How to Start a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide 2021

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How to Start a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide 2021

 

Starting a new small business? Find out where to begin and how to achieve success.

  • You want to make sure you prepare thoroughly before starting a business, but realize that things will almost certainly go awry. To run a successful business, you must adapt to changing situations.
  • Conducting in-depth market research on your field and the demographics of your potential clientele is an important part of crafting a business plan. This involves running surveys, holding focus groups, and researching SEO and public data.
  • Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and get a following of people who are ready to jump when you open your doors for business.

Tasks like naming the business and creating a logo are obvious, but what about the less-heralded, equally important steps? Whether it's determining your business structure or crafting a detailed marketing strategy, the workload can quickly pile up. Rather than spinning your wheels and guessing at where to start, follow this 10-step checklist to transform your business from a lightbulb above your head to a real entity.

1. Refine your idea.

If you're thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell online, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. If you think your business can deliver something other companies don't (or deliver the same thing, only faster and cheaper), or you've got a solid idea and are ready to create a business plan. 

Define your "why."

"In the words of Simon Sinek, 'always start with why,'" Glenn Gutek, CEO of Awake Consulting and Coaching, told Business News Daily. "It is good to know why you are launching your business. In this process, it may be wise to differentiate between [whether] the business serves a personal why or a marketplace why. When your why is focused on meeting a need in the marketplace, the scope of your business will always be larger than a business that is designed to serve a personal need." 

Consider franchising.

Another option is to open a franchise of an established company. The concept, brand following and business model are already in place; all you need is a good location and the means to fund your operation.

Brainstorm your business name.

Regardless of which option you choose, it's vital to understand the reasoning behind your idea. Stephanie Desaulniers, owner of Business by Dezign and former director of operations and women's business programs at Covation Center, cautions entrepreneurs against writing a business plan or brainstorming a business name before nailing down the idea's value.

Clarify your target customers.

Desaulniers said too often people jump into launching their business without spending time to think about who their customers will be and why would want to buy from them or hire them.

"You need to clarify why you want to work with these customers – do you have a passion for making people's lives easier?" Desaulniers said. "Or enjoy creating art to bring color to their world? Identifying these answers helps clarify your mission. Third, you want to define how you will provide this value to your customers and how to communicate that value in a way that they are willing to pay." 

During the ideation phase, you need to iron out the major details. If the idea isn't something you're passionate about or if there's not a market for your creation, it might be time to brainstorm other ideas.

2. Write a business plan.

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