Starting a business is a complicated process. You will need to overcome various legal obstacles, not to mention having a viable service or product and finding a way to stand out from the competition.
Because of that, it’s not surprising that only 56% of businesses stay afloat after five years. A significant percentage of entrepreneurs are forced to close because they couldn’t establish themselves in the market.
But how can you increase your chances of success?
Let’s look at some of the most important aspects of starting a business you should consider.
Write a Business Plan
Starting a business is not as simple as creating a website and posting some products. Even though that’s precisely what many novice entrepreneurs try to do, it rarely works out because making informed choices becomes almost impossible without a plan.
A business plan is a comprehensive document that contains all of the essential information about your business.
Some of the most important things that it should cover include who you will be selling to, what you will be selling, how you will attract customers, what the competition is like, and what type of performance you can expect.
A good business plan will take some time to put together because you don’t want to guess and need to verify everything that you put in.
Another crucial aspect of a good business plan is figuring out what makes your business different. Ideally, you should identify your target audience that has a vital need not met by anyone else.
It could be a way to do something more effectively, a new type of service that isn’t available, or even a brand that better aligns with their needs, values, and expectations.
Not every company will revolutionize its industry, but having a way to say “this is who we are and why we are different” is a good starting point that you can build your entire business around.
But even though it’s a crucial document, don’t think you have to know all the answers right now. As you progress with your business, you will probably change some details or even completely rehaul it based on the new insights that you gain in the process.
Take Care of the Legal Challenges
The legal processes of starting a business can be one of the most discouraging parts. Without prior experience, the terms and business entity choices can become overwhelming, causing many people to doubt if they should progress.
But while legal business setup is an essential step that cannot be skipped, it doesn’t have to be that difficult if you understand the basic principles and aren’t afraid to ask for help from professionals.
First, you’ll need to determine the requirements to register as a business in your area and what you’ll need to do.
You will also need to come up with a business name, and this step should not be rushed. When choosing a name, make sure to check out if a cheap domain name is available for it. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars for a domain when you’re just starting out, but the good news is that there are plenty of affordable options if you’re willing to get creative.
Finally, you’ll need to determine what type of business you want to register as. You can use a sole proprietorship, partnership, an LLC, or even a corporation model, but you should probably consult with a professional to determine which of these makes the most sense in your situation.
Create Your Brand
The importance of branding cannot be understated. It’s the one thing that you can rely on when trying to appeal to your audience and separate yourself from dozens of stores with similar products.
Without a brand, you’d be just another faceless store and would have a tough time competing with larger companies with better margins and a more extensive product selection.
However, if you develop a brand identity that resonates with your audience, you can persuade people to buy from you because they like what you stand for, which can make price a secondary consideration.
But what are the most critical aspects of creating a memorable brand?
Well, you will first need to determine the core values that your company represents. Emphasizing things like a commitment to your customers, sustainability, integrity, or innovation can help you build an entire brand persona around those core beliefs.
The values that you choose will influence your brand voice as well. But it’s also important to consider who you’re trying to appeal to, as your audience will largely dictate how you want to interact with them.
Finally, you will have to decide on the visual elements such as the logo, the color scheme, and even the typeface. Look at what the competition is doing and draw inspiration from it, but try to establish your own brand identity that is clearly distinguished from others.
You can then put all of these elements together on a website, knowing exactly which direction you need to go and making the entire process much easier.
Figure Out Your Marketing Strategy
Once you have your brand in place and a website that’s ready to welcome customers, you’ll need to figure out how to start attracting prospective buyers.
And while many startups struggle with promoting their business online, the good news is that there are many approaches you can try to see what works best in your situation.
Paid ads on social media and Google are an excellent starting point for most companies because it allows you to get traffic from day one. Seeing how your site is performing will let you make quick adjustments and get to know your audience better.
SEO is also an integral part of any comprehensive long-term marketing strategy. Even though it does take time, once your website starts ranking, you can receive targeted traffic for free, month after month.
You should also embrace what social media has to offer. By posting helpful content and interacting with your audience, you can build a loyal following and spread your messages further.
Influencer marketing can help supplement your social media efforts or even become the central part of your promotions. By partnering up with prominent social media figures in your niche, you can gain instant access to a hungry audience that will be pre-sold on your business by the time they reach your website.
Starting a new business is hard, which is why so many companies end up failing. But if you take the time in the preparations phase and be patient when building your business, you will have the best chance of breaking into the market and achieving good results.
Take the time to put together a comprehensive business plan, consult with professionals when going through the legal processes, create a memorable brand, and use multiple marketing approaches to put yourself ahead of most entrepreneurs that won’t put in the necessary work.