Nine steps you need to follow for a successful startup

Thinking about launching your own business? Read nine steps you need to follow for a successful startup.

Starting a business can feel like a minefield. There are so many things you need to think about – and so many potentially expensive mistakes you can make. To help you steer your startup to success, we’ve simplified some of the most important considerations into nine easy steps.

Nine steps you need to follow for a successful startup

So here they are, the nine simple steps you need to follow if you want to give your startup the greatest chance of success.

1) Set a goal

All businesses need a purpose or goal (above just making money). It’s important to define what the mission behind your business is. Do you want to make peoples’ live better? Or to solve a particular problem? Be really clear about exactly you want your business to achieve, beyond fulfilling your own needs and achieving financial security.

Aim to be a game changer, and create products and services that will set you apart from the rest. Be passionate about what you’re doing to make it a success – if you want to succeed and enjoy the journey you have to love and believe in what you do.

2) Know who you are and what you can do

An entrepreneur is naturally a creative person. So explore your skills and abilities because they will become your most important asset.

To get started, make a list of the things that you believe you are good at, such as “I love to read”, “I’m good with computers”, “I love teaching” or “I’m a good problem-solver”. Then make another list of the things you think you’re not good, at. For example, maybe you love to teach, but you don’t like kids that much.

Next, ask yourself what you like and don’t like about work, as well as behavior of the people around you. This exercise is a great ay of exploring not just your strengths and passions, but also defining what you don’t want to do – knowledge that is just as important in defining what you can do.

Once you have a good idea of your strengths, make sure you’re using them as much as possible in your business. And if your business requires skills that you don’t have, or don’t enjoy, consider whether the idea is right for you, or whether you can outsource those skills to others.

3) Choose your form of business ownership

One of the most important decisions to make about your company is its ownership structure, as this affects your company’s liabilities, financial situation and taxes.

So think about the kind of business you want to run, and how much control you want to have over it. Don’t worry if your business evolves over time; you can change your structure further down the line if you wish. Some of the structures you can choose from include:

  • Sole proprietorship.
  • Partnership.
  • Limited liability company.
  • Corporation.

Research each to explore which one would best suit your business.

4) Research your business

One essential step en-route to building a success business is some form of market research. Is there really a market for what you’re planning to offer? And if so, what do your customers really want? Will you have competition? What are their strengths and weaknesses? And how you can be different from them?

Here are some basic research questions you need to answer:

  • What product or service will I provide?
  • Is my idea feasible?
  • How will I protect my idea?
  • Is there a market for my product or service?
  • What skills do I need?
  • Who are my competitors?
  • What difference will I contribute to the market?
  • Do I have the financial capacity to own a business?

5) Write a business plan

Writing a business plan is an integral part of starting a business. The more time and effort you invest in creating a detailed and well-structured plan, the easier you’ll find it to make the right decisions for your business later on.

A business plan don’t just help you kickstart your business, it’ also helps keep you on track. u’re rewards you’ll reap later on – an to help give you direction and help your business become a success. It’s also vital if you want to secure financing for your business from banks and investors.

So what’s in a business plan? You can find plenty of different free templates online, but most contain the following elements:

  • An executive summary, which is a one page overview written after your business plan is finalised.
  • An introduction, where you can explain the purpose and objectives of going into business.
  • A marketing analysis, where you look at the industry you are planning to get involved in, and outline your strategy.
  • An operations plan, which explains how you’ll set up the business, its structure, location and regulations.
  • A management plan, which shows how you will manage such a business.
  • A financial plan, which refers on how you will finance the business, its costing and financial projections.

6) Secure funding

Small business funding (also known as a start-up financing) refers to the means by which a business owner obtains financing to fund a small business.

There are two ways you can secure financing for your business:

  1. Equity financing – the selling of ownership interests in exchange for capital.
  2. Debt financing – borrowing funds from banks, credit unions, home lenders, etc.

If you need funding to launch or expand your business, it’s important to carefully weigh up all options.

7) Ensure you’re legal

One often overlooked but essential step in launching a business is ensuring that you have covered off all your legal requirements.

If you have a business location, for example, you’ll need to make sure you have the right insurance, equipment permits and rates. It’s also essential that you are familiar with your health and safety obligations. And if you use vehicles for your business, it’s essential that you take the time to compare online automobile insurance quotes –  you need the peace of mind of the right cover, for the lowest price.

8) Start marketing

Once your business is up and running, you need a marketing plan. Some of the most popular marketing options open to small businesses include:

9) Get support

Starting a business can be a lonely journey – you don’t have managers to advise and guide you, or colleagues to share gripes and successes with. So it’s important that you build a support network.

One way can be by joining local networking or business support groups. It may time time to find one that clicks, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t come across your ideal network straight away.

If you can’t find an existing local group, consider starting your own. Just ask a couple of people you know locally if they’d like to meet up, and ask them each to ask a couple of people. You’ll be surprised at the talent and friendship you can uncover!

You can also join online business niche or support groups, or a business club, like our own Kickstart, that offers not just friendship and support on your business journey, but a wealth of invaluable tools and training to help you grow a business you love with confidence. (You can find out more about Kickstart here.)

Don’t give up on your business dreams!

Building a business can be a roller coaster ride, full of exciting highs and frustrating lows. And often the businesses who succeed in the long term don’t always have the best idea or the most talented people; they’re just run by entrepreneurs who refused to give up in the tough times.

So make sure you follow the steps to build a business with a great chance of becoming successful – them stick at it! Eventually you’ll reap the rewards of your hard work and commitment.