So you have it! You have your business idea! You decided that NOW it the best time to start your business, you’ve identified what type of business you should start and now you’re wondering… “Heather, how do I actually get started?”
I’m glad you asked.
If you found yourself here through our social media platforms, you will notice that this article has a TON of information in it. Much more than we could cram into an IG post. This article is a good one to save for the future, share with fellow budding entrepreneurs like yourself, or pin to your business dream board on Pinterest.
We’ve helped quite of few businesses get off the ground and running. It’s our wheelhouse after all. Over the years we’ve seen some major successes, personally helped open the doors of brand new entities, and stepped in to help new businesses turn their outcome around who fell flat after they first launched on their own. Our claim to fame is helping brand new businesses hit the six figure mark in their first 6-12 months in business. As Farmers Insurance puts it “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.”
This article is not just general ideas of things we think might work for you. We know this is the recipe you need when undertaking this exciting (and sometimes scary) endeavor.
Enough chit chat. Let’s get to it, shall we?
How do you launch a successful business, from Day 1?
Step #1 Identify: Who is your product or service for? AKA Your Target Audience
Try to get down to detail as much as possible; who do I serve? Men, women, children or all of the above? Where do they live? What industry do they work in? What are their interests? How do they communicate? How much money do they earn? How do they think? What is important to them? What challenges do they face? What drives them to make purchasing decisions?
This step can and should take some time. The more clear, defined answers the easier it will be to determine your marketing plan.
Step #2 Define: What is your offer?
How do you serve your clients and customers? What is it that you offer them?
Will this be in the form of a product or service?
Product: Where does that product live? In stores? Online? Will you build your own website to showcase your products or will you create a store page on another platform like Esty or Amazon?
Service: What type of service will you provide? 1:1? Group? Webinars? Online courses?
Really dream here and map out how you will serve your clients and customers. Get creative, google some ideas. Let your brain marinate on some of these questions. Once you give your mind the puzzle to solve, you may be surprised which ideas seemingly come out of the blue. Some of my best ideas haven’t come when I sit down and try to find these answers in one time block. They came when I was in the shower, on a walk, traveling, listening to a podcast. Give this time to come together for you!
Step #3 Goals.
Let me start by saying this; not all dreams are created equal. You do not have to set a goal of becoming a million dollar business. You do not have to set a goal of living off the grid while your business seemingly runs itself.
You get to dream as big as you want to. You may be starting a business as a side hustle. You may never have any intention of this business having employees. You may want to keep your day job and just have extra money rolling in.
Or, you may want to quit that 9-5 and have this replace your full time income. You may want to hit 6 figures in your first 1-2 years. You may have dreams, goals and visions that scare you yet excite you at the same time.
No one is here to judge you. YOU get to decide how you want YOUR business to run and operate. You get to set the goals that you TRULY want.
I will say this, I know that each and every one of you has a little more potential in them that you currently operate from. You can stretch yourself and do more than you think you can. When I walk women through setting goals, I encourage them to dig a little deeper and see where they can find a little more in them to set realistic goals they can stretch to reach.
So, what do you want? And not just in your business. What do you want for your entire life? At She Leads Me, we speak to the entirety of who you are, not just the professional version of yourself.
Start with your new business. How many products do you want to get in the hands of your customers? How many people do you want to serve? How much revenue do you want to generate for your business, and how much of it do you want to keep?
Move onto your personal life. What does work/life balance look like to you? What goals and dreams do you have personally that you want your business to fund? How much energy do you want to have at the end of every single day?
Step #4 Finances.
It’s time to get honest here. Many people skip this step all together. Don’t be that person! I would love to have you as a future reader of The Leader Blog as a successful business owner because you took this step seriously. I mean it, don’t skip to Step #5 just yet!
We are going into business for ourselves. We need to get comfortable and familiar with your finances. There’s just simply no way around it.
Let’s take an honest assessment here and answer the following questions:
Based on your Offering (Step #2) to your clients and customers and your Goals (Step #3), how much money do you need to get started?
Do you have that number (or your best estimate)? Then determine, where is that money going to come from? Are you self funding? Will that deplete your entire personal savings? (If yes, I recommend looking at some other options). Are you finding funding from an investor? Are you applying for a loan?
There are many ways to find financial aid in getting your business off the ground and running. Really take some time to look at all of your options. Go to the SBA and look at your options before you leverage money from your home. Look for grants and scholarships out there (there are MANY for women owned businesses!) before you borrow money from a family member.
You will do what you need to do to get started. There is no judgement here in that. I am just here to make sure you take a look at all of the opportunities that you do have before you make quick decisions in this area that could cost you a lot more, later down the road.
Step #5 Your Schedule.
Now things are starting to come together! Do you feel it? The momentum and excitement?! You are going after your dreams! It’s worth celebrating and giving yourself a huge pat on the back. Let’s keep it rolling.
Let’s look at what your schedule will need to look like with this new business. How many hours per week do you need to work to hit your new business goals? What does your daily schedule and weekly schedule look like in this new business world?
After you get started, it will be easier to go back and have a better understanding of what it will take. For now, I highly recommend creating an ideal work week and daily schedule. Create time blocks within your calendar and create space for you to work on your business (proactive) then in your business (reactive). After some time in your new business life, you can make adjustments accordingly.
Step #6 Market Research.
I do not recommend on spending too much time down the rabbit hole of Market Research, but just enough time to gather what you need to know to help set yourself up for success. I also recommend that you really be careful about which platforms you conduct your market research on. Social media is a slippery slope of false claims and deceptive curtains. When you pull some of those curtains back you would be shocked at what is behind them (I know, because I have consulted with MANY of them to stop hiding behind false metrics and step into living in their truth).
Everyone wants to feel good about what they are doing. If they don’t, they want to feel good thinking that you think that they are majorly successful. Don’t get stuck in the trap my friend!
Find data points specific to your industry, and on different platforms. Look for articles and reports posted in reputable new outlets. Search the SBA for statistics and information. There is a way to find the truth out there, it will just take a little bit of time to find it.
Try to find answers to questions like: How much do competitors charge for similar products or services? How many competitors are there in your marketplace? What do my ideal clients and customers need from me?
Step #7 Professional Services.
There will come a point in time where you will need to hire a specific professional to provide a service in your business. Oftentimes, we do the DIY hack thing when getting started (which I am allllll about but within boundaries, ladies). If you are needing anything within the legal realm, stop what you are doing right now and find yourself a good business attorney.
Do not, I repeat DO NOT, Google your way to the best Client Contract Form Template out there.
Hiring the right attorney, tax advisor and business consultant will save you so much time, headache and future problems.
Step #8 Branding.
Your brand will be the memorable impression on your clients and customers. It also allows them to know what to expect from you and your company. It is a way to set yourself apart from the competition out there and help them decide why they should choose you and what you offer. What makes you the better choice? How do you stand apart from the rest?
Whatever answers you decide, the #1 Rule is that it NEEDS to be Authentic. Yes, that overused buzzword right now. Until there is a better word to use, I will continue to tell you to BE YOURSELF (yes, that’s me lovingly yelling). You are enough. Be yourself and your business will have the most amazing successes because of it.
Speaking of hiring a professional, my girl Kelsey Kurtis has got you COVERED from Branding Education to Lifestyle Branding Photography. I highly recommend you check her out. She’s a great place to get started.
Step #9 Developing your Business and Strategy Plan
Ahhh, there it is. My happy place. If we’ve ever worked together, I most likely have coached you through building your business and strategy plan. It is key and essential to have a mapped out plan of where you are headed.
Every single fall I gather my team and plan my business for the year ahead. It keep me grounded, it keeps me on course and it keeps me sane (honestly). Even this year (2020) where I pretty much had to red line my way through the majority of my business plan and start fresh, putting together my plan saved my business from the effects of a pandemic, and helped me exceed my income goals I had set before COVID-19 was even in our daily vocabulary.
There are many ways to build a business plan. Our team is here to help support you in this venture if you are looking for assistance. Otherwise, Google is a great place to get started!
Step #10 Your Marketing Plan
If I’ve lost you by now, you may not be ready for the undertaking of a new business. This is just scratching the surface of what’s to come in business for you. Is it okay to feel overwhelmed? Absolutely. Everyone needs help and support. Just know, the easiest part is getting started, the hardest part comes thereafter.
Creating marketing plans can be large and robust. Some of the marketing strategies and plans I have seen for big corporate companies are straight up longer than some books I’ve read. We don’t have to start with ALL of the options for your marketing plan. I do recommend adding layers into your marketing as your business grows.
Social media is the easiest way to get started with marketing. Better yet, most of the platforms can yield a high business return for free! We like free.
Do not get tripped up with having a social profile on every single profile possible. Answer the question, Where does your ideal client live online? Is it Facebook? LinkedIn? Instagram? Pinterest? Start there. Build out a kicka** profile. Dial it in. Understand the ins and outs of it. Maximize its use, then look for profiles to build elsewhere. Don’t let the overwhelm of options stop you from taking action, or causing you to dilute your efforts resulting in mediocre profiles. Pick one or two and make it POP!
We hope this comprehensive list gives you a great start to your new business venture! If you are looking for options other than the DIY, please reach out to our team, and we’d be happy to discuss options on how we can help you launch, grow and thrive!
So now that we’ve helped you over the past couple of weeks determine:
When you should start your new business, What type of business is a good fit for you to start, and now, how to get it started.
The only question left is,
What is stopping you from living the life you want? Go GET it, I believe in you!!