Do you have a dream of running a successful business? Perhaps you have a fantastic idea for a product or service you want to offer the community. Maybe you’re thinking bigger and want to aim towards an international e-commerce site. Whatever your dreams are, you need to establish a business roadmap. This roadmap includes all the key points and stops along the way to help you reach your desired goals. There will be bumps and unforeseen events along the way, but if you have your roadmap, you’ll always end up back on track. Your map should include these 10 critical steps to business success, regardless of if you’re just starting off, have been running a company for years, or the potential venture is little more than a dream.
1. What’s Your Passion?
The first two steps are really the soul-searching steps. This is where you sit down and take a hard look at yourself in the mirror. For this step, what is your passion? Are you passionate about the product you want to create or the business you wish to run or are you simply in it for the money? There are many great ways to earn money, and yes, perhaps you’ll develop a passion for a business or line of work eventually. But here’s the thing. When starting your own business, there will be long hours and often little to no immediate gains to show for this invested time. You may not show a profit for years, and even then, it can be incredibly tough sailing. If it’s worth doing it isn’t going to be easy. If you don’t have a passion for what you’re going to do, sticking through the hard times just because you have visions of dollar signs in your eyes is extremely hard. Often, passion for your work is all you’ll have. So, if you have a passion for your dream and your potential business, you already have the first, crucial ingredient in the recipe for success.
2 . Do You Really Want to Run a Business?
The second part in the soul-searching steps is whether you really want to run a business. Running a business requires extreme dedication. If you have a family, you likely will not see them all that often as you build the company up. Even if you start the work at home, you’ll be spending most of your time in the home office or out at the coffee shop. Can you and your family handle this for years (if not longer)? And do you want the headache and stress of starting a business? It is incredibly rewarding to see your own idea blossom and grow into a successful company, but you may not experience this feeling right away. Are you alright with that? Can you put in the work, or are you hoping just for an instant success so you can sell it off and cash in? If you do really want to run a business, and are willing to put in the work it will take, then read on friend.
3. Surround Yourself with the Right People
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in starting a company is to only surround yourself with friends. Yes, you’ve known them for a while, but are they able to bring value to the table? If the answer is yes, then keep them on. If not, consider finding people who know the industry, who know the business and have experience in varying fields (such as sales, marketing, Web development and so on). These are essential skills to grow your business.
4. How Much Money Will It Take?
Before starting your business, do your research to determine how much money you need to start it up. Consider other companies that produce a similar product or offer a similar service. Whether you’re looking at printing t-shirts in the garage or creating websites in a small office, don’t leave a single stone unturned when establishing a needed budget and be completely honest with yourself. You need hard numbers as this is the kind of money you’ll need when looking for investors and asking the bank for a loan.
5. Baby Steps
As mentioned previously, opening a business is not an overnight process. Outside of a handful of work-at-home job types, it will take you months, if not years, to gather all the resources, establish a potential client base and establish yourself before it is possible to open doors to the public. Don’t shoot for the moon right away and then become discouraged if you miss. It takes baby steps. Focus on accomplishing something small. Write out a list, and look to accomplish a single item on the list one at a time. Create a business card, begin designing a website, look for possible leads and maybe even an office. You can’t build a house all at once. It takes one brick at a time. The same is true with your business. But every brick you lay brings you one brick closer to finally realizing your dreams and opening the business.
6. ABL (Always Be Learning)
It is easy to focus on a final goal and to block everyone else out. You know your product and service better than anyone else, so naturally, you know how to best run your company, right? In business, you need to always be open to learning from others, because there will always be someone else who has done something similar to you and others who have made mistakes you can learn from. Thankfully, there are all sorts of ways you can continue your education. First, you need to devote some time every single day to reading a book. Focus on books by individuals within your industry. You never know where a little gold nugget of information might come from. Take part in seminars, conferences and networking events in the area. While attending these events, remain open to what others have to say. Even if they are not in the same industry, they may provide you with beneficial information based on their own experience running a business. To be successful in business, you need to continue your learning. When you limit your entrepreneur educational opportunities, you limit your potential.
7. Build Your Reputation
It’s never too early to begin building your reputation. Even if you are months, if not years away from opening the doors on your own business, you can still begin building your reputation. Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can go about doing this.
First, you need to offer quality insights online through varying online mediums. A blog is an excellent start. Even if nobody reads your blog at first, update it at least once a week or so. Over time, people will stumble upon what you have to say. If you provide quality, insightful content, people will begin coming back. This is also where having a passion for your business idea is important. Writing blog posts continually on a subject matter you could care less about will quickly feel like pulling teeth and more of a chore than anything else. If you have a passion for it your readers will be able to tell.
Another option is to start a YouTube channel. Whether you’re providing how-to videos, reviewing products or offering tips and tricks, focus on the industry you’re pursuing and start shooting your videos. Again, make sure you provide quality content, and if you do, you’ll begin to see your online reputation build.
If you plan on running a local establishment, you can (and should) still run a blog and other online outreach mediums. However, consider volunteering your skills locally and help in the community. People will take notice (and it can, in turn, help you network).
8. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
You have a new business, so you need to market, market, market. However, you may also have a very small budget available for marketing. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities on social media, so make sure you have a strong social media presence (this is where building your online reputation beforehand really helps). If you’re a local business, consider more traditional forms of marketing as well, including print ads in the newspaper and direct mailers.
9. Stick with It
There likely will come a time where it seems like you just can’t do anything right. It’s not working out as you thought it would or other issues are coming up. Stick with it. Nearly every business has its struggles (especially early). If you have a dream, there is always a way to achieve it.
10. It’s Never Too Late
You’re never too old and it is never too late to begin your own business. If you are older, just look at the other jobs you’ve held as experience to help you along the way of your new business. Follow your goals! Good will come of it.
When striving to be successful in the world of business, you need a dream and you need dedication. Everything else fits in around it. The only person who can prevent you from opening a business and being successful is you. So, consider these 10 different steps and get going!
Which one of these steps is most crucial to the success of any business? Do you think any others belong on this list?