If you are looking to start your own business this year but don’t know where to begin, then you’re in the right place because, In this post, l will walk you through my 10-step process of taking that business idea and bringing it to life.
Also, this post is part of my Business Essentials series where we are going to be looking at all the essential components of building a business from scratch, and if you’re interested in building your own business, join me on this journey.
Before we begin, let me quickly walk you through the 10 steps and then we take them one by one.
Step 1: Determine your business idea
Step 2: Develop a business plan
Step 3: Validate your business idea
Step 4: Decide on your business name and structure
Step 5: Set up your business finances
Step 6: Set up your bookkeeping systems
Step 7: Prepare to commence operations
Step 8: Put your business online
Step 9: Build a system to bring in sales
Step 10: Build your team
Alright, let’s jump into it.
Step 1: Determine your business idea
The first thing to do before starting your business is to determine your business idea. This seems pretty obvious but sometimes I run into a lot of people who tell me they want to start a business, but they don’t have any idea what to do.
Before you can start a business, you need to have a clear idea of what your business will be. Your business idea can come from a problem or opportunity you’ve identified in your community or industry, a product or service you are passionate about or even a skill that you have or something you’re really good at, that you want to turn into a business.
I want you to take some time to brainstorm and do some research to determine what your business will offer and then decide on an idea.
In the subsequent post, I will actually talk about how to come up with viable business ideas and I have a free ebook called 101 Businesses you can start with little money.
Step 2: Develop a plan for your business
Developing a business plan before starting your business is important for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, a business plan helps you to clarify your business idea and determine if it is viable. Not all ideas are great for business.
It forces you to think through all aspects of your business, including who your target market is, how you’ll make money, marketing and sales strategies, what resources you’ll need to get started, how much you’ll need to spend, and so on.
This process can help you to identify potential challenges and come up with solutions before you even start your business.
In addition, a business plan can be a useful tool for communicating your vision to potential investors, partners, and employees as it can help you to secure funding and build a team that is aligned with your business goals.
Usually, when people think about business plans, they think about this long boring 30-page document that you need to develop but business plans can be as short as one page
For those just starting out, what I recommend is for you to develop a Business Model Canvas, which is a one-page visual document that helios you think about and figure out 9 of the most important key elements that make up a business.
I’ll leave a link to download a business model canvas template that you can check out now and we will do a deep dive in future videos
Step 3 – Validate your business idea
Once you have developed a basic plan for your business, the next thing you need to do is test out and validate your idea. The reason is that you to determine if there is actually a demand for your product or service. This can save you time, money, and resources that you would otherwise invest in a business that may not be successful.
There are a number of ways to validate your business idea, but in my opinion, the best way to validate your idea is to speak with your potential customer and test your product or service with a small group of people.
This process can help you to identify any potential issues or challenges with your business idea and make adjustments before you fully launch. Overall, validating your business idea is an essential step in the process of starting your own business, and it can help you to increase your chances of success in the long run.
Step 4 – Decide on your business name and structure
Obviously, your business needs a name. Now is a good time to figure out what you want to call your business. Ideally, you want to have a name that is unique, that people can search and find you by.
This is something a lot of people don’t consider when they are starting a business but if you’re really serious about your business, you’ll have to get it registered, which means you have to figure it out right from the beginning.
The most popular business structures to choose from are Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability and Partnerships.
Some of the factors you’ll need to consider in the process are what kind of ownership structure do you want your business to have? Do you want to own it alone or do you want to have investors? You also need to consider other things like taxes and liabilities to help you make the right decision.
Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to research and choose the one that best fits your needs.
Again, we will talk about all of these in detail in future posts.
Step 5 – Set up your business finances
One very common mistake people make when first starting their business is mixing personal funds with business funds.
And the reason why this is common is that usually, you’re initially financing your business with your personal savings so it may not even occur to you to separate this money from your business.
But if you want your business to be successful, you have to set up your business’s finances separately from your personal finances.
Here’s how to go about this:
If you have gone ahead and registered your business then you can open a separate business account in the name of your business.
However, if you haven’t registered the business yet, what I recommend is that you open a new personal account in your name but that account should be dedicated to your business and move any money you plan to start with into that account.
When you have registered your business, you can now open a bank account in the name of your business.
Step 6 – Set up your bookkeeping system
It is incredibly important to have a system for keeping track of your business expenses and other financial transactions.
This is another one of the most common mistakes that people make when they are starting their businesses. They start spending money on their business without keeping track of their expenses and it’s a mistake I myself have made in several of the businesses I’ve run in the past which were some of my biggest regrets.
Having a bookkeeping system allows you to keep accurate records of your income and expenses, which is essential for making informed decisions about the direction of your business.
It helps you know how much you’re bringing in and how much you are spending, which helps you know whether your business is doing well and if you’re making a profit or not.
There are lots of accounting software you can use to keep track of your business transactions but in the beginning, I recommend that you use something like Google Sheets, because this is much simpler to set up the beginning
Later as your business starts to get more established you can choose to upgrade to accounting software like Quickbooks Online.
Step 7 – Prepare to commence operations
At this point, you know what business you want to start, you have a plan, you’ve validated your idea and set up some of the essential stuff. It’s now time to prepare to commence operations. This could take many forms depending on what business you’re starting
If you are selling physical products, that could mean purchasing your first batch of inventory and setting up your store, whether physical or online
If you are making the products that you sell, this could mean getting any tools or equipment needed for your operations and setting everything up.
If you’ve gotten to this point, congratulations, you can consider your business launched
Step 8 – Put your business online
It’s important for people to be able to find you so you need to put your business online. Having an online presence allows you to reach a wider audience and expand your customer base. In today’s digital age, many people search for products and services online so having an online presence makes it easier for potential customers to find you.
It also helps you establish a brand, improve your reputation and build trust with your customers. In putting your business online, here’s what I recommend:
Set up an online business profile with Google. This used to be called Google My Business but now it’s just been integrated into google maps. When you do this, once someone searches your company name on google, it will show all your company’s details and contacts and they can find you.
Next, create social media profiles on all the networks that are most relevant to your industry. My company has profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter because that’s what is most relevant for us. For you, it could be TikTok or Pinterest or something else.
The next one is not really mandatory but, if you can, you should get a website for your business. Nowadays there are lots of services like Wix and Squarespace that lets you easily create websites.
Step 9 – Build a system to bring in sales
At this point, your business is launched and it’s time to bring in sales. You’ll have to figure out how to create awareness about your products and services and drive traffic to your business.
From this traffic, you have to figure out how to find the people that are actually interested in your business and then converting them into actual customers.
The system for doing all of this is called a sales funnel which we will talk about in the next few episodes.
And the actions you’ll take to bring in these customers are dependent on your business and the kind of customers you have.
If you run say an online shop one of the things you can do is use social media ads to get people to visit your Instagram page and see your products.
From there, some of them may show interest, contact you and buy from you.
My company uses a variety of different approaches to bring in customers. For instance, because we work a lot with farmers, we like to participate in activities where we can engage a lot of farmers and agribusinesses. Once you can build a system to consistently bring in customers and sales, then you are on your way to success
Step 10 – Build your team
Running a business can be overwhelming. In the beginning, you’ll be doing most of the work alone but as your business starts to grow, you may need to bring in people to help you with some of the different parts of the business otherwise you will start to burn out.
Identify which roles you can fill which will allow you time to focus on the things you can do best and bring in people to fill those roles. Even if you don’t have the funds to bring in new people, there is some stuff you can outsource to other people which can free up your time.
At Sesi Technologies, we currently outsource our accounting and our design works and it’s cheaper than hiring a full-time accountant and designer. This gives us the time to focus on our core business.
Great so now that you know all of these steps, I want to hear from you. What business are you trying to start? Which part of the process are you at? What are you currently struggling with? Tell me in the comments below and I will jump in and respond to each of you.
As I mentioned earlier, this post is part of a series I am working on and we’ll be looking at each of these 10 steps one by one so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter so you can get access to the rest of the posts.
Remember to stay organized and focused to build a successful and sustainable business. I wish you the best of luck as you enjoy the journey of entrepreneurship. Take care and catch you next time.