Ultimate Tips For Entrepreneurs on How to Start a Business
How to start a business? This is a question thousands of people and entrepreneurs ask themselves every day.[toc] The dream of owning your own business is one shared by many. Some few dreamers actually succeed in creating their own business. Only a select few of those successful continue to own and grow a profitable business. Too many more fail within the first year.But, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible or that hard either, it’s just about selecting the right path from the beginning to make sure you don’t drain your emotional motivation out with a fail strategy. And even if you do fail, the last section of this post is about not giving up, success comes by trying hard. If it’s looking too easy then you’re doing something wrong.
For some people, starting a business requires little more than a winning product idea and a lot of luck. Most of them never find that luck, and so their businesses languish. For the rest of us, learning how to start a business is a long and arduous but enjoyable process. It requires hours of research and development before the first product or website can launch (but just the necessary amount of research in order to have an M.V.P.) .
What You’ll Learn About How To Start a Business
Throughout this page, you will learn how to start a business the right way. It all begins with the first step: business ideas. Your business ideas are the key to your eventual success. This is where most people begin learning how to start a business. They have an idea, and they want to put it into action, but they lack the means and the support to do so. Some people thrive in this kind of adversity, but most of us need a little more assurance. After all, starting a new business is no easy task. It takes a large amount of time and energy, not to mention money, and many of us simply can’t afford to dive into the deep end on a whim.
The second phase of learning how to start a business is research. Research ideas are just as important as business ideas, but they serve a more critical role. Without research, you will never know whether your product could be a success. This is the part where many fresh entrepreneurs falter and go back to their day jobs. Research will tell you how much money you will need to invest, how many people you will need to hire, what you will need to do to manufacture your product and a hundred other things you might not even think of when you first ask how to start a business.
The third phase is planning your business strategy. Your strategy includes everything from product development to hiring to manufacturing and advertising. When you first learn how to start a business, this is the most daunting step. You want to dive right in and drag your business into success, but the only thing you’ll accomplish without a business strategy is digging yourself into debt.
At this point, you will learn about the lean startup business strategy. A lean startup is an interesting new answer to the question of how to start a business. It turns business creation into a science instead of a luck-dependent art form. An amazing innovative approach to entrepreneurs on how to start a business.
After you know how to start a business, it will be time to take action. Secure with the information you gained from research and confident in your investments, put it all into action. Keep at it and don’t give up. This, above all else, is how to start a business.
Your Business Idea – Getting Inspired
If you spend time with business owners and entrepreneurs, you’ll quickly discover that there are two types of people. The first are the people who seem to be overflowing with ideas, brilliant ideas, and are forced to choose only one. They know how to start a business, they have their business ideas and they make it all seem effortless. The second type of person is far more common. These are the intelligent, hard working entrepreneurs who can’t seem to come up with a business idea to save themselves. They search and they struggle, but it never seems to come to them. Thankfully, there is a process these people can use as part of how to start a business.
“You could have a million ideas, but they’re all worthless if you don’t get them done.” – Lauren Amarante
The first step is to find your idea. Maybe you have a hobby that has a niche that can be filled. Maybe your experience in business has taught you about a gap that could use innovation. Maybe you can visit a university technology transfer office and partner up with someone who has ideas of their own. This last method is exceptional, because all you need is to know how to start a business and to work with others. For every person who knows how to start a business but lacks an idea, there’s another brimming with ideas and no way to put them to use.
The second step is knowing people. If you know the industry, you learn what they want and what they need. Perhaps more importantly, you learn what they have and what they don’t need more of. There are niches everywhere if you simply know how to look. Examine an industry and look to the most common complaints. Is there a product there you can create and market? Half of knowing how to start a business is buried in these kinds of research ideas. Opportunities go hand and hand with ideas
The third step is to constantly learn and constantly put the pieces together. Many brilliant business ideas come from that sudden epiphany connecting unrelated bits of information. Sometimes the result is ignorable. Sometimes it is laughable. Sometimes it is the winning idea that will make you millions. You’ll never have it if you don’t learn the component facts that led to it. The more you know, the more pieces you have to put together. Then you put your knowledge of how to start a business into practice with your new idea.
The fourth step is important, and many people miss it. You need to know how to start a business before you leap in and make one. You need to test your idea before you leap in and make a product to sell. An idea alone isn’t valuable. A proven, researched idea that stands up to scrutiny is solid gold. As part of knowing how to start a business, knowing how to test your product is key.
The fifth step is monitoring the market and watching for the right time. This is part of your business strategy, a key part of how to start a business. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a lean startup, you need the right timing. The best product in the world, released too early before the audience is ready, will fail. This is another key in learning how to start a business.
Research and Learn
When you’re learning how to start a business, you need to learn how to research your business ideas. By now, you should know how to come up with ideas, whether you’re the type to bask in constant epiphanies or the type to push them through with trial and error. Research is where you separate the good ideas from the ideas that will surely fail. What you’re looking for is a good idea that has an interested audience and little competition. That’s how to start a business the smart way.
Resources are very important when doing your research, for both market and competition size. These are some of the best tools I personally use when I research my project ideas:
Market Samurai – This is an amazing research tool that allows you to enter keywords and find out how many searches they got and how strong or weak is your competition. I plan on writing a complete post on how to efficiently use Market Samurai. You can see on the image below how i used Market Samurai to research ideas for entrepreneurial posts. You can download Market Samurai Here
Google Adwords Keyword Tool – This tool in combination with the previous one is by far the most helpful one I use when doing my research. It’s free an easy to use. Try google’s keyword tool here
When you’ve narrowed your business ideas down into a list of research ideas, you are ready to compare them to the four Cs of research. These Cs are the Company, the Customer, the Collaborator and the Competitor. Thinking about your business ideas in terms of these four Cs will help you create and refine a business strategy. As anyone who knows how to start a business can tell you, the business strategy is key.
C1: Company. Think of your idea in terms of the company you will create around it. What is the product or service? What are its main features? More importantly, think about the attitude of the company. When you decide how to start a business with the right attitude, you can go a long way. If your product markets to a younger generation, it might pay to be casual in attitude. If you’re marketing towards other businesses from the older generation, a more stoic and refined attitude is preferable.
C2: Customer. Think of your idea in terms of the people it will target. Who are the people who will purchase your product? Perhaps more importantly, who are the people who will influence that purchase? Who are the people, such as employees of a company, who will use the product but may not be the ones who bought it? Knowing the differences between these customers is part of how to start a business.
C3: Collaborator. When you think about how to start a business, do you picture going it alone? Chances are you will have to work with others. Others will certainly have an interest in your success. These are the people that may benefit indirectly from your product, and they can be an important factor in your success. You can’t forget collaborators when you think about how to start a business.
C4: Competitor. These are the people with products that fill the same or a similar niche as yours. These are the people who know how to start a business, who have created their own, and who are marketing to your audience. How close are they to your niche? How directly will they compete with you? Will your product face off against an established company with a huge budget? When you think about how to start a business, these are important concerns.
Now that you have thought about how to start a business centered on these four Cs, you have a better idea whether you will be able to form a lean startup or if your idea is a flop. Are you back to the drawing board, or are you ready to move on to the next step? When you’re learning how to start a business, you’re mostly learning how to make this critical judgment.
Planning your Business Strategy
There are dozens of different methods for planning your business strategy as part of dozens of how to start a business guides available online. Some of them claim more validity than others. Some of them guarantee success. The truth is, no one answer to the “how to start a business” question is better than another. You pick a strategy that works for you.
At this point, you have progressed through several key steps in your solution to how to start a business. You have an idea. You have the research to back it up. Now you have to decide how to put it into action. Here is one alternative.
Step 1: Create a vision statement. Stop asking yourself how to start a business and start asking what your business will accomplish. Will you become a household name? Will you solve a common problem? Set a goal.
Step 2: Set a mission statement. While they are commonly thought of as punch lines to jokes, a mission statement is a critical part of how to start a business. While your vision statement is your wildest dreams, your mission statement is the down to earth plan for success.
Step 3: SWOT. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis is another critical step in how to start a business, and it overlaps partially with the four Cs mentioned previously. You have run your business ideas and research ideas through analysis; now do the same for your potential company.
Step 4: Create a balanced scorecard. In the old days, how to start a business involved end of year guesswork based on annual performance reports. Today, you need to adapt much more quickly. A scorecard showing your financial status, customer status, internal processes and innovation can be a lifesaver. More importantly, it helps transition your business ideas into a business strategy.
Step 5: Goals. A key part of how to start a business is setting specific, achievable goals for every step of the way. Early on, they might be simple, like registering a trademark or creating a query letter. Later on, they may be more abstract, like achieving a percentage market share or user interest. Goals are critical for each step of the way.
Step 6: Map the whats and hows. What do you want to achieve? How can you achieve it? These are the goals and the steps you need to take to realize them. For example, how to start a business is the what, and the steps in this guide are the how. Break it down more and you have goals like setting a business strategy and solutions like this section.
Step 7: Set key performance indicators. KPIs are the most concrete part of how to start a business. These are easily measurable statistics you can monitor to indicate your success or lack thereof in the business world. For example, the number of sales per month, number of new followers per month and amount of profit per unit are all valid statistics. They can be measured and monitored.
If this business strategy doesn’t work for you, you can also continue and learn about the lean startup strategy as an alternative.
The Lean Startup Strategy – Continues Innovation for Entrepreneurs
The lean startup methodology is a scientific breakdown of every step you need to create and succeed as a startup. If you’re wondering how to start a business, you can’t go wrong with the lean method. Eric Ries wrote the Lean Startup Book. Which has been the key to my personal success online
The theory behind the lean startup business plan method is that plenty of people have good business ideas. They just don’t know how to start a business properly. They take their business ideas and work them into a product over the course of months or years. Then they try to introduce a product to consumers that had no idea it existed. Sometimes it will take, but most of the time the consumers pass it over. This is a lack of awareness and advertising, both key points in how to start a business.
“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” – Eric Rise
The lean method begins with a constant — but short — product development cycle. This is how to start a business intelligently. Create a small batch of product, offer it to a small batch of interested consumers and see what they say. Redesign it and repeat the process, addressing every concern that comes up. The key is to keep the batches small. That way you don’t waste resources manufacturing large runs of a product full of issues. You can bring your business ideas to life faster and with fewer issues with rapid prototype cycles. Get your minimum viable product (m.v.p.) ready and launch it as soon as possible.
Another key part of how to start a business with the lean method is the five whys. When you are producing an iteration of a product and the consumer has some issue with it, ask yourself why. Then, like a persistent toddler, continue asking why. Why doesn’t this child like this wagon? He cried. Why? It was frightening. Why? He didn’t know what it was. On and on, asking these questions digs to the root of the problem. Once you know what the problem is, you can research ideas to solve it.
The lean method of how to start a business is well publicized in several books. The minds behind it hold meetings around the world, which you are free to attend. They are an excellent and informative resource for those wondering how to start a business without wasting time and money.
Some businesses lend themselves to the five whys and the lean method more easily than others. If you’re wondering how to start a business where you sell a service rather than a product, remember that the batch prototyping can extend to training and methods to handle certain situations as well. Any time your service providers encounter something they can’t do, you can perform this business strategy analysis and determine if it is more valuable to you to continue not doing it or to offer the new service. Some services are more expensive than they are worth it to provide.
Of course, that is how to start a business around a new product or service. If you find in the course of your research that your product opens up a new niche for a new product, you can begin researching to provide that product as well. Successful entrepreneurs know how to start a business around new ideas even when their current businesses are still growing.
Eric Ries discusses the Lean Startup in this video:
At this point, you know how to start a business. You know how to pin down business ideas and turn those business ideas into research ideas. You know how to create a business strategy, whether it is a traditional business strategy or a lean startup strategy. You have all of the information in front of you, but do you truly know how to start a business?
” We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle
The problem that most people encounter at this stage of how to start a business is the willpower necessary to step forward. The determination to take the plunge. An untold number of brilliant ideas and amazing products languish in the minds of entrepreneurs who can’t bring themselves to step over the edge and dive into the business world.
When you start learning how to start a business, you begin with talking things over. You think about it at night. You obsess over it. The problem is you never take that first step. You don’t want to quit your day job. You don’t want to make an investment. You’re scared of the whole thing failing. Your fears may not be justified, but you still fear. What you need is behavioral changes, outside stimulus that helps push you in the right direction.
“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.” – Oprah Winfrey
The first good way to kick start behavioral change is talking to other business owners. Talk to people you know who own their own businesses. They know how to start a business. They took the plunge. Ask them about their success. Ask them how much their business is making. You might find yourself jealous of their success, feeling out of their league, even though you’re old friends. This helps push you to start your own business.
The second method to change your behavior is to change your environment. Try to hang around people who are ambitious, successful and driven. Try to cut down on the naysayers in your life. Surround yourself with people who know how to start a business and grow it to great success. They might not actively mentor you, but their attitude is infectious.
Shoot for the stars. Don’t waste your time worrying how to start a business around a product that will make you a couple hundred a month. Aim for something that will make you thousands in a week. As long as you aren’t driving yourself into debt to do so, you can ride on any amount of success. The higher your goals, the higher you land even if you undershoot them.
“Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb
Many people think about how to start a business and feel like there’s some driving force, creativity or ambition they lack. This might be true. The fact is, however, that you can train yourself to have that drive, that ambition and that creativity. You’ve already seen how to surpass creativity with business and research ideas. You’ve already seen how to replace ambition with the lean startup method. You know how to start a business. All you need to do is put that knowledge of how to start a business into practice. Take the plunge. You won’t regret it.
Don’t Give Up
You took the plunge. You learned how to start a business. You found your business ideas and turned those business ideas into a lean startup. You’re iterating your product and testing it with consumers. You’ve followed every bit of advice you can find about how to start a business. Yet try as you might, your product is failing to drum up the excitement and the success you feel it deserves. You’re beginning to regret trying.
“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost
This is the turning point. All your time spent learning how to start a business shines here. Sure, you had to learn how to create business ideas. You had to learn how to research ideas. You had to learn how to jump through all of the hoops necessary to start a business. All of that was easy compared to facing the reality that your product looks like a flop.
Just remember one thing. Everyone who knows how to start a business encounters failure. Every successful entrepreneur has been through the product cycles where no one is interested and the product fails. What do they do? They keep going. They push past the demoralizing failure. They ask why, and why, and why again until they reach the heart of the problem. Sometimes they research ideas to fix the problem. Sometimes they know how to start a business but not how to dig this product out of the hole and make it a success.
You have to make a choice. Do you keep working or do you let it go? Ask anyone who knows how to start a business. They will tell you to keep working at it. Never give up. You fear what happens when your product fails, but your product will only fail if you give up on it. You know how to start a business. You put in the time to research your product. You know the audience is there, if you can reach and interest them.
Think about everything you’ve failed to accomplish in your life. It might be a date you didn’t get. It might be a job that passed you over. It might be an exercise goal. No matter the objective, you failed, and what did you do? You gave up. If you hadn’t given up, you would have succeeded. This, above all else, is how to start a business. Never give up.
No matter how much your business feels like a failure, no matter how much your product is falling flat, you can turn it all around. The only true failure is when you give up. Ask anyone who knows how to start a business and they’ll tell you it’s demoralizing. It’s a phase every entrepreneur encounters. The moment separates the successful millionaires from the ex-owners with debt up to their eyeballs.
How do you make it over the hump? How do you recharge your morale? How do you put your knowledge of how to start a business to use, rather than let it languish? Talk to those who succeed. Watch videos of people doing the impossible. Realize that you, too, can do what you think is impossible. All you need is to never give up.
Conclusion – How to Start a Business
After reading everything on this page, you should know how to start a business. You know that the first step is tapping your creative potential, or the potential of partners, to create solid business ideas. You don’t need to be a creative genius and you don’t need to think of a product that is fully functional and perfectly adapted to the audience immediately. You simply need a place to start.
You know how to turn those business ideas into research ideas. You know that not every idea is a winner at the start. Some of them are best left behind. Some of them are winners. You know how to start a business around the winning ideas.
You know how to start a business around the lean startup idea. As a business strategy, it involves constant minor prototype iterations of your product. You know how to take a chunk of raw diamond that is your original idea and make small cuts to create brilliant facets the public will love.
By now, you may have confronted one of the two walls that every entrepreneur encounters. You’ve learned how to start a business, but you’ve hesitated taking the plunge. You’re unsure of yourself and you need the motivation to take that first step. On the other hand, maybe you’ve talked to someone successful who already knows how to start a business, and they nudged you off. Instead, you’ve reached the demoralizing wall where your diamond looks cloudy and no one seems interested.
As anyone who knows how to start a business will tell you, your motivation is the major deciding factor in your success or failure. Your business doesn’t fail and die on its own. It only fails when you give up on it and stop moving forward. You will encounter times when everything looks bleak and all your knowledge of how to start a business doesn’t comfort you. If you persevere, if you push past it and move on to the next phase, you will succeed. There is a niche for everything, and your research has shown you that your niche exists. Seize it and rise to success.
If you are able to learn these strategies and methods, you will be able to become the wealthy business owner that you’ve dreamed of being. It will take time and plenty of hard work. It won’t be an easy path to greatness. It takes more than a little luck to become the next Apple, but you never know what might happen. New companies pop up constantly, looking for a shot at greatness. There is room for you and your business as well.
Prepare. Do your research. Plan a strategy. Take the plunge. Monitor your success. Fight past failure. Ignore the doubters and surround yourself with confidence. Never give up. Know when to move on. That is how you start a business. If you need some inspiration take a look at these 25 young successful entrepreneurs and learn what they have been able to build.
Now share your comments below, I would love to hear from you.