Got an itch to start a new business venture in 2023?
We’ve got just the guide for you!
Whether you’re looking to run an e-commerce store, sell coaching services, or start your own marketing agency, there are several steps you need to take to bring your dream to life.
The bad news?
Starting your own business takes more than just a good idea and a heap of motivation.
Becoming an entrepreneur means letting go of the engineer mindset and embracing the role of a true leader.
- Learning how to create processes that run on autopilot
- Knowing when to outsource or hire and when to take on a job yourself
- Understanding what makes you unique (and why customers should choose YOU over the competition)
- Getting to the core root of your audience’s pain points — and solving their problems better than anyone else
The good news?
Once you’ve hit that sweet spot between exceeding your audience’s expectations and automating your business, you’ll be on the road to creating your dream business.
Are you ready to make your business idea come to life?
Let’s discover how to do just that, step-by-step.
You have an idea … amazing! Now let’s get it down on paper.
Map out your entire idea, leaving no stone unturned. Don’t worry about what’s possible. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling — just write it all down.
Put the pieces together and look deep beneath your vision.
Think about it:
- Why do you want to create this business?
- How does your business idea align with your core desired feelings and life goals?
- How does your idea contribute to the greater good and the world at large?
- What would it look like to run your business full-time?
- What would your schedule be like?
- What would your responsibilities entail?
- How would your business operate?
- What are you going to sell and why?
- How are you going to market your business?
Next, consider your target audience. Who are you going to sell to and why? Why should they care about your new business? How can your business solve their problems and add value to their lives?
Which brings us to …
Finally, understand your perceived value.
Think about it:
- Why are you better than the competition? What do you offer that they don’t?
- What makes you special? What’s your secret magic sauce?
- How can you ensure a pristine customer experience?
- Which pain points do you solve better than anyone else? How? Why?
When you stop to analyze the brands you shop with most often, you can likely point to specific reasons you prefer shopping with them over their competitors.
In other words, you can point to the perceived value you hold about each company.
Even if you’re entering a competitive market, you can still gain loyal customers if you offer people something unique and special.
For example, Salarship has a lot of job vacancies and employment tips for minors on its website, which is quite rare among recruitment websites — giving it a distinct advantage.
Another value-add? Salarship boasts that it currently has 3,476,599 jobs available on its platform — a pretty impressive benefit for job searchers interested in a wide variety of opportunities.
Whether you offer same-day shipping or customized coffee subscription boxes from ethically sourced growers, get laser-clear on what makes you stand out.
Once you’re clear on your vision and your unique value propositions, it’s time to curate your offers.
If you’re going to sell services, such as graphic design services or coaching, focus on creating tiered packages and add-ons. List all of the services you’re going to offer and how much each one costs. You can also list any specials if applicable.
For instance, if you’re a keto diet coach, you might offer:
- Package 1: One nutrition coaching session per week.
- Package 2: Two nutrition coaching sessions per week.
- Package 3: Three nutrition coaching sessions per week and a custom workout plan.
- Add-ons: Super-slim in a weekend coaching sessions, custom personal training video sessions, and a-la-carte coaching services by the hour.
If you’re going to sell physical products like apparel or digital products like ebooks and courses, price each of your products. List all of the products you’re going to sell and consider creating product bundles, too.
You might also consider setting up a subscription service for customers interested in putting their purchases on autopilot each month.
By the end of this step, you should have:
- A list of the products, services, packages, and bundles you’re going to sell
- A price for each product, service, package, and bundle on your list (and whether you’re going to offer subscriptions)
- Discounts and specials if applicable
Important note: Be sure to conduct ample research before deciding on a pricing structure. You’ll need to account for fluctuating product costs, taxes, packaging, marketing, and (of course) your precious time!
Now that you’ve created a basic foundation, stay organized, professional, and on track by creating a formal business plan.
In your business plan, be sure to include your:
- Business name
- Target market and buyer personas
- Target market pain points and how you solve them
- Value proposition and competitive edge
- Business operating needs (see step four for more info)
- Business entity (see step five for more info)
- Organizational structure
- Products, services, and pricing
- Marketing plan (see step six for more info)
- Business budget, startup costs, operating costs, and financial goals
- Profit and loss projections
- Operational procedures and processes (see step seven for more info)
- Employment plan (see step eight for more info)
It’s important to make sure you have all of the necessary tools and equipment when starting a new business. Whatever business model you choose, you’ll likely need a mix of digital and physical tools to operate smoothly.
For instance, if you’re thinking of starting a business in the fleet industry, you’ll need to make sure your vehicles have video safety devices, dash cams, and the necessary permissions to stay compliant with state and industry regulations.
But you’ll also need back-office tech, such as fleet management software, route optimizers, and a shipping automation platform to keep each driver and delivery on track.
If you’re thinking of starting a marketing agency, on the other hand, you’ll need to make sure you have software in place to plan projects, run campaigns, and manage your customers.
You’ll also need scheduling tools, video conferencing software, and campaign-specific tools, such as graphic design programs and keyword planners.
In any case, start by outlining your daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly operations.
Next to each process, note what kind of physical or tech tool you’ll need to operate the process seamlessly. By the end of this exercise, you should have a complete list of tools you’ll need to run your business.
Time to make your business official!
Meet with a registered agent to determine the best business structure and legally register your business.
The business structure you choose will depend on your specific needs, liabilities, and the benefits you’re seeking.
For instance, if limited liability protection (which helps to minimize your personal liability) and a simplified tax structure are important to you, you might opt to form an LLC.
If you’re interested in having shareholders, you might decide to form a corporation.
After you’ve chosen an entity and registered your business, create the customer-facing side of your business.
Hire a designer to create your logo, brand colors, and brand elements — or use a free tool like Canva to create your own. If you work with in-person clients, you might also decide to print business cards and other hand-outs like brochures or service cards.
Next, hire a web developer to set up your website or use a website builder like Squarespace or Wix to create your own site.
Finally, set up your business socials, email account, email signature line, and LinkedIn profile.
How do you plan on getting your business in front of your ideal audience?
In this step, create a solid marketing or outreach plan that’s personalized to your business and unique goals.
To determine which marketing and outreach channels to focus on, consider your target customer.
For instance, if you run a small B2B service-based business, your ideal client probably frequents channels, such as email, LinkedIn, and Twitter most often. In this case, you’ll want to design a tailored plan for each channel.
That might mean, segmented cold outreach campaigns via email and consistent thought leadership content on Twitter and LinkedIn with calculated promo nudges.
Whatever the case may be, make sure you have a thorough plan by:
- Mapping out your goals and KPIs for each channel
- Highlighting how you plan on segmenting leads (Hint: lead scoring tools are your friend!)
- Choosing dedicated marketing channels based on target customer activity
- Creating targeted plans for each channel to hit specific goals and KPIs
- Finalizing your business marketing tools
Step seven is one of the most crucial steps as it'll help determine how efficiently your business will operate — so don’t skip this exercise!
In this step, be sure to:
- Refer to step four and review the operations and tools you allocated to run each of your business processes.
- Refer to the operational tools you chose and create automated workflows and streamlined processes.
- Pay special attention to streamlining customer-facing processes, such as shipping (if you sell products) and customer service operations.
It’s also important to have a well-established cybersecurity plan in place. For example, incorporating VPNs and a data center infrastructure (a space for servers and other computing hardware) can help you prevent security breaches and data leaks.
Creating a secure and cohesive operational flow like this doesn’t just make your business run faster and smoother, it also adds tremendous value to your brand should you decide to sell the company or bring on investors later.
If necessary, hire people to bring your vision to life!
When you’re just starting, that may just entail a virtual assistant and a freelancer or two. Or, you might need to invest in a quality employee lineup to take your business from ideation to fruition.
Before you start the hiring process, take a hard look at your business operations — what tasks can you (and should you) take on? Which activities should you outsource so you can focus on growing the business?
You can also perform a business test run without employees to see what it’s like to operate your business as a solopreneur. During your test run, be sure to note which tasks you absolutely need to outsource versus the ones you should lead yourself.
Finally, it’s time to launch your new business and tell the world about it.
Launch with an irresistible promo that hooks your ideal customers.
When possible, ease the barrier to entry by giving out freebies so prospects can try your product or service before officially investing in it. If your promo and/or freebie makes their lives better, you may have just landed a slew of loyal customers!
So, are you ready to make your business idea come to life in 2023?
Here’s a quick recap of the steps we shared today:
- Map out your idea
- Curate your offers
- Create a business plan
- Consider what your business will need to operate as best as possible
- Make it official
- Create a solid marketing and/or outreach plan
- Set up automated and streamlined business processes
- Hire a team, virtual assistant, and/or freelancers to help
That’s it for now, friends.
To your success!