With so many changes going on in the world during this past year, many people have found themselves rediscovering old hobbies or discovering new passions. At one point it seemed like everyone was baking bread. But for some people, falling back in love with an old hobby meant turning it into a small business.
Starting a new business can be difficult, but for those who had nowhere to turn to because of the pandemic, utilizing a skillset they could profit from was a way to keep an income flowing for their family.
But how do you establish a startup? It doesn’t matter whether you’re an online business or a home business, you don’t begin making money the day after you’ve come up with an idea. Here, we’ll give you eight pro tips on how to start a business from scratch.
1. Think of Yourself as an Entrepreneur
If you’re starting a business, you’re now an entrepreneur, so you need to start thinking of yourself as one. You must be professional, even when you’re not interacting with others.
It’s important to self-assess and see what type of business would be best for you. This could be easy. You might be a graphic designer who’s decided to start your own agency.
Not all cases are that easy. Some people want to start a business so they don’t have to answer to anyone or because they need to provide assistance to their family. So, part of your assessment should include why you’re starting your business.
2. Coming Up with and Researching Your Business Ideas
Always keep in mind that, as a business, you’re there to solve somebody’s problem. Do some research and make sure your niche/business model will work and be profitable.
You could have a great, unique idea, but it’s not a good business decision if there’s no need for it where you are. Opening a Gaelic school in the middle of Wyoming isn’t a good business idea.
Chances are that someone else is providing the same goods or services as you, so you need to come up with a way to outdo your competition. Some companies use price to attract more customers and beat their competitors. Figure out which course of action is best for you.
3. Test Your Idea
Make sure you test your idea out to see if it’ll work. Set up a one-page website with a logo, which you can get for under $10 through Fiverr, and have it look professional. Or you could use Wix or Bluehost and build a site yourself.
List your products and services and add a contact email or form. If you’re selling products, have a preorder. If you’re selling services, there’s nothing to worry about. Find emails of potential buyers and reach out to them.
Purchase some advertisements on Facebook or Instagram. Again, you can search Fiverr to have someone affordably do up your graphics so they look professional.
Testing your business will give you an idea of how much demand there is for your product or service. It’s much better to spend less than $50 to find out it’s not going anywhere then it is to jump all-in and find out the same result.
4. Create Branding and Marketing
After your successful test, you’ll want to come up with your permanent logo and branding. That includes what colors you want to use, the letterhead, the look of your website, etc.
You’ll also have to look at marketing materials and campaigns. What look do you want to create and how do you want the world to see your company and message? This might be something you can do on your own, get from Fiverr, or turn to an agency for.
5. Create a Business Plan
At this point in the process, you’ve figured some things out in your journey, crossed some items off your list, and perhaps added some on. Now you need a business plan.
This step is essentially getting your thoughts on paper for how you want to get your business started and how your business will look, including your expected outcomes. It’s important for you and essential if you plan on getting any loans or having investors.
6. Registering Your Business
There are different levels of registration, such as sole proprietor, corporation, etc. Each level of registry has its own set of guidelines, and in most cases, especially for a sole proprietorship, you need to register in each state you want your business recognized in.
The higher up the registration ladder you go, the further your registration is automatically covered, such as nationwide or globally. Always check the rules and regulations or registration where you live as they differ by country and state.
7. Business Finances and Taxes
Always keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. Even if you’re a sole proprietor and you’re living off all of the money you make from the business, it’ll be so much easier come tax season if you have everything in a separate account.
Just like personal taxes, you’ll now be responsible for completing your company’s taxes. You may want to hire an accountant, especially during the first year, to help guide you and explain what can and can’t be written off.
8. Protect Your Business
So much goes into starting up and running a business. Chances are it’s your largest asset, so you want to ensure that you keep it protected. Hire an attorney to take care of all contracts and other business interests.
You’ll also need to trademark your name and branding. Patent an idea, technology, or process and copyright creative work. Look into different types of insurances you may need. For example, there’s an insurance for product recalls, even if your company is fully online.
Protect your business and yourself.