Dawn Lambros is asked constantly by all kinds of people, “what are the steps to starting a successful business”?
According to Dawn, the steps are not as hard as you may think. If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, but you’re just not sure of what you need to do, try following these 10 steps. If followed properly, they’re guaranteed to put you on the road to success!
1. Create a Life Plan: What do you want to be, do have when you grow up? While this may sound condescending, it’s not meant to be that way! If you want to start a business, make sure your heart is in it. It should be something you feel happy doing. Once you find that desired business, create a life plan around it (not to be confused with a business plan).
Think about the types of things that you love to do, even if it seems silly. You may enjoy simple home-based pleasures such as cooking or organizing shelving. Or, you may like outdoor activities like shopping, traveling or fine dining. Pay attention to the things you enjoy or love to do. In most cases, following your heart will reap bigger financial rewards than working at something you dislike. If you need help determining what you would like to pursue, get a career coach to assist you.
2. Choosing a Business Model: You’ve figured out what you enjoy, now it’s time to decide on how to proceed. Do you want a home-based business? Perhaps you’d rather have a physical brick-and-mortar type of store front? If that’s not your thing, maybe an online business with a website and e-Commerce is your thing. Maybe you like the idea of eBay or auction sites. Would you like to buy into a Franchise? Maybe you’d like to license a product you created. Maybe direct sales or multi-level marketing is your thing. Whatever it is, research the possibilities and pick the direction of what suits you best.
3. Create a Business Plan: This one usually freaks people out the most. They think it’s incredibly hard to write a business plan, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t. There are countless software applications and books out there to help you do this. If you have the funds, you can hire a plan writer to help you. In reality, a business plan is nothing more than an extensive sales plan. It is the “who, what, why, when, where, and how much” approach to writing. The thing people worry about the most is writing financial projections, but with a little research it isn’t hard at all. If I can do it anyone can!
4. Select a Business Structure:You’ve made it to this step and you’re ready to plan out the more logistical business aspect of your new start-up. The main four choices are: (a) sole proprietorship; (b) partnership (general partnership); (c) corporation; or (d) an LLC (Limited Liability Company). There are countless resources both online and in books to help you. Or make sure to ask your CPA, attorney or financial planner for assistance.
5. Creating/Defining Key Business Assets: Whether it’s your company name, a logo, an invention, or a product, it’s imperative that you protect what is rightfully yours. There are numerous ways to go about doing this. A great place to start is with a service like Legal Zoom, which is my favorite. They can help you with trademarks, copyrights, patents and much more. Or talk to your financial advisor for help.
6. Gathering the Funds: This can be one of the more challenging aspects of growing a business. Remember, any business you create will need some kind of funding. Your choices are: (a) bootstrapping (funding things with your own money); (b) obtaining a business loan; (c) receiving grants; (d) receiving help from friends and family (e) “Angel” investment (f) receiving money from venture capitalists. All of these have pros and cons. You will want to research each and every option carefully. Seek the advice of financial professionals.
7. Organizing Your Business Logistics: Getting all your “ducks in a row” may not be exciting but it’s critical if you wish to succeed in your business. This means handling things like (a) getting a good company CPA; (b) getting a business attorney lined up; (c) getting your company accounting books set up properly (like with QuickBooks, for example); (d) Getting your banking set up and in order, and (e) getting insurances in place if necessary. There may be other issues, but these are usually the most important things to organize and plan early on.
8. Create a Great Team of Winners: One of the most important components of any business is the team you bring in to the fold. It may not seem easy to do, but if you know where to look, there are always good people to be found. There all kinds of resources on how to meet and interview people. Whether you’re looking for business partners or employees, always look for top people to bring in. Learning psychology can help! Make sure to surround yourself with winners, as your company is only as good as the people who run it. When you find superstars, hang onto them long term! And if at all possible, try to seek out the leadership of a mentor, which is also invaluable.
9. Establishing Your Brand:Your company brand is about who you are. Your mission is to convey to potential customers how and why you’re different from your competition. Why should a buyer do business with you? What makes you stand apart from others?
10. Opening Your Doors for Business: It’s all about business planning, marketing and location. Find the winning formula and you will succeed! You will need to get familiar with: (a) how to conduct market research; (b) how to implement the proper business strategy; (c) learning successful marketing methods; and (d) creating marketing materials specific to your business. With a little dedication, education and some proper planning, it’s easier to start and grow a business than you may think.
Don’t let fear or frustration hold you back from achieving your goals. And remember these words from Colin Powell “A dream does not become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
Start your new business today! Ps. Looking for some great small business ideas? Why not purchase Dawn's 234-page ebook guide with resource links, “50 Great Money Making Ideas for Any Economy!” Located at the 50Greats.com website. Also available on Amazon.com!