire to start your business, so keep in mind how it actually changed today's businesses. Click below to learn more about how the pandemic changed the way businesses and consumers interact.
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Knowing what's already out there will help you stand out.

Here's where you'll start breaking down exactly who needs your product or service, where to market it and how to kick off sales. Here are your to-do's:
  • Research competitors on the market. What are they offering? What are their prices? Where are they marketing? What do customers say in their online reviews? Keep digging.
  • Get your messaging together: What is your value proposition and how does it differ from others? Once your message is set, study related keywords and search volume.
  • Determine your core audience. Don't try to be everything to everyone. Start smaller, then expand. Identify: Ages, location, education level, income, gender, where do they interact online (Facebook vs. Instagram, for instance), etc.
Studying your competitors will give you a lot to work from, especially when considering how to describe the features and benefits of your unique product or services.

Start smart: Get your finances in order from day one.

Many small businesses get started with either money from savings, a personal loan or line of credit. If you choose one of these do-it-yourself options, follow these steps:
  • Keep personal and business finances separate. Set up both a checking and savings account for your business.
  • Choose a bookkeeping system now. It's easier to start with a digital solution than try to move everything from spreadsheets or (eek) handwritten records.
  • Choose a modern payment processing service with lots of options for your customers. 
  • Learn about what taxes you'll pay and how to pay as you go, rather than a huge year-end hit.
  • When you're ready, seek professional financing help. It'll be the best money you spend.
Keep your customers happy with a variety of payment options with a payment processing solution like ThryvPay.
TRY: THRYVPAY APP

Show the world that your new business is legit!

Ah, yes. Paperwork. Administrivia. You can't move forward without putting all the proper information into the correct buckets. So here's a few items to get started on first:
  • Choose a business structure: Sole proprietor, partner, LLC or corporation.
  • Name it: You'll need to register for entity name, trademark, "doing business as" or DBA and a domain name for your website.
  • Apply for licenses and permits, based on your industry and state.
  • Get your federal employer identification number, as well as state tax ID numbers, if required.
Several organizations are dedicated to helping small businesses. Click the rocket to learn how Launchpad America can help you get your start-up off the ground.

Repeat after me: You need the right tools for the job.

You wouldn't use a screwdriver when what you need is a hammer. Today's small businesses have access to modern, digital tools that help them level the playing field with larger businesses and local competition. Load your toolbox with the following:
  • A fully integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) dashboard. This stores your customer information and is tied to all other activity, such as email marketing.
  • Digital tools for payments that help you look more professional, such as formal estimates, invoices, payment requests and processing.
  • Marketing tools, such as an email system, two-way texting and social media posting.
  • Online presence support for listings and search support, like your Google My Business page.
While you may want to start out with only one or two of these tools, consider an all-in-one solution that will grow with you. Because the truth is: If you're successful, you're going to need all of these and much more! Click below to find out how Thryv is the tool for you.
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DOWNLOAD: Thryv's Quick Start Guide to Starting a New Business!