January 1, 2021

3 Steps to Launching Your Business

Being your own boss is exciting and intimidating. Here are some things to keep in mind before you dive into the world of entrepreneurship.

Adapting to the new normal has everyone considering working from home, and one of the most appealing ways to accomplish this is by opening your own business. You might have an awesome idea for a business that will truly make use of your talents, or maybe you’re tired of working for somebody else and you’re ready to be your own boss. No matter your reason, there are a few important things to keep in mind as you dive in. Buckle up, because I’m here to show you these 3 steps to launching your business.

Prerequisite - Brace Yourself For Adversity

Before you quit your full-time job and dive into these steps, you need to get into the right mindset. Brace yourself for the challenges and sacrifices that come along with owning and operating a business. Most new business owners don’t consider the time, financial, and mental health commitments they’re signing up for. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Mental Health: If this isn't on your priority list it should be. Owning a business requires a lot of thought and if your mind isn't right then your decisions won't be either.
  • Insurance: You're possibly walking away from a job that will provide you with benefits. Remember that when you own a business, you won’t have these benefits unless you opt into insurance.
  • Emergency Funds: Don’t you dare start a business without a rainy day fund. Every business has operating costs and if your bank account is at zero, you have zero business owning a business. 
  • Taxes: Income tax is not automatically withheld by the government, which makes filing taxes a bit different (and self-directed). You may need to seek out help with this if you don’t want to wade in yourself.

When opening a business, these are important things to think about.  Be honest with yourself, be ready to adapt to anything.

Step 1 - Research & Brainstorming

42% of small businesses fail because the market doesn’t need the services they offer. This and other common pitfalls can be avoided with basic research. There will be many things you don’t know, and you’ll need to search Google, read articles, watch videos, or ask people around you for answers. 

In order for you to be the most successful, you have to understand your job inside and out. People want to hire you because you are the expert. Here are two key considerations:

  • Who is in need of my services or talents?
  • Are there companies offering something similar?

Use this step in the process to become the expert in what you do. There are no wrong answers and no bad ideas. If you do not know what you're doing, then no one else will.

Step 2 - Formulate your business

Depending on what you are willing to do, starting a business might not require a lot of money. Why? If someone else is doing the work for you it will cost you money. If you do the work it will cost you less money. Here are the things you needs to do to form your business:

  • Write a business plan: the Small Business Administration has great resources on best practices for writing a business plan.
  • Choose Your business structure: You can form your business all by yourself. First, learn about the different business types and choose one that best fits you. Next, you’ll need to file with your state government. In Minnesota, you can get started with that here.
  • Licenses & Permits: Did you know that you can call your local government about anything? Did you know that sometimes you need a permit to offer some of your services? Neither did I. Make sure you research the license and permits needed to offer the services you have. Call your local government office if you have any specific questions.

Step 3 - Create Your Branding

Creating the brand is everyone's favorite step. You've done the back-end, now it's time to do the front-end work. 

A question I am constantly asked is What is a brand? A brand is simply the identity of an individual or business that people experience. Your brand is how you’re known, how you’re talked about, how you’re perceived. I always tell my clients If you want to make money, you need to spend money, and branding is one of those things I recommend you invest into. Here are the things you will need to begin:

  • Name: There are 26 letters in the alphabet and a plethora of name combinations. Which name will be successful? That’s the question I ask every client when they approach me. Your name is the #1 priority because it’s what people refer to you as.
  • Brand Logo: This is the symbol of your business. This will be the one thing everyone needs to recognize, so make it distinctive.
  • Business Cards: When you meet new people they may not remember you. Help them remember to hire you with an on-brand business card.
  • Website: If you want to be discovered, create something simple. Your website does not have to be complicated in the beginning. A single-page hub with all of the need-to-know info is all you really need to get started. Just focus on making sure your website has all the information needed for people to learn about your business.
  • Social Media: Another way to get discovered by potential clients is by having social media accounts. Quick tips: try to use the same name across all your accounts and make a few posts that talk about your services and knowledge.

Anyone who knows me, knows I believe in high quality branding. A couple of things to know about in the beginning is if you don't have the budgeting, make something that makes sense. After a few paid clients, invest in better branding. Remember, as important as your branding is, it will not sell your services on its own. It only makes your services look good, and draws in your audience.

Celebrate Your Success

At the end of the day, launching a business takes time and patience. It can go fast and it can go very slow. It all depends on your resources. You cannot quit your job one day and start building a business without some kind of plan. Be honest with yourself, and be ready to adapt to anything.

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