How to start your own business in 11 steps
Everyone could use a little more money, whether you’re just out of college and need to support your family, or you’re employed but need a side gig to supplement your pay.
If you’re trying to start a successful business or simply want to create a future that suits your needs, you’re in the perfect place. Starting a business is no longer as intimidating as it once was. From the convenience of your home, you can easily launch a six-figure business.
However, there are a few critical steps you must take to make sure that your business goes live and it stays that way.
This guide will take you from conceiving that business idea, to launching it.
1. Learn about your big idea:
The initial step is to come up with business ideas. What kind of business are you looking to start? What are your areas of strength and interest? This might influence the type of business you choose to launch. In 2022, people are making a ton of money from various enterprises. You have several options, including creating your product from scratch, working with manufacturers, purchasing and reselling pre-existing goods from other companies, and dropshipping.
Dropshipping is the least capital-intensive of all three choices. Selling pre-existing goods on your own online store using the dropshipping business model eliminates the need for managing inventory or delivery. This is made possible via Sharesell in the simplest way imaginable.
2. Research your products and target audience
Now that you have that million-dollar idea, it’s time to validate it. It’s important that you research your product and the industry it’s in. You want to check if it’s legal in your country, if you need a license to sell and other important information.
Your business may sound exciting to you but it’s only worth it if there’s an audience for it. You don’t want to create a product that nobody wants to buy. It’s important you find out if your product is relevant and if people want it. You do that through market research, market analysis and competitive analysis.
Market research is the process of gathering information about the potential customers for your brand. This can verify that you’re on the right track or that you need to make a shift.
You can conduct market research through surveys, focus groups and interviews.
Creating a buyer persona is also an effective way to discover the needs of your target audience. What do your potential customers do? How old are they? On what social media platform do they spend the most time? What is important to them??
Market analysis is similar to market research but it involves gathering data about the industry as a whole to make informed decisions about your business.
Competitive analysis on another hand involves studying your competitors in the industry and finding out what works for them. This helps you create a strategy without the hassle of trial and error. Analyzing your competitors also gives you the opportunity to identify gaps and help you set your brand apart from the rest. This exercise will help you clearly define your unique selling proposition (USP) which is the benefit your brand offers over your competitors.
3. Count the Cost
Now, what does it really cost to start a business? It depends on many factors such as whether or not you need to lease space, whether you need to hire immediately or whether you need to buy production materials. If you choose not to secure outside funding, you can obtain a model called bootstrapping. Bootstrapping is the process of starting a business with little or no money and investing the profits back into the business as it grows. This method of funding may mean slower business growth but it minimizes risk and debt. It would help if you also considered having a financial calculation that helps you to determine at what point your business becomes profitable. If you decide to dropship, some of this may not apply to you, however, you’d still need a business plan and a strategy to make sure your business is scalable.
4. Build your business
By now, your business is starting to take shape. You’ve validated your idea, found your ideal buyer, your business plan is locked and you’re almost ready to launch. This is when you start to source your products by sourcing the materials, the manufacturer you want to partner with or the platform you want to use to dropship.
To create your products yourself, you’ll need a workspace in your home or to rent an office or a studio. If you’re partnering with a manufacturer, it’s important to find one who understands your industry, your packaging and the needs of your target audience. If you’ve decided to be a reseller, this is the point where you find an ideal supplier or a platform with a collection of suppliers like Sharesell.
Most business owners usually list shipping as one of the major challenges they face. When determining a shipping strategy for your business, you’ll first need to decide how to handle order fulfilment. For most business owners, that means personally packaging and shipping the orders one by one. Unless you choose a drop shipping model, managing your own order fulfilment in the early days will help you better understand different aspects of your business.
New business owners should understand that shipping costs usually play a huge role in a customer’s decision to buy so you can decide to offer free shipping and include the cost in the retail prices or take steps to keep the shipping costs as low as possible. If you plan to ship internationally, be sure that your product is legal in their country of destination and that you adhere to labelling and packaging requirements. However, reselling with sharesell resolves this challenge for you.
6. Develop a brand strategy and brand identity
Asides from having a unique selling proposition or stellar service, your brand identity is a driving force for customers to buy from you. It is more than a logo or a fancy business name. It is a set of principles that tells your brand story, creates consistency and builds trust. It will create the foundation upon which you make creative decisions for your brand as you grow. As you build your reputation, be sure to consider various components like your mission statement, brand values and promises, your brand story, your brand voice and your visual brand identity.
To develop a brand strategy, answer questions like ‘What’s important to you (giving back, fair wages for staff, customer satisfaction)?’ ‘What colours or designs appeal to you and represent the perception /mood you’re trying to achieve?’ ‘How do you want customers to feel when interacting with your brand?’
Next, brainstorm business names and domain names. It’s important that you research any potential business name to see if it’s already taken (to avoid confusion and legal issues) and if its social media handles and domain are available.
7. Build and Launch your website
At this stage, it’s time to assemble all your hard work into a website and introduce it to the world. There are several website builders on the market and you will need to weigh the options based on factors like available features, cost and ease of use.
Designing a professional website is simple, even if you have no design skills whatsoever. That’s because there are now several tools and templates that will let you draft your website with no coding skills. When you’re ready to launch, you can test your website, gather feedback and tweak your website before your grand opening.
Ultimately, building a business from nothing is taxing but with the right guidance, you can create a profitable side hustle. With Sharesell, it’s even more rewarding because you don’t have to worry about inventory or shipping. We take care of the tedious tasks so you can concentrate on creating the company of your dreams!
Join ShareSell today to launch your own company!