We’ve all dreamt, at least once, of becoming our own boss. But the mere idea of starting a business from scratch can send many into a spiral. Where do you get ideas and investment money? How do you plot it all while still making ends meet with your current job? And how much money do you need to start? Well, it’s all about taking it one step at a time and finding comfort in the fact that there are plenty of resources online (like this post) to help you do it!
Things to know when starting a business
The most important thing about starting your own business is to make sure you only bite off as much as you can chew. What do we mean by that? That, while starting a business can be exciting, we need to make sure we’re making sound investments and taking calculated risks.
Always start small and proceed with caution.
Let’s take a lemonade stand as an example. To start a lemonade-stand business you’ll need to invest in a stand, the ingredients for lemonade, and the cups to sell it in. If you go overboard from the beginning, you might end up with a lot of extra lemonade that will go to waste and cut your profits. Instead, start small! Let your neighborhood know your lemonade stand has just arrived in town, and only increase your lemonade output when there’s a demand for it.
The neighbors might not notice your lemonade stand for a while. Or perhaps you’ll run into a seasonality problem: lemonade is a summer drink and you’re selling in the fall!
Be ready to get creative.
If lemonade isn’t the winning product at the moment, try swapping it out for hot chocolate! At the beginning, businesses are almost exclusively about trial and error. That’s why starting small is so important. But just because there will be some ups and downs at first doesn’t mean your business won’t be successful.
Below, we’ll walk you through exactly what you’ll need to give it your best shot!
How to start a business from scratch
While the above points will help you get your head in the game, this section is all actionable steps to starting a business.
- Have a plan. This step is as crucial as it is stressful and it is the first thing you should do when starting your business. It’s very easy to go down rabbit holes when planning for the future, especially if we’re talking business. But try to think of your business plan as a road map to success, one that you can take your time to rethink and tweak before putting it in motion. Important points to consider: the business idea, the budget you’ll need to get it started, possible avenues to get the funding from, logistics, etc.
- Know who your customer is. Businesses thrive not because the business idea is good but because there is a need in the market for it. As with our lemonade stand example, figure out if your neighbors are into lemonade before investing. Think of seasonality and whether you’ll have an alternative drink for colder months. Perhaps you’ll switch to lemon tea! Think of how that could require different equipment and thus an additional investment.
- If possible, find a mentor. Starting a business is not a walk in the park, but it can certainly be easier with the right guidance. While the internet is ripe with ideas and resources on how to get started, finding personalized feedback regarding your business idea is key. You could hire a professional consultant or ask friends or family who have started similar businesses to yours.
- Consider online. Starting a small business online is sometimes easier and more cost-effective than retail. In fact, many business models only need to exist online.
How to keep your business running (and growing!)
Let’s say you’ve already set up your lemonade stand, and things are going well. Where do we go from here?
- Get ready to scale. The golden rule of business is being able to grow it. Since we’re going to start small, we’ll want to know how to go from there in order to make the kind of profit margin we really want. Always be thinking of what the next step is and whether your business has the right foundation to continue moving forward.
- Be open to new lines of business. Once your business is up and running, there are different strategies you can implement to keep it booming. For example, if you run a small convenience store, you can partner up with a finance company like Ria to offer remittance services from your own business. This way, Ria customers would visit your store, generating both new income for you or even becoming your customer. When the time is right, make sure to leverage partnerships, be it with people you know or businesses you trust to help you grow sustainably.
- Network. Attend events, conventions, or sign up for courses. Anything that will help open doors to take your business to the next level. As we mentioned before, leveraging partnerships is an excellent way to give your business an extra push, but partnerships don’t have to be solely transactional. Networking can give you exposure and even lead to interviews or keynote speeches. Imagine yourself up there, talking it up about the lemonade business! Meeting other people in the industry can also help you get new ideas.
And there you have it! Stay tuned for more resources to come.