You have a great idea, the passion to build a reputable company and the drive to see it through. But how do you turn a concept into a popular brand?
Starting a business isn’t easy and it involves endless hours of hard work, running on a lack of sleep and throwing your lifetime savings into something that could end up failing. But if your company survives, the rewards of entrepreneurship are well worth the complications you'll potentially face on the road to success.
Launching a business from scratch can be challenging, but with the right amount of drive, you can begin to build your empire with this step-by-step guide that will help you turn your big idea into a thriving organisation.
1. Evaluate your ideas
It’s easy to get side-tracked when we have hundreds of great ideas running through our heads – which one should you roll with? Will you end up making a ground-breaking invention or will you only set yourself up to fail?
By clearly evaluating your idea, you can first assess if it is indeed a good one and if you have the right knowledge to follow through. It’s also ideal if you have previous experience in the field before jumping into the pool of becoming a solopreneur. Indeed, many startups are unsuccessful due to the fact that their business owners didn’t have any prior experience and did not properly research their target industry – things that could have helped with their success rate.
Additionally, you’ll need to carry out research to discover whether there’s a genuine need for your business and to analyse your competition. If it’s stiff, how will you break through the market to set yourself on the map? It will be wise to set up a focus group and gauge whether your idea will be useful or if you need to go back to the drawing board and restructure your thoughts.
2. Devise a plan
Now that you have your idea in place, you need to put pen to paper and create a business plan. In this plan, you will need to identify the purpose of your organisation, who your target audience is, the product that you’re selling, what your end goals are and how you will finance the startup costs.
This plan is essential when opening any type of organisation, whether it’s online, a small store or even a home business. It will help you put into perspective what is essentially needed for your company to make a profitable turnover. You don’t have to perfect the plan while first starting out as it will most likely change over the course of development but having some kind of structure will make the world of difference.
3. Make it official
In order to actually have a legitimate business, you need to register your establishment. Company formation websites can help you get you started by finding if the registered name you want is available and can provide added services after your organisation has been incorporated.
Before you register your company, though, you need to decide what kind of entity it is. Your business structure legally affects everything from how you file your taxes to your personal liability if something goes wrong. The different structures are listed below to help you determine which type of entity is best for your particular needs and goals:
- Sole proprietorship: This option is suitable for solopreneurs who plan to run the business entirely by themselves and are responsible for all debts and obligations.
- Partnership: This is ideal for two or more business partners that want to be held personally liable as business owners.
- Limited liability corporation (LLC): This the most common type of business entity. It separates personal liability from the company’s, meaning that the company can own property, pay taxes, enter into contracts and generally has legal protection.
4. Get licences and permits
After registering your business, you need to ensure you have the correct licenses and permits to operate. These can vary depending on the industry you’re tapping into, so you will need to dig a little deeper to find out what is necessary in your area.
You will need to ensure you have an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS in the US. You can then use this number when completing your federal and state tax forms. While most legal requirements can be done on your own, it’s best to consult with a lawyer when setting up to ensure you’ve covered everything you need to avoid any unexpected legal run-ins further down the line.
In the UK, you’ll need to register for a PAYE scheme.
5. Get your finances in order
Starting a new business doesn’t necessarily require heaps of money but it will involve some initial investment to cover your expenses until you begin to turn over a profit. Your first step would be to put together a spreadsheet with estimated costs on expenses needed to keep the business running for a year.
If you don’t have the funds to finance your organisation yourself (which will be the most likely scenario), you can consider obtaining a small business loan, pitching to your friends and family for some money, or you can begin an online crowdfunding campaign.
However you manage to get your investment, be sure to note every penny that’s spent so you don’t end up blowing your budget in the first couple of months. If you see that you’re running off track, go back to your spreadsheet and see where you can make a few cutbacks – that fancy espresso machine in the reception area isn’t going to make you any money, so it might be time to get rid of it!
6. Set up your business location
Setting up the place of operation of your business is essential for carrying out day-to-day tasks. This could be from your home, a shared office space or a retail location. While doing so, you need to think of the equipment that’s necessary, including desks, chairs, computers and any other machinery. Make sure the location is practical for the company and easy to get to!
7. Build your team
If you’re planning on hiring employees, now would be the time to begin your search. Figure out where there are gaps in your knowledge and identify what workers you will need to help push your brand. Will you be outsourcing your marketing efforts or will you need in-house assistance? Do you want freelance or more permanent employees?
You will need to prepare job descriptions, carry out interviews and establish what your company culture is to make sure you build the team that you need for your company to succeed.
8. Develop your product
After setting up the essentials, it’s time to finally develop your product with the help of your new employees. Although you’ll be eager to get it completed in the fastest time possible, it’s important to reach out to different manufacturers and companies; do your research and make sure you get quotes to compare.
9. Build your brand
Before you begin selling your product or service, you need to build your brand and advertise what you’re offering. You will need to pay special attention to your logo choice and marketing resources.
Is your website portraying your product correctly? Is it captivating to your target audience? Have you built a strong following on social media? If so, launching with offers on these platforms can help build enthusiasm around your services.
10. Promote your business
As an entrepreneur, you need to continue expanding and growing your business. You’ll need creative marketing strategies and a strong online presence to get the exposure you need to make your desired turnover.
Once you’ve established yourself as a brand in the industry, you can look into getting endorsements and forming collaborations with other iconic companies, depending on the field that you’re in.
Building your own business won’t happen overnight; it will take a lot of time, money and effort to bring your vision to light. Yet, armed with the proper tools, you can put yourself on the path to success, achieving all your career goals, and more.
Have you turned your idea into a working business? If so, join in on the conversation below to share your story…