The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

  1. Evaluate yourself: 
    • What skills do you have?
    • Where does your passion lie?
    • Where is your area of expertise?
    • How much can you afford to spend, knowing that most businesses fail?
    • How much capital do you need?
    • What sort of lifestyle do you want to live?
    • Are you even ready to be an entrepreneur?
  2. Think of a business idea: Fix something that bugs you. Use the better, cheaper, faster approach.
  3. Do market research: Start researching your potential rivals or partners within the market.
  4. Get feedback: Let people interact with your product or service and see what their take is on it. A fresh set of eyes can help point out a problem you might have missed. Plus, these people will become your first brand advocates, especially if you listen to their input and they like the product.
  5. Make it official: Get all of the legal aspects out of the way early. That way, you don’t have to worry about someone taking your big idea, screwing you over in a partnership or suing you for something you never saw coming.
  6. Write your business plan: A business plan is a written description of how your business will evolve from when it starts to the finish product.
  7. Finance your business: Fund your startup yourself, start a crowdfunding campaign online.
  8. Develop your product or service: When you’re actually crafting the product, you should focus on two things: simplicity and quality. Your best option isn’t necessarily to make the cheapest product, even if it lowers manufacturing cost. Also, you need to make sure the product can grab someone’s attention quickly.
  9. Start building your team: Whether you need a partner, employee or freelancer, these three tips can help you find a good fit: State your goals clearly, establish a strong company culture.
  10. Find a location: This could mean an office or a store. Landlords are starting to offer shorter-term office rentals. Don’t get stuck in a long-term lease if it doesn’t make sense for your business. There are all sorts of places to use — co-working spaces, office business centers, sublets and more. Keep your options open.
  11. Start getting some sales: Start by identifying targets who want your product or service. Find early adopters of your business, grow your customer base or put out ads to find people who fit your business. Then, figure out the right sales funnel or strategy that can convert these leads into revenue.
  12. Grow your business: There are a million different ways to grow. You could acquire another business, start targeting a new market, expand your offerings and more. Have an email list and know how to use it.