Article by: Chelsea Lamb
You dream of being your own boss. You want flexible hours, creative control, and freedom to grow as you envision. It’s true: There’s no other career path quite like entrepreneurship.
But if you want to set yourself up for long-term success, you’ll need more than a good idea. You’ll need to think like a businessperson, create a detailed plan, and take care of all the necessary legal and financial tasks. You’ll also need to develop an exceptional brand and reputation and learn how to market your company.
There’s a lot to entrepreneurship. But if you’re ready to work hard and commit to the long haul, it just might be the path for you. Check out these strategies from Mark Zarr for getting off to a strong start!
Brainstorm Promising Ideas
All successful businesses begin with an exceptional idea. List all of your interests, skills, and areas of expertise, and start brainstorming business ideas that accommodate them.
Depending on your aspirations, you’ll need to research the local market, global market, or both. Remember that you’ll be hard-pressed to grow a company that doesn’t offer consumers something unique, whether that means filling a gap in the local market or selling a unique product through an online store.
Sharpen Your Skills
You’ll wear many hats as a business owner. You’ll need to be the best at your specialty while also showing a knack for general business practices. You can learn a lot by reading books, attending workshops and seminars, and pursuing other self-teaching methods.
Another way to improve your skills and knowledge is to go to college. You can achieve a business-related master’s degree at your own pace by enrolling in an online program. A flexible schedule will allow you to keep up with family responsibilities, a full-time job, and other commitments as you build your company. Look for an accredited online university with competitive tuition rates.
Write a Business Plan
Having a great idea is the first step to starting a company, but you must put it into a business plan to build upon it. Too many entrepreneurs rush through this process or neglect to create a business plan altogether, only to find themselves lacking direction when they face intense challenges. A good business plan will help you make intelligent decisions, win over investors, and set the path for long-term growth.
Tackle the Legal and Financial Necessities
Most entrepreneurs are not crazy about this part of the startup process, but it’s essential to set your business on solid legal and financial ground. Otherwise, you can experience all kinds of issues in the future, some of which may cripple your company.
Choose a legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.) that will cover your needs. And create a detailed budget, including your startup expenses, growth initiatives, marketing strategies, and emergency savings. Once you have an idea of how much money you’ll need for the first several years, start shopping for funding from investors or looking for small business loans and grants.
Create a Brand
You’ll likely have a business name by the time you establish a legal structure. But you also need to develop the rest of your branding, including your logo, typography, color scheme, designs, and other elements to use on your online and offline promotional materials. Unless you have a lot of experience in branding, consider working with a professional like Mark Zarr to achieve an attractive brand that sets you apart from the competition!
Build a Website
With solid branding in place, it’s time to build a website that will essentially serve as the hub of all your marketing efforts. Your website should be pleasing to the eye and give your target audience all the information they need about your company. The site should also be easy to navigate, and if you sell products or services online, customers should have plenty of quick and easy payment options.
Furthermore, consider your site’s content. Maintaining a regular blog with SEO-friendly, industry-related content can go a long way in establishing your business as an expert while also guiding customers along the buyer’s journey. And it’s important to have images, videos, and other visual elements to keep users engaged.
Promote Your Brand
You’ve established your branding and website. The next step is to start promoting your brand to your target audience and beyond. Today, there are countless ways to advertise your business and garner interest in your brand.
Encourage website users to provide their email addresses so you can send them special offers and important announcements and information about your company. Engage on all the social media platforms relevant to your industry, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.
Also, invest in optimizing your website content for SEO, which will help your business rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). If you’re catering to a local market, invest in local advertising and grow your professional network in the area.
It’s true that owning a business can give you more flexibility, freedom, and control. But it’s also very challenging to achieve long-term success.
If you have a mind for business, a great idea, and resilience, you can position yourself to flourish by implementing the right strategies and making intelligent decisions. Consult the tips above to get started and never stop learning how to improve as an entrepreneur!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chelsea Lamb has spent the last eight years honing her tech skills and is the resident tech specialist at Business Pop. Her goal is to demystify some of the technical aspects of business ownership.