I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say that the reason they don’t start a business is money. It is the number one answer I get when I ask people what their biggest setback is. I also can’t tell you how truly sad that makes me because I am a firm believer that everyone has the right to live a life that they own and do something that lights them up. Maybe a “real job”, as they say, does that for you, but if it doesn’t, money shouldn’t be what keeps you from taking steps to design your unique life because as my grandmother would say, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” (Sorry…I don’t condone skinning cats at all, but you get the point.)
So, here’s the deal. If there is a particular thing that you are passionate about and that you would love to be able to do every day instead of that nine to five “career” you have now, just start. Meet yourself where you are, and just do something. The good news is that starting a business isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever do. If it was, everyone would do it. (Is that good news??) The point I’m getting to with that is that there is so much planning and behind the scenes work that goes into planning a business well that there are tons of legitimately productive things you can accomplish right now without spending one red cent, and in the long run, you’ll be really glad you did them first. Bonus, some of them might even give you a leg up if you find yourself looking for a little help with capital later on.
Ashley, just tell me what to do already! Okay, okay, so there are literally so many little things, but here are some that I feel are the most important starting out…
Oh, just one more thing! I’ve also created a workbook to help you with all of these steps. You can download the Passion To Action Business Planner below.
Alright, here we go.
Develop a viable business idea.
It’s important to note the word viable here. Not just any idea will work, and some ideas work better than others. You want to at least make sure you have a market, and doing this step first gives you an opportunity to pivot and adjust right out of the gate instead of realizing you’re headed for a dead end after you’re in debt. You should also decide whether you will offer products, services, or a combination of both and if you’ll be digital, brick and mortar, or both. Any and all of these options are perfectly fine. You just need to decide which structure works for you. The workbook walks you through exploring your passions and brainstorming your idea from the ground up and helps you choose the one that is likely to have the best results for you.
Identify and profile your audience.
This step will be helpful in every aspect of planning your business as well as growing it, but it’s important to go ahead and think it through now because you can’t test the market for your business idea without knowing who that market is. This is a good time to follow this step all the way through, and please, whatever you do, don’t skip it or think you’ll get to it later. You will definitely wish that you hadn’t. Go ahead and also research holes in your market, audience pain points and your solutions, and your competition and what sets you apart. The workbook walks you through this as well.
Validate your idea.
Now that you know your audience and where they spend their time online, throw your idea out for some feedback. Ask a few people who represent your target audience to test your products and/or services and provide feedback. Remember to keep a level head here. Don’t take criticism personally and be sure you find the value in them and adjust your offerings accordingly. This is the best way to know that you are creating something your audience needs and wants and, most importantly, will buy!
Budget your startup.
Try to go ahead and plan for everything that you’ll need to invest in to start your business. You need to know what you’ll spend money on and where that money will come from. This will be different for everyone depending on the type of business they’re starting and the resources available to them. This is one of the steps that will be especially helpful to you in funding your venture down the road. It’s good to know from the beginning if you are going to need help from outside sources early in the process so that you can plan for how you will obtain those funds. The same resources may not work for everyone.
And hey, if you have any questions or tips about budgeting for your business and planning for funding, drop them in the comments below!
Write your business plan.
Now that you have a budget plan, you can get started on your business plan. This document well be used and will change throughout life of your business, but it is good to draft it early. Be first section you will write is your executive summary, and there is a page that will get you started in the planner. It also describes the other topics you should cover in your business plan. You’ll want to ultimately create a branded document for the full plan, but this will get the most important and tedious part out of the way.
Establish your processes.
Your life will be so much easier if you establish your processes early. Not only will this give you a standard to follow yourself, but if you bring on any help down the road, they will be able 2 jump into your way of doing things easily. This is also a good time to create any templates that you may need 4 customer service, content creation, Etc.
And hey, if all of that doesn’t keep you busy for a while (or even if it does), I also have some tips for getting your brand started without all the overhead too. You can check it out here.
I am just so excited for you to take this information and use it to make such a huge stride in building your dream business. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments, and definitely drop a comment to share your wins! I always love that, and hey, if you are picking up what I’m putting down and you want more, don’t forget to subscribe to the SLCtv channel and use this link to join the tribe!