If you’re interested in working for yourself instead of somebody else, starting your own business is an excellent option. Thanks to the internet, becoming an entrepreneur, and sharing your product with millions of people, has never been easier. That being said, you’ll still need the same grit, vision, and tenacity all entrepreneurs have needed throughout history in order to really make it. Here are six steps to getting started as an entrepreneur that will help you form a solid foundation for a successful business!
Find a mentor.
One step that’s often overlooked when it comes to getting started as an entrepreneur is the value of finding a business mentor. Being able to bounce ideas off someone more experienced than you will always have its merits, especially if you’re hoping to avoid common mistakes that new business owners might make. Doing a bit of research online on social networks like LinkedIn can help you connect with someone with a wealth of knowledge in a similar sector and give you the opportunity to really get things accomplished.
Secure some funding.
In order to launch a business, you’re going to need money. Whether that money comes out of your pocket, a loan from the Small Business Association, or through crowdfunding efforts on websites like Kickstarter, having money will allow you to make the right decisions for your business instead of making decisions purely based on the financial implications. At the very least, securing a line of business credit can serve as a safety net should you need it.
Pick a niche.
When you’re starting out, especially if you plan on selling goods, it’s best not to try and compete with big-box retailers or household names like Amazon. That being said, picking a category of goods that those websites do carry could allow you to outperform them by better serving your specific niche. For example, you may want to help others save money on their technology by offering refurbished electronics at a lower price than other businesses can offer. Especially if your refurbished electronics are properly tested and affordably priced, it’s easy to build a loyal customer base and positive word of mouth.
Focus on customer service as well as sales.
While sales are obviously important to make a living as an entrepreneur, it’s your customer service that should be just as important as your marketing strategy. Research shows that it is much more costly to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one, and customer service plays a large role in retention. As you look for ways to bolster your customer service efforts, it may be worth investigating different virtual call center solutions. The right features, such as omnichannel communication tools, can make a big difference in how easy it is for your customers to engage with you, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction.
Come up with strong branding.
While focusing on a specific niche can be helpful for building a name for yourself, it’s just as important to have strong branding to help associate customers with your company. Many people think of branding in terms of colors and logos, but word choice is an equally good area to focus on. Especially when it comes to social media feeds and email campaigns, knowing what tone of voice you’re likely to write copy in can further illustrate your brand to customers.
Make a financial plan for your business operations.
Many of the steps and tips on this list all require money, which is why having a financial plan is crucial to running a business. Knowing what your budgets are for marketing, inventory, and customer service can all help you run your company better. Particularly if you ever need to borrow money from one department to fund the efforts of another, having a clearly delineated financial plan will be worth its weight in gold.