Starting a business is the American Dream. We like to imagine ourselves as the passionate entrepreneur who is made of adamantium. The entrepreneur is like the super hero of the American Dream. The successful entrepreneur builds community and enriches people’s lives. You are that person inside. You have the drive but where do you put your energy? Where do you start?
It’s important to have a good plan for the road ahead. The fact is, nearly 500,000 businesses are started each year. Yet 50% of startup businesses will fail in the first five years. Nearly 90% of all businesses started fail. Only 10% of startups are successful each year. And successful is a relative term. But the desire to build is strong and you’ve landed on this page because you have it.
First of all, you want to decide whether you want to be a brick and mortar business or an online company. Brick and mortar will most cost more to start up and maintain. And you will still need a website or some kind of web presence.
Whichever you choose, make sure you know your niche. Before picking a product pick your niche. Find a need. Fill it.
The reality is that a business is useless unless it actually helps people. Many businesses fail because people believe the point is just to make money. It’s not. The point is to help people. And the money it makes helps everyone. If it doesn’t help people no one will come to spend money on your products and no one will want to work for you. In fact, studies show that businesses with a growth for the sake of growth attitude tend to fail as outlined by this Harvard study.
If you are able to maintain your business for more than five years, provide jobs and make an impact on your community, then you are actually doing better than 90% of startups. Of course you want to profit. But keeping realistic goals from the beginning will actually help you get there than beating yourself up after a year or two and not having made half a billion dollars.
One of the great benefits of the internet is that you can visit forums online or do keyword research and see what kind of problems people are trying to solve.
Getting all of your Ducks in a Row
Once you discover your niche and product it’s time to write a business plan. It’s best to write a plan by looking at your end goal and working backwards through time. Try to envision step by step how you will eat there. There are plenty of great resources out there so don’t be afraid to take a look at templates or guides online like this one
Next you want to write a funding plan. Make sure you know how you’re going to pay your bills and pay for all the startup costs of your business.
Register your business with the state. Make sure you understand the differences between a sole proprietorship, incorporation, LLC etc.
Hiring a mentor is one of the best investments you can make. Getting help from someone who has been in your shoes and succeeded is a huge advantage.
Design and build an easy-to-use website. Your website doesn’t have to be Facebook. In fact it really only should have as much as you need for effective customer acquisition. If you’re selling a product you want the focus of each page to be helping the person get the information they need to make the sale.
Use search engines to drive traffic to your site. And don’t forget to follow up with your customers and subscribers with email.
America startups employ half our private sector workers. Your choice to start a business is part of the great American tradition. Just remember these tips as you go forward on your venture:
•Find a need and fill it
•Write a business plan
•Make a funding plan
•Get a mentor
•Register your business