Everyone wants to be their own boss and the best and surest way to do that is by starting a small business. Being a business owner means having the final say on all company decisions, creating a work culture for employees to thrive in, and setting a schedule that works best for you. Knowing that success or failure is entirely on your shoulders is an exhilarating (but also terrifying) experience. The road to being a successful business owner is filled with countless steps, tests, late nights, triumphs, and setbacks. But before you start down that road – you need to start the business.
Here are the first four major milestones of starting a small business
1. Establish a Product or Service
It’s hard to create a profitable business if you don’t have anything to offer. Deciding on a product to bring into the market is much more than just deciding whether or not to sell widgets. New products especially require multiple rounds of research, development, and testing – not to mention focus groups and lining up manufacturers and raw goods. You’ll also need to set price points, establish inventory controls, and decide on packaging.
2. Find a Target Market
While deciding on the perfect product or service, think about the type of person that would buy it. Don’t get caught in the trap of believing that your product is for everyone – that’s a sure-fire way to end up with full shelves and no customers. Narrow down the specific qualities and interests that define someone who has a need for your product or service. Target markets should be specific enough that you can create a single person that represents your ideal customer.
3. Handle Distribution
After establishing the what and to who, it’s time to figure out how to get the goods to the buyers. There’s a variety of different options when it comes to distributing products – from a brick and mortar store to e-commerce sites like Amazon or Etsy to having your own website. Map out the logistics of the buying process and the best way to manage inventory and storage.
4. Create a Marketing Plan
If a life-changing product is available for purchase but no one knows about it, does it really exist? Even the world’s most amazing products will fall flat if they can’t get their name out there. An on-point marketing campaign can elevate a great product to “must-have” status. Great marketing can even move subpar products and the options for how to advertise are plentiful. From full blown TV campaigns to grassroots word of mouth or guerilla marketing, it’s important to find the campaign that fits with your brand.
The road to running a successful business is challenging. These four steps are not an inclusive guide by any means, but a rough sketch of the of the pieces needed to get your business headed in the right direction. For more insight into how to start a small business, call Evolution Brands at 239.307.6087.