The most common question I get asked is how to start a business. Getting started is often the most difficult part, but the steps are straightforward. Follow the 6 steps below:
1. Validate your idea—Several people jump into creating a startup and launching without actually having validated the idea. You need to make sure people actually are willing to pay for your product or service before you dedicate your time and resources to it. My favorite way to validate an idea is to survey as many people as possible (minimum of 100), hours and hours of market and competitive research, and soft launches.
2. Fund your startup—Will you be raising money? Bootstrapping? Crowdfunding? There are some startups you can start with little to no capital, but that’s obviously not the case for all. Determine how much you’ll need, what you’ll do with the funds, and how you’ll obtain it.
3. Build your network—People are often willing to support young entrepreneurs, so use this to your advantage. Obtain mentors and coaches, find influencers who will be able to spread the word about your startup, try to get your family on board with supporting you (entrepreneurship is difficult, so having their support is extremely valuable), and build your email list. Many seasoned marketers and entrepreneurs will tell you “the money is in the list.”
4. Build your business—Whether you’re offering a product or service, make sure you offer quality. Your startup doesn’t have to be perfect when you launch. In fact, it definitely won’t be perfect when you launch, but remember, you’ve only got one shot to make a first impression.
5. Develop your marketing plan & launch—Building a startup is one thing. Driving traffic and converting to sales is another job, all together. It is very rare for a startup to be put out into the world, and it just goes viral on its own. You’ll likely spend a lot of time in the beginning marketing, testing with early customers, obtaining feedback, and revising your product. Figure out how you plan to market your business, and build a team that can help you do this. If you don’t have the funds to support a team, I suggest you start learning about marketing as soon as possible.
6. Stay resilient—Starting and scaling a startup is extremely difficult, and the reality is that most fail. Don’t let this dishearten you. Put your heart and soul into your work, face obstacles with resilience, and know that all your experience (both the successes and failures) are a massive learning opportunity.
What other questions do you have about starting a business? Drop them in the comments below.