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When you want to start your own business for the very first time, the last thing you should do is rush head-first into it. Instead, it pays off to make sure you get a few things right and take time to understand what you’re getting into. After all, running a business is never going to be easy and there are plenty of things that can go wrong if you don’t plan properly.

Sure, it’s tempting to get things started quickly when you’ve got a great idea. But failure to plan means planning to fail, and I’m sure that’s not what you want at all. When you take the time to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed with your business, it’ll pay dividends for you later. 

We’re going to discuss in more depth what you need to do before attempting to get your first business off the ground. Each of the points we’re about to talk about will stand you in good stead for lasting business success, so read on and make the most of them.

Consider Where Your Passions and Motivation Lie

First of all, you need to have a long, hard think about why this is something that you want to do. Understanding your own passions and motivations will help you make better decisions and decisions that allow you to remain true to yourself as you go about getting your first business off the ground. What is it that you want to achieve in business? What’s motivating you to start your own business as opposed to simply working for someone else’s? These are all questions that you should ideally have clear answers to.

Prepare While Continuing to Work

As you prepare to get your new business started, you should try to do this work and preparation while still doing your regular 9 to 5 job. A big mistake that many people make as they’re just starting a new business is thinking that they need to quit their day job and then start working on their business idea. In reality, that only leads to financial hardship. It makes much more sense to keep the money coming in for your regular job and work on your new business in parallel. And then when you’re sure the time is right, quit your day job and focus on the business.

Explore the Competition

If you know what kind of niche you want to enter with your new business, you should also take the time to explore the competition you’re going to be coming up against going forward. That way, you can realistically assess how challenging it’ll be for you to win customers as a new kid on the block. You’re not going to have it easy and competing against more established businesses is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in the first year of your startup’s existence.

Brainstorm

It’s a good idea to spend time brainstorming and coming up with ideas that you can carry forward when your business is off the ground. It’s best to be stocked up with ideas and concepts that you want to explore before the business has officially launched. You don’t want to be doing this stuff when the business is already operating because then it’s too late. You want to have some forward momentum and that’ll happen by already having these ideas in place. So spend some time brainstorming, ideally with some other people who can bounce ideas off.

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Prepare a Business Plan

Having a business plan in place is essential. Some new entrepreneurs overlook this and dismiss it as unimportant, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Preparing a business plan allows you to lend some structure to your planning. You can start to look at the risks, challenges and opportunities ahead of you. Throughout the process of preparing your business plan, you’ll find and realize new things that’ll be important to you as your business gets up and running. That’s why you should definitely dedicate some time to this.

Understand the Risks and Challenges Ahead of You

It’s important to know what you’re getting into by starting a new business. Because this is your first business, you won’t have experience of going through this, and as a result, research will be key. You’ll want to make sure you understand the risks that come with owning and running a business of your own. And you should also take steps to better understand what you’re going to experience as the owner of a startup. There’s no such thing as too much knowledge and understanding as an entrepreneur, and you shouldn’t forget that.

Get Rid of As Much Personal Debt as Possible

Taking a look at your personal finances before starting a small business is something that’s always wise to do. It’s best for you to put yourself in the most healthy possible financial position before you take the risk of starting a business. After all, you don’t yet know whether it’s going to succeed or fail. First and foremost, you should do what you can to clear as much of your personal debt as possible because this will help you as a business owner. Using a debt snowball calculator will make it easier for you to do this.

Develop an Understanding of Messaging

If you’re going to achieve lasting success with your business, you definitely need to understand the importance and value of good messaging. Communication with your target demographic will be key, not just when you’re business off the ground but for the long-term future too. In those early weeks and months, you’ll need to make sure that your messaging is allowing you to shape the narrative around your business and the first perceptions people have of it. Learn about branding, messaging and good communication in business.

Find Advisors and Mentors

When there are things that you’re not yet sure about, it pays off to speak to people who do. See if you can find any entrepreneurs who have been in the position that you’re in right now and get help and advice from them. These advisors and mentors will be able to tell you a lot about what you can expect when running your business and give you advice on how to avoid some of the mistakes that they themselves may have made. It’s always better to learn from someone else’s mistakes.

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Educate Yourself on Accounting and Business Finances

The financial side of managing your business is something else you’ll need to have a think about. Learning the basics of good accounting and how to manage a small business finances is certainly wise. You don’t want to put yourself in a position of failing to balance the books and having your new business fail as a consequence of that. Of course, hiring an accountant or using reliable accounting services is also an option to consider if you don’t want to do the work yourself.

Carry Out Plenty of Research

Carrying out basic research on how to manage a business and research into the market you’re looking to enter will be key. You need to understand what the market looks like right now and where any gaps are. If you can be the business that plugs those gaps and satisfied a customer demand that’s not currently being satisfied, you’ll be able to put your business in a very strong position going forward. And that all stems from good research and understanding of the market dynamics.

Understand the Legal Matters

It’s important to make sure that you set your business up in the right way. Choosing the right legal entity for your company is something for you to consider and should be guided by the options available in your local jurisdiction. Be sure to research the options and ensure you have a thorough understanding of what each of the options will mean for you and your business in legal terms moving forward. You might want to seek legal advice on this issue before moving forward with it.

Create a Funding Plan

Finally, you need to think about how your business is going to be funded. This is something that you can’t afford to cut corners on or leave until the last minute. All businesses have startup costs associated with them, but they can be kept low depending on how you go about starting the business and what kind of industry you’re entering. Nevertheless, it’s important to create some sort of funding plan so you can structure how you’re going to cover the costs associated with getting this new business off the ground.

As you can see, there are lots of things that need to be done before you go ahead and get your business off the ground. Each of the steps that we’ve discussed above will help you on your journey to launching and sustaining a successful business in your chosen niche, so make sure you tick all of these boxes.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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