Millions of people dream of becoming entrepreneurs one day, and millions more already are. A recent report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found that almost 30 million Americans are starting or running a new business. If you hope to become one more person in that statistic, fear not: here’s a brief list of tasks you need to accomplish to become an entrepreneur yourself and start a small business.
1. Come Up With an Idea
Duh! You need a standout, unique idea to get the ball rolling. It needs to fill a gap that currently exists in your community, and hopefully, you’ll feel passionate enough about it to risk everything to get it going.
2. Consider Your Finances
One of the trickiest parts, the finances of starting a small business is never easy. Consider all your options, from personal savings to a small business loan provider. Think both long-term and short-term; after all, the financial decisions you make during this stage may impact your finances for the rest of your life, either positively or negatively.
3. Conduct Market Research
Identify your ideal audience and interview them. What do they like? What would make your business more appealing to them? What motivates them to invest in a product? You might be able to hire an outside company to help with this step, or you can conduct the research on your own. Either way, be sure you get a good sense of how people will respond to your business.
4. Write a Business Plan
Do your research into templates and other examples of business plans before starting. Consider your audience, your finances, and your goals — this document is supposed to explicitly define all these aspects of your business. A business plan is an essential step, and might even help you sell your business to potential investors down the road.
5. Register Your Business
Applications for business licenses are typically pretty cheap, luckily. But this is important paperwork for you to be allowed to legally operate in your city or state.
6. Connect With Your Community
Hit the ground running by joining up with your local Chamber of Commerce or industry guild. You’ll be able to network, get some tips and tricks as you begin, and hopefully, even make some new friends. Your community can help you out when times get tough and will connect you to new, local opportunities for your business.
Starting a small business and then running a new business is no simple task, but with preparation, guidance, and by following these steps, you’re sure to succeed!