Starting a Small Business
Whether you’re starting a small business for extra income or complete financial independence, turning your small business idea into a successful enterprise requires hard work and the right execution.
The first thing you need to establish when starting a small business is your business model. A lot of people have good ideas, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a sound business model. You need to consider whether or not you can generate income from the business enterprise and whether the return on your investment of time and money is worthwhile. Half of all small businesses fail in the first year of operation, and half of what’s left fail in the second. This doesn’t even include all the small business ideas that never even get any legs. That’s not to say that if you’re starting a small business you are destined for failure, but you need to remember that business is never easy and those that succeed work hard and diligently.
Your small business model has to cover all aspects of the enterprise, from creating value to extracting revenue. If you’re selling cupcakes you need to consider everything from sourcing ingredients to delivering them to your customer and collecting payment. You need to cost all aspects of the business to ensure that you can actually turn a profit from the enterprise. If you start a small business with no research or preparation, odds are that you’ll be part of the majority who fail.
Once you have the small business model you need to design your operations. If you’re thinking about starting a small business you need to be prepared to do most of the work. It makes no sense to employ staff before you have generated any revenue, which is why most people pick a business model that they are familiar with. You need to design the process of whatever it is that you’re doing so you know precisely what needs to be done and who is going to do it. You need to be sure that your small business can deliver on it’s promises and that you can serve your first customer when they arrive.
The next aspect of starting a small business is assembling your support team. Whilst you’re going to be doing the lion’s share of the work if you’re the one starting the business, you need to think about who you can turn to for help if things pick up or if you run into any obstacles. You are not necessarily looking for employees, but people who can advise you or who can pitch in to help you once in a while. If you’re opening a store, you might want to find someone to work Saturday morning. You may need someone to hand out flyers or help you with a letterbox drop. Make a list of all the things you need done and then think about the kind of people you might be able to call on for help in the early stages of starting your small business.
Now that you have your business model, your operations plan and your support network in place, it’s time to have a think about marketing. Small business marketing has become more accessible to newcomers with the advent of the internet, and there are still plenty of traditional methods available to you. Marketing will either make or break you because regardless of how good your product and your service is, you need a customer base for it to work on. When you’re starting a small business you will generally have a limited advertising budget, so you need to think smart and think outside the box.
With your successful marketing strategy bringing your customers, you will have the opportunity to test your operations and your business model. Starting a small business is an exciting adventure, but it can be hard work and there will be countless setbacks and obstacles to overcome. If you work hard and maintain a positive and realistic outlook, there’s no reason why you can’t turn your small business into a successful enterprise capable of standing on its own two feet.
The final aspect of starting a small business is the continuous review and refining process. You need to constantly look at ways to improve all aspects of your business, including yourself. You need to grow personally and continually upgrade your skills so your small business can prosper in an ever changing business environment.