Fresh Thinking: Starting A Business From Scratch
Ideas can come out of nowhere, suddenly with a Eureka! Or they come through hard work, built like a sturdy cabin, log by log. In the best startup examples, they do both: the idea is a brilliant flash then improved through hard work. The "aha moment" never happens without a certain amount of groundwork. That's what this blog is about -creating a business that's both original and feasible.
Starting a business from scratch can be a long and difficult process that requires dedication, hard work and time. If you’re willing to put in the work, then I can help you learn how to build a business of your very own. I’ll go over everything you need to know about starting a business to help guide you on your path.
Ask Yourself Why You Want To Start A Business
Before you can learn how to start a business, you need to know why you’re doing it. Every business should begin with an idea and a purpose.
You have to ask yourself: why are you doing it? What's motivating you? Is it just the money, or something else? Is this the right time for you in your life to start a business, and why is it right? Is there something else keeping you from starting a business right now, and what would it take to get rid of that obstacle?
There are multiple answers as to why you might start a business, but you have to know yours. Some examples of a business “why” could be:
- To make a difference in the world/your community
- To help people reach their dreams
- To fight climate change
- To fulfill an unmet need
Once you know what motivates you and what you want, you can get started learning what it takes to start your own business.
Steps To Starting A Business From Scratch
- Choose an idea
The first step to starting a business is coming up with an idea. This can be anything you want it to be as long as it fulfills a real need, has the potential to make money, and fits your interests and skill set. To come up with the idea for your business, ask yourself what skills you have and whether you’re interested in the niche you’re considering.
- Do your research
To start your own business, you must perform market research to see whether your idea has the potential to turn into a successful business. Make sure there is demand for your product/service in your area and that there is not significant competition. This preliminary research will also help you get to know your customers and their needs.
- Write a business plan
Your business plan is your road map to success. The more detailed your plan, the more organized you will be as you begin your business. Your business plan which can also follow the idea of creating a startup should include descriptions of your product/services and how they benefit customers. It should also include market analysis and an analysis of other companies in competition with yours.
- Choose a business structure
The legal and financial protection you receive as the founder of your business depends on the structure of your business. The three most common structures are sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC) and corporation.
- Sole proprietorships require no formal filing with the state or federal government but leave you fully personally liable for any claims brought against your business.
- Limited liability companies offer protection from personal liability, but they require you to file articles of organization with the state or pay an annual fee for a registered agent service.
- Corporations are most appropriate for large companies or publicly traded businesses because they allow the owners to sell shares of stock to investors.
- Get the paperwork in order
There is a lot of paperwork to file when starting a business. You’ll need to register with the state and get a state and federal tax ID number, as well as pick up the necessary licenses and permits for your business. For example, if you run a food service business in Los Angeles, you’ll be subject to Los Angeles laws governing businesses in LA and food service businesses in general.
- Consider your costs
To get started on the path to raising money, figure out how much of it you’ll need. Start by making a list of the cost of all the physical supplies, professional services, and licenses or permits you’ll need. Try to determine how much money you’ll need to cover six months of operating expenses, as this will help you get off the ground so you can start making money.
- Acquire funding
Once you have a business plan and projected costs, start pursuing investors. Investors can come from friends and family, angel investors, business loans, grants or local funding. Open a private business account to conduct all business transactions separately from your personal ones.
- Get business insurance
Protect yourself and your business by insuring it against the many things that can go wrong. Businesses need general liability insurance, business income insurance, data breach coverage, and professional liability coverage. If you have a physical space, you may want commercial property insurance to pay for damages to your building or any equipment you have.
- Hire a team
You can’t do it all alone. When building a business from scratch, you need to assemble a team of people to help you manage the launch as well as the daily operations. Depending on the size of your business, you may need to hire roles such as graphic designers, social media managers, marketing agents, and IT professionals and reach your goals while supporting your team’s growth. You may also want a co-founder to help you run the business and manage the day-to-day requirements.
- Market your business
Once you're ready to launch your business, it's time to start getting the word out. You will need a brand logo and a consistent voice, tone, and messaging with all of your marketing. Hiring a marketing agency can help guide your efforts to establish a social media presence. Regardless if you sell online or not, it is vital to have a solid website for your business.
- Launch and grow
Now that you've done the footwork, the real work begins. After you launch, keep promoting your business and refining your product until it meets customers' needs. In order to beat out the competition, you'll need to keep investing time and money into staying ahead of market trends and looking for ways to scale up.
This is not an exhaustive list of what it takes to get a new business off the ground and gain traction, but it lays out the key points you'll need to consider as you put your business idea into action. Building a company requires passion and commitment, as you'll have to put in long hours with little to no payoff in the beginning stages. Those who don't have a genuine passion for what they're building won't last.
New business owners often lose entrepreneurship motivation after their initial burst of enthusiasm, which is why regular routines and habits are essential to maintaining productivity. Set yourself up for success and the path to building your own business will be much smoother.