It's difficult to start a business.
Yet starting a prosperous business has key fundamentals that can be learned from successful business owners.
- An overnight success is rare
- Failure happens a lot
- Success starts with a plan
Whether you're a brick and mortar shop or a blogger, you must think about the big picture to be profitable.
How to create a business that will be prosperous
1. Act like a business.
Decide if you are going to be a Sole Proprietor or become a Limited Liability Company.
Wow! We went from zero to one hundred! But this is imperative for your blogging business.
A sole proprietorship. SBA says, " as a person who is the exclusive owner of a business, entitled to keep all profits after tax has been paid but liable for all losses.
For example, you have been using a credit card to pay your bills. You haven't made any money to pay this credit card. The credit card company can come after your personal income or assets.
Personal assets include any savings you have, 401k, computers etc. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? If you have any assets or income of worth, I’d recommend becoming an LLC.
Whereas, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) protects your personal income and assets. Investopia says, "It as, a corporate structure whereby the members of the company cannot be held personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities. Limited liability companies are essentially hybrid entities that combine the characteristics of a corporation and a partnership or sole proprietorship."
Note, every state is different when you set-up your sole proprietorship or your LLC. Do your state research, find someone reliable to help you, and get it done.
2. Open up a business banking account.
Once you’ve decided your business route, SP or LLC, open up your business banking account! Why? Because you need to track your business finances separate from your personal finances
Do your research before you head to a bank. Banks often provide a gift for opening an account like blankets or even cash. CASH? Yes! Be wise and make a smart decision. Don't forget to bring the necessary documents to open an account like your ID and SSN, or your LLC's EIN.
Once the account is open, every business expense must go through this account.
Track and label the money coming into and out of your business as a Loan, Income, Revenue or distribution.
For more information, check these guys out! http://evolvedfinance.com/
3. Start your business plan.
To make real money, you need a business plan. A business plan is a guide to your financial success. It's not finite or written in stone. It helps you stick to a path or redefine what you want to do with your business.
The sound of a business plan sounds intimidating AF! Like anything that requires planning (birthday parties, vacations), it takes time and effort. But, once the planning is complete the results are awesome.
It may take you five minutes, or a week, and some of us it may even take months. Write down whatever you can and see what else comes to mind as you go through the process.
4. Decide what products or services you provide.
Services - tasks you complete for other people for a price
Products - physical goods or online goods you create and sell to people for a price
Write a brief description of what you’re offering and the business category it falls under. The more focused you are the better you will be able to make it in your category.
For example, if you are a hand lettering specialist, focus on hand lettering for restaurants. Or do a course on how to start your hand lettering business.
5. Develop a Marketing Strategy.
Okay, so this is a multi-step step. And requires a lot more work than the title suggests.
Define your Target Audience
Who do you want as a customer? How much money do they make? what do they like to do on their down time? where do they shop? What do they do for a living? Be specific! The broader your target audience, the harder it will be to get sales. Find out where they hang out. What their interests are. Where they currently get the service you provide.
Who are your competitors? What do they offer and what don’t they offer. Are their customers asking for more? Learn what it is and leverage it in your business. If they are only on Instagram, you’ll also tackle Pinterest.
Don’t undervalue yourself! Price it right and think about how many times you need to sell your product(s) a month to make income. Not any income but an income to support you and your lifestyle.
How will you get your products known? Do you have money for paid advertising? If not, what channels will you use to grow your brand organically? Pinterest and SEO are great places to start.
If you do have money for advertising, which channel will you use and is your website set-up to track paid media?
The key is to define the objective. Then create a strategy and devise tactics. Most importantly have clear goals to successfully measure your campaigns.
6. Budget and Finances!
I know. This part is the worst. Back in the day, I dreaded looking at my bank account. I would wait until the overdraft letter came in the mail to realize I got charged $25 for going over $1 in my bank account.
I should have said no to the croissant with my coffee!!
But it's in the past because these days my budget is my bitch!
Any successful business has this figured out! Don’t be afraid, tackle your budget with the right mindset. My approach is telling myself “this is going to be simple.”
Think about what you will need to run your day to day business. What tools, programs, and subscriptions will you need to become successful? What are there costs, and what are free alternatives you can use until you are successful?
Since you already have your business banking account and or LLC ready, this should be a lot easier to track.
7. Set Goals!
Let’s be real. This business isn’t going to be your whole entire life. You need to be you too! Write down personal and business goals for the first month, six months, and a year from now.
Because you have a website or a storefront you need to be realistic about getting customers. You need to think how you can reach people at the right time and at the right place and get them to convert.
If you have a blog, what are your goals in the first month? How many unique visits is achievable? Do you care about bounce rate? aHow many email subscribers can you get?
Once you set your goals, think about how you’re going to get there. What are the steps you need to take to get you 1k unique visits in the first month?
Ready? Set. Go!
Do you have your business plan in place? If you do please leave any advice below for people who are ready to take the plunge!