When you’re thinking about starting a business, it can be hard to know exactly what steps you need to turn your vision into a reality. Of course, every business is different, but there are some basic tenants that greatly increase the chances of a business succeeding and continuing to grow into the future. The following will explore a few things you might want to keep in mind when turning your business idea into a reality. The focus is on businesses that have not yet been started, but many of these tips also apply to emerging businesses and companies that have existed for a while but are looking to improve.
A Business Plan
While you can hypothetically start a real business without a plan, you almost certainly can’t start a thriving, growing business without a plan. At the most basic, this plan needs to involve your pitch statement, which is a two to three-sentence paragraph that explains what your business is, who you help, what you help them do, and how they benefit from it.
You’re also going to want to include a mission statement that covers what impact you hope your business will have as well as any virtues or values you want to embed into the core of your business. Your business plan should include what differentiates you from your competition (if you don’t have something to say here then you need to brainstorm a bit more and perhaps research your competition to see where there are any gaps you can fill). Finally, you want your business plan to include the strategy and steps you need to take to accomplish your mission. It’s okay if, as you learn, you alter these steps—in fact, this is probably a good idea. Be sure to include a regularly scheduled check-in where you go over your strategy and make any adjustments you see fit.
Having your values and targets laid out in front of you in a single document might seem tedious now, but it can save you a ton of time later on. If you’re faced with a tough decision (which you will be at some point because that’s a part of running a business), you can refer back to your values and mission and ask yourself which option is more aligned with your beliefs and initial aims.
Learn About The Legal Requirements
Every country, state, and province are different, but they all have legal requirements for businesses. Find out what you need to do to legally create a business where you live, Uniwide Formations points out that sometimes you can find packages that allow you to meet all your basic requirements within a single process. Beyond looking at the broader legal requirements for all businesses in your area, you want to check the standards for your particular industry and business type. There might be certifications you need or standards that have to be met. You can’t, for instance, just start making pickles in most countries and expect to sell them. Legally, you will need to have completed the process in a certain way for health and safety standards and for permission to use the term pickles on your packaging. You will be shocked (and perhaps appalled) by how extensive the micromanaging is for pretty much every type of business you can imagine. At the bare minimum, you’re probably going to have to register your business.
A Bitterness Defense Plan
There are a handful of things in life that force you to face your inner demons and self-limiting beliefs. Having children, moving to a foreign country, and entering into a new relationship are all life changes that will bring to the forefront your insecurities and internal struggles. Another one is starting a business.
If you don’t have a plan in place for handling the icky, messy, and brutal feelings that can arise when striking out on your own and trying to build something like a business, you’re probably going to give up at some point. Thoughts and self-limiting beliefs will arise, and you need to be able to handle them if your business is going to continue existing.
Every time you have a thought regarding your business or yourself as a business owner, and the thought leaves you feeling less than great; you need to take two steps. First, remind yourself that thoughts are not always true or accurate; you don’t need to believe these thoughts. Second, seek out an example that disproves the thought.
This is especially important for thoughts along the lines of – well, it was easy for him, his parents gave him the money, people like me don’t succeed, success can only come from severe suffering, she just got lucky or I could never do that. Any feelings of bitterness or jealousy need to be examined as if you do the typical thing, which is to suppress these feelings, they’re going to get louder and louder until they’re heard, causing anxiety, mayhem, or self-destructive tendencies.
Conduct Market Research
Before you throw all your money in and set everything up, you’re going to want to test the market. This means you’re going to want to conduct experiments that allow you to see how much interest there is in your business idea as it stands. You want trials that involve minimal financial investment that still gives you an idea of how people are going to respond. If, for instance, you’re thinking of self-publishing a book series, you can set up a pre-order campaign to see how many people are interested. If you’ve got a product idea, post on all the local and relevant forums and boards asking if anyone would be interested in that product for whatever price you’re thinking about. If the response is lackluster, tweak your plan and product idea and try again.
The above tips should help you take your business from an idea to an existing enterprise. While reading these steps took very little time, following them through can take a bit longer than expected. It’s a good idea to get realistic about your timeline expectations to avoid unnecessary disappointment and frustration. This is particularly the case when it comes to legal registration, inspections, and certifications. Given the chaos that was 2020-2022, many government agencies are still behind schedule and dealing with a bottleneck of applications they need to sort through.