First of all, congratulations!!! Coming up with a business idea is an achievement in itself. Personally I was trying to find something I could do for about 3 years before the right idea hit. I had written business plans, registered web domains and researched researched researched. But ultimately it didn’t feel right. And then the idea for what was to become Mix Savvy struck and I knew it was a great fit. So again, congratulations! And welcome to the world of entrepreneurship!

Secondly, be prepared for your idea to grow and mould as you go through the process of setting it up. The more you learn the more ideas you might have into how you can create the best version of your idea.

Here you’ll find 10 Steps to Getting your Business Started. I’ve intentionally kept this list nice and streamlined so you can focus on what is the most important. Then in addition I have created TWO free downloads for you. The first is a larger Checklist which gives you more items which you might want to consider when getting your idea off the ground. The second is a 2 Page Business Plan Template which I’ll talk about in more detail in Step 6 Below. Click here to get your Business Plan Template and here for your Ultimate Startup Checklist (no email address required)

So let’s get into it!

Step 1: How much Time can you Dedicate to your Idea?

This question isn’t here at the beginning to be a downer. It is here to be realistic. A business takes time to build and a lot of dedication. However, if you can only even find a couple of hours a week to work on it in the beginning. Start with that! It just might take longer to get to Launch. Think about the other priorities in your life. What can you let go? Where can you ask for help? Are there pockets of time you can find in your day?

A business is a daunting endevour. And the best way to make it undaunting (I think I just made that word up!) is to face it head on and find strategies to help fit it in your life. Get out your calendar or weekly planner and schedule times where you can “work” on it. And by “work” I mean fun because if you are passionate and excited by your idea it shouldn’t feel like work…. most of the time.

Step 2: Do Your Research

Google is your friend for this one. Have a look at others who have similar ideas and see what they do with it. What products and/or services do they offer? Who do they seem to be targeting? What do they push as their key selling point?

Talk about the idea with trusted friends… or even strangers in online communities. Anyone who could potentially understand your business or could be a potential customer. What do they think of it? What do they think you could do better?

BONUS POINTS: Define how you see yourself fitting within the market. Is there a big gap that you can fill? Or a need that is not currently being met?

Step 3: Define your Product

And by product this could be a physical product, a service you offer or an online business like a blog. What is it that you will do and how will you do it better?

BONUS POINTS: How will you sell it? Online or Offline?

Step 4: Identify your Target Market

If there was one step I would say not to skip it is this one. This is the MOST IMPORTANT. If there is no one who is interested in what you are offering, no matter how great you think it is, then you will struggle. Pick a target market whether it is a business or a person. Who are they? What do they want? Where are they? What is important to them?  What will make them buy?

Check out this Post for more on how you can do this.

Step 5: Find your Why

This is why people will buy from you. This is what your brand represents. Why is it important to you AND your target market to solve X problem?

BONUS POINTS: Find your How. How will you do this better than anyone else?

Step 6: Create a Business Plan

Now unless you are trying to get investors or funding from a bank I don’t believe it is necessary to create a comprehensive business plan. However, I do believe it is useful to create a brief plan to give yourself an overview of what to achieve. I’ve put it at this stage in the process as by now you have done your research and have Found your Fit. That’s not to say things won’t change as you move forward but this will provide a great reference point for things going forward.

To make things easy for you I have created a FREE template for you to create a simple 2 Page Business Plan and help clarify your ideas.

BONUS POINTS: Create your “Elevator Pitch” – this is your answer to the question “What do you do?” and the idea is that you can answer it within the length of time of an elevator ride. So not very long! Just a few sentences covering what you do, for whom and why.

Step 7: Decide on Your Name

Maybe you’ve had a name idea all along or you are just happy to go with your own name as the business name. If that’s you… well done!! For me, it took weeks!!

There are a few things you need to consider:
– Business Name Availability in your State/Province/County/Country
– Domain Name Availability (ideally you’d want a .com or your countries unique identifier)
– Social Media Name Availability (even if you don’t intend on using it straight away, it might be good to reserve these just in case).
– Is it Easy to Say?
– Is it Memorable?

If you are still stuck write out a list of words that describe what you are trying to do and also how you are trying to do it or what will differentiate you. Then go to thesaurus.com and enter each of these words and write down any synonyms that strike out to you. Mix and match until you find something you like and meets the above criteria.

Step 8: Identify your Brand

This is about translating your Why from Step 5 above and what makes you great. If your business was a person, what personality would they have? List out your ideas.
From there you can come up with a logo, colours, fonts and graphics that fit that feel.
It is also what you will refer to to try to bring across in every contact point you have with your customers and potential customers.

Step 9: Create your Website

This is a daunting step but doesn’t need to be difficult. Lots of tips coming up in this blog soon so watch this space!

However, if you feel like it is just too much don’t be scared to outsource this one.

Just ensure that you set out with an intention in mind for your site. What is it’s purpose? Is it to sell or just to inform? Is it as a community for your audience?
What are your goals for it- do you want to get people to subscribe to your mailing list? Or ask for a quote?

Step 10: Define your Goals

Where do you want the business to ultimately go? What is it’s purpose in your life? Is it so you can work from wherever and whenever you want? Is it so you have full control? Is it simply just to make money out of something you enjoy doing? How much will you want the business to earn for you to feel like it is a success? Is it to serve a higher purpose?

This is important to define from the beginning so that in everything you do you can define whether something you are doing supports this vision.

Now the tricky part is to make this actionable. It may seem impossible. So start with smaller goals that are heading in this direction. Where do you want to be in a year? Then break that down even further to quarterly and even monthly goals for that first year.

 

NOW THAT I HAVE SAID ALL THAT…
YOU MIGHT NOT NEED TO DO IT!

Some businesses’ don’t. This might be something you are already doing as a hobby or a passion and word is already getting around. I definitely know of businesses who grew just from the networking you do. If this is you, all you might need is a name and some business cards that you can hand out or ask people to pass on for you! Or maybe it’s just an Etsy store. Sometimes the best way of doing something is just by doing it and learning along the way! Then as you go you might check off some of these things off your list naturally.

But for me, I definitely needed a plan. And if you are in any way uncertain or don’t even know where to begin start with the 10 steps above.

 

In the following months on Mix Savvy I will be covering each of these points in more detail so keep an eye out and if you are not already, subscribe to my regular emails so you’ll be the first to hear.

So that’s it! 10 Steps to getting your Business Started!!

I’d love to hear more about the ideas you have and any questions you might have, so please go ahead and add a comment below.