Are you the person saying “I want to start a business but have no ideas? Do you need a simplified guide on how to start and manage your business? If yes, then you are at the right place. This article is a comprehensive guide for those who want to start a business but have no ideas.
Table of contents
- Develop the right mindset
- Develop a business idea
- Draft a business plan
- Register your business
- Look for capital
- Business structure
- Branding and marketing
- Launching your business
- Market research and feedback
- The bottom line
1. Develop the right mindset
Before you start a business, you need to have the right mindset. You need to ask yourself whether you are starting a business to get rich fast or for long-term benefits. Therefore, make up your mind early enough and decide the business trajectory you want to take.
A good mindset will keep you focused as you know the dynamics of starting and running a business. You will not be discouraged by failure or problems because you will know that it is a part of business management.
2. Develop a business idea
Developing a business idea is easy because there are many sources of business ideas. For instance, you can brainstorm and come up with an idea. You can also borrow an idea from someone. Possibly, you know someone who tried a successful business idea. You can approach them and ask them for guidance.
You can look for market gaps through market research. Researching the market helps you identify what competitors are offering and what is missing. Then, you can provide what you feel they have missed.
Market research could be done using the SWOT analysis framework. SWOT analysis looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing a business. If you do a SWOT analysis of your potential competitors, you will know their weaknesses. Then, you can take their shortcomings to be a potential business idea.
Here is a suggestion of popular business ideas for beginners.
- Consultancy services
- Pet services
- Real estate brokerage
- Graphics design
- Social media management
- Cleaning services
- Beauty and cosmetics business
3. Develop business plan
Once you have a business idea, you need a business plan to implement that idea. A business plan indicates the business objectives and the strategies for achieving them. Therefore, the plan must indicate your goals, the products or services you will offer, budget proposals, marketing plan, and business structure.
This plan is important because it is the roadmap for your business. Besides, it will be vital when sourcing capital from potential investors. You will convince investors to fund your business if you have a good business plan. Therefore, you should craft it professionally if you want to stay organized and successful.
4. Register your business
You need to register your business with the regulating authorities. In most countries, accredited government agents or regulatory bodies register businesses and charge a small fee. The registration process should be easy if you have all the supporting documents and have complied with the laws and regulations.
33.2 million ~ Number of small businesses registered in the United States as of 2023 (US Chamber of Commerce)
If you develop a unique business idea or brand name, you can patent it to protect your intellectual property rights. You can also apply for a trademark for your business to differentiate it from your competitors.
During the registration, you will be told about your tax obligations. The regulating authorities will have your business details in their records. They will use that information for tax purposes.
Once the registration is successful, you will be issued a trading or operating license. Now, you are ready to start your business.
5. Look for capital
You need capital to start a business. The amount of capital required depends on the size and nature of the business. If your business is small and localized, you can provide the initial capital without outside help.
You can borrow money or look for investors if you do not have enough capital. Investors will fund your business in exchange for ownership of a part of your business. In short, they will become shareholders and be entitled to a share of your profits.
You can also take a bank loan to finance your business. However, you should only take a loan if you know your business idea will have a good return on investment. Otherwise, you can ask your friends or family to fund your business.
6. Business structure
You need a business structure that matches your business idea. For instance, if you want to sell products or services online, you must design a website. You need to know how you will reach your potential customers.
The chosen business structure should be appropriate for your business idea. Common types of business structures include sole proprietorship and partnership. Decide if you want to run the business alone or if you need partners.
A sole proprietorship is a business structure where one person owns and runs the business. This business structure has no legal distinction between the business and the owner. Therefore, the owner will bear all the liabilities that the business will incur.
On the other hand, partnership entails collaboration between two or more individuals in running a business. The partners agree to be co-owners of the business. They contribute capital and manage the business together.
Here are the pros and cons of each business structure.
- No corporate business taxes
- You keep all the profits
- Easy to set up
- No annual reports or filings required
- No formal business structure
- Low operation costs
- Autonomy in decision-making
- Difficulties raising capital
- Unlimited liabilities
- Low access to credit
- May suffer from poor management
- Does not attract investors
- Less financial burden
- Additional knowledge from partners
- Less paperwork needed
- Shared workload
- Spare time to pursue other business opportunities
- You will split the profits
- No autonomy in decision-making
- You pay taxes individually
Your business location is a key determinant of success. Physical locations increase brand visibility. Customers get to know that your business is located in a certain place. They associate that location with your business.
However, you can decide to operate online. In such a case, you need to establish your online presence. You can create social media pages, a website, or a mobile app where you will offer your products and services. The online platform will be your business location.
You will need people to assist you in managing your business. Hiring will depend on the business size. A small business may require only a few employees. Then, you can hire more as the business expands.
The hiring process should be done correctly to ensure you attract the best talents in the market. Advertise the vacant positions and invite applicants. Then, select the best candidates based on merit and understanding of your business goals and vision.
9. Branding and marketing
You now have workers who can help you with branding and marketing. Branding is about creating your business identity in the market. Create a tagline, logo, or slogan that makes your business unique. Customers will associate your business with your unique brand.
It is easy to market a unique brand because you will have no competition. Marketing helps develop a relationship between the business and the customers. In so doing, the customers will likely identify with the whole brand and later buy products and services associated with your brand.
In this information age, digital marketing is very effective for new businesses. Use various digital platforms to sell your brand to potential customers. If you do it correctly, you will gain customers within days. If you maintain the early customers, they will help your business grow fast.
10. Launching your business
A formal business launch may be necessary because it will give you the much-needed publicity. This publicity will increase brand awareness and help you retain and attract new customers.
Business launches are the official steps of bringing the business to the market. The launch allows the owners to introduce their products and services to their customers formally. They get an opportunity to convince the customers why they should buy their products and services.
The launch should be publicized on social media or through local mainstream media. If you cannot afford to finance the launch event, you can partner with corporate or private investors in exchange for marketing their business during the launch.
You can also organize road shows where your team meets the people in their location. You get an opportunity to meet directly with your potential customers. In the past, many businesses relied on roadshows to popularize their brand because roadshows were effective marketing strategies.
You can also try the same strategy today. During the roadshows, give free samples and discounts to customers. Such actions will endear your brand to your customers and increase your customer base.
11. Market research and feedback
There is no resting just because you have set up your business. You have to monitor its performance constantly. Monitoring could be done concurrently with market research.
You can do market research through questionnaires or surveys. Give customers pre-designed questionnaires for them to fill. Then, conduct surveys through mobile phones or social media or send your agents to do it physically.
Once you get customer feedback, you need to act on it. Correct any complaints they may raise. Improve where necessary. Change the aspects that customers feel are not good for them.
In short, do exactly what the customers want. Most successful businesses are customer-centric because the customer is the king. Whatever the customers, he or she should get it.
The bottom line
Starting a business for dummies is not easy, but it is definitely possible. You need to know what you want, your goals, and what you have. Then, you can organize and start the business.
However, be careful with the type of business you want to start because some ideas are obsolete or practically impossible in the ever-changing contemporary markets. Just do your research correctly, plan everything, and you will succeed.