Crossing the start line and going from dreaming and planning to doing.
TAKING THE CHALLENGE
When it comes to starting your own business crossing the start line can be the easiest or the most difficult thing to do. Many people stay at the dreaming and planning stages for many different reasons. Each person is different, and it is difficult to say when the right time is to do it. Sometimes it takes a chance encounter, an incident, or anything really to trigger that sleeping giant. Once you finally decide to embark on this new challenge, what would be the things to consider before you do anything?
In the same way, a sportsperson needs to prepare for a tournament or game a business person needs to prepare as well. Staying on your feet and winning the game is the challenge. As every person is different in many ways, don’t take these as hard rules that need to be followed in the same order. Based on your studies and life experiences your journey may be different.
THE FIRST ROUND: PERFORM RESEARCH
Collect information about the field you’re going into. In addition to desk research, also talk to experienced professionals in the field you’re planning to enter.
What skills do you want to sell? Making an inventory of what you can do will help you build a portfolio later.
Check whether there is a market to sell your skills. Look out for competition in the market you want to enter. Think of ways that will make you unique from the competition.
- Identify Your Target Market
Once you identify the market you want to enter as a small business it is time to decide which market segments you want to focus on. In other words, find your niche.
Find a name and logo that inspires you. Don’t make it too complicated. Sometimes simple is better.
Clarify what products and services you’re going to ‘sell.’
- Understand the legal side
Choose your business structure and learn the obligations that are tied to the structure you have chosen. Things to consider are taxes, liabilities, control, capital, operations, licenses, permits, and regulations.
- Understand the financial side
Know your tax exposure and financial obligations.
- Have a solid picture of your personal financial situation
In addition to making sure you have funds to cover your personal finances, also prepare to cover the setup costs for your business and don’t take loans you can’t afford.
THE SECOND ROUND: ESTABLISH YOUR BUSINESS
Once you have the information on hand, now it’s time to make a plan with all the tasks you need to perform to establish your business.
Understand what you want out of your business and set measurable goals, who you want to be your dream clients; What type of customers you want, and determine to price for your portfolio.
For remote working, build your working spot at home or look for affordable working spaces.
- Formally organized as a business entity by registering your business
Register your business at the Chamber of Commerce.
- Open a business bank account
Separate personal and business expenses.
THE THIRD ROUND: CREATE AN ONLINE PRESENCE
Creating an online presence could be the most time-consuming if you plan to do it yourself. It takes time to learn the craft but it is also very rewarding when you have the final product you created.
- Build a High-Quality Portfolio Website
This may seem complicated, but it isn’t. Find which application you want to use to build your website, and buy your desired domain. Choose where you want to register and host your website and make sure they offer backups of your website, monitor any systems connected to your domains, and offer customer support.
- List and or create Examples of What You Can Deliver on Your Portfolio Site
Sketch the structure of what you think your website will be and make sure to include the portfolio that you made on round one.
THE FOURTH ROUND: LAUNCH YOUR BUSINESS
Being ready to launch could be the most exciting and the most scary time simultaneously. It’s very difficult to explain. And yes, you need a plan for the launch too.
- Launch and market your business effectively
Learn how to pitch and talk about your work.
- Thoughtfully Choose Your First Clients
Land that the first client.
THE FIFTH ROUND: STAY IN BUSINESS
Maybe the most challenging stage is making sure you have a continuously evolving pipeline of potential clients that turn into actual clients.
- Maintain an online presence
This not only means maintaining your website but also going to social media or being a guest on other platforms. Choose wisely the ones that are the most appropriate to use for your line of business.
- Correct and adapt by receiving feedback from clients
When you rely on a client portfolio, it is important to know your clients and keep them happy. Many people have issues receiving negative feedback but they are necessary to improve. There is a difference between malicious feedback and constructive criticism. These days people can’t differentiate between the two and that is a problem.
- Stay persistent when unexpected difficulties arise
Not panicking is a difficult thing to do.
- Maintain client relationships and boost your reputation
Keep in contact with your clients and make sure your work is what they expect. They will help you with positive word of mouth that will boost your reputation. Make sure it’s based on your work and talent and not based on drama and rumors because those will negatively impact your business in the long run. You may have all the attention but it is for the wrong reasons.
The five rounds mentioned above are based on the setup of a sole proprietorship. Other business structures may have more rounds as you may need the services of a notary, a lawyer, and or an accountant or the five rounds may take longer. It all depends on your individual circumstances. Just keep going. Never stop and never surrender. The value that you gain from having your own business is unmeasurable.
It’s choosing the break from the system of cubicle structure that is generated by the old style of university education. It generates employees who work hard to make a profit for small management teams that take most of the profit for themselves. Unfortunately, that is the set structure that most of us have to go through if we have financial obligations to comply with at home.
Entrepreneurship and critical thinking have not been taken seriously in higher education because they inspire and create independent business owners who may have a mind of their own.