Starting a business is not exactly the easiest thing to do, especially if this is your first venture in the world of entrepreneurship. It takes time, financial resources, and a lot of hard work to turn an idea into a profitable project.
First-time entrepreneurs are faced with a lot of challenges until they manage to open the doors to their new business. These challenges include hiring the right people, properly marketing your business, pitching ideas to potential investors and finding opportunities to finance their business.
Just like humans, every business has different needs, but there are some main things you need to keep in mind when becoming an entrepreneur. We put this guide together to help you out in the journey towards achieving your dream.
Understand the commitment it takes to start a business
Before you even consider starting a business, you need to understand it takes a lot of commitment to overcome the many challenges you will be facing. Entrepreneurs, especially novice ones, often fail to comprehend the number of resources, energy and time it takes to grow a business.
For starters, you need to come up with a unique service or product that satisfies the needs of customers and finds its place on the market. Then, you need to find out how to make that product profitable and find enough capital to set things into motion.
Make peace with the fact that you may be working more than you have expected and be prepared to face rejections without getting discouraged.
Last but not least, find a way to balance work and personal life, even though it might be complicated at first. Maintaining a reasonable balance between your personal and professional life will help you stay sane and avoid getting too involved in your work.
Plan a budget and secure the necessary capital
Whether you like it or not, in order to turn a project into a successful business, you will need to secure capital. There are many ways you can do this, so it is essential to ensure you are finding the solution that works best for your business.
The first option many investors think of is applying for a bank loan. Keep in mind that banks to have some strict requirements when it comes to accepting your application, so be prepared with a thorough business plan and a pitch to help convince them your business has a secure future ahead.
A more convenient option may be to go for a private loan, which is much easier to acquire and you get access to cash in just a few days. There are many private loans available online, and for most of them, all you need to do is fill in a form and wait for the company to contact you.
Brand and market your business the right way
Proper branding is among the most important steps towards running a successful business. Through branding, consumers can understand your company values and who your business is.
The first thing you need to do is come up with a good name that will be easy to remember and allows your business to grow. Don’t choose a name that could limit your opportunities for expanding in the future. Once you decide on a name, conduct further research to ensure your choice is unique. The last thing you want is to find ten other businesses using the same name you chose.
The next step is to build a website that adds value to your business. Check out the competition to see how they are presenting themselves online and aim to be at least a little better than them. Make sure you fill your website with original content and all the information a customer may need about your business.
Last but not least, make sure your website is optimized for search engines and that it looks good on any type of device customers may be using.
Develop a compelling elevator pitch
If you are not familiar with an elevator pitch, it is a short and compelling business description that you should have memorized, in case you meet a potential client, investor or employee. Your elevator pitch should be no longer than 60 seconds and should carry a positive yet strong message about your business.
Avoid including too much industry jargon in your pitch, especially if you talk to potential customers that may not understand all the terms. Make sure your pitch states out what makes your business unique and the issues you plan to solve through your products or services.
Invite the listener to participate in the discussion and encourage them to ask questions. This shows they are actively listening, and you keep them engaged.
Constantly research your main competitors
If you want to stay ahead of your competition, then you must be aware of what the competition is doing. Research their company, their goods or services, as well as their marketing strategy. The simplest way to do so is by setting up a Google alert that notifies you whenever any new information about a competitor is showing up on the internet.
Be aware of who your competitors are and don’t underestimate them, especially in front of potential investors. An entrepreneur that believes they have no competition will have their credibility seriously questioned.
Instead of undermining them, point out what gives your company a competitive advantage and how you plan to stay ahead of the market. Be it because of the price, performance or product features, make sure to bring those things up when talking to a potential investor.
Hire top talent to make your job easier
When interviewing potential employees, take your time to ensure the people you are hiring have the skills necessary to help you grow your business. If necessary, perform a comprehensive reference check to make sure they have the experience they claim to have.
Verify prior job titles and employers; ask if they can provide contact information for at least one employer and call to ask for reference before making a decision.
The purpose of this verification is to ensure the applicant is suited for your business and fits into the company culture.