Did you know that there are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S. alone? That makes up over 99.9% of all businesses according to the U.S. Small Business Administration! If you’re thinking about making the leap into entrepreneurship, now may be the perfect time. Before you get started, make sure you fully understand your market, have a great business plan, and can get the funding you need to tie it all together. Lucky for you we’ve created this perfect three-step plan to start you out on the right foot, and set you up for entrepreneurial success!
How Well Do You Know Your Market?
You’ve got a great, innovative business idea. Awesome! But who else is doing what you want to do? Make sure you’re conducting adequate market research to position your company in the best place possible. Remember, just because your idea is amazing doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t already tried it first. Start by researching your idea fully to see if it already exists. What does your target market look like? What are your customers’ pain points? How will your business solve those problems? If there are already other big names in your industry, how will your product or service improve on, or be different from, what they’re already providing? The great news about being second, third, or tenth to market is that you can learn from the mistakes of other companies that came before you. Stay focused on your target audience, and find out what they really want or need in a new product or service. Your research won’t stop once you sell your first product or service, either. Make sure you’re always listening to your customers, finding out what works for them and what doesn’t, and improving your product or service to match their needs. Stay adaptable to a changing marketplace by understanding the ever-changing buying habits of your customer base, and you cannot lose. (The Small Business Administration even has a free list of market research resources to help you out!)
Create a Brilliant Business Plan
A good business plan serves as the road-map for how you will structure, manage, and grow your business to success. This document should outline your process from conception to reality. Writing it out will help ensure that every aspect of your business model works. It will also serve as guide for your business as it grows and evolves. Check out how to write the best business plan here! Your business plan can take many different shapes, but the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends you include the following nine categories:
Finances and Funding
This is our favorite part! How will you fund your amazing new business venture? When you first start out, you can lean on family and friends for financial support. Self-funding, or bootstrapping, your business is a great way to build up your customer list while keeping costs low. You can also maintain complete control over your business and how the money is spent. But as your business grows, you’ll want to find more stable methods of funding so that you scale your business properly.
Crowdfunding is becoming a more and more popular choice, with small business owners securing capital through well thought out campaigns on Kickstarter. You may not raise all the funds you need, but if your campaign gets big enough, you might make more than you expect! You can reach out to venture capitalists if your business is growing at a high rate, but be prepared to give them a seat on your board of directors. The SBA has some great tips on searching for venture capital. You can also consider bringing on an angel investor, although less than 1% of all businesses are funded this way. Angel investors offer financial support and expertise in exchange for equity shares in your business, but they will also want decision-making powers, as well.
For a more traditional option, many business owners turn to term loans from a bank with a set repayment date and a fixed interest rate. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for business owners with little or poor credit history. That’s where a Merchant Cash Advance may be your best option! Short term funding from BizLender can provide you with the fast capital you need to rent a location, pay employees, or stock up on inventory. Whatever your business need, BizLender can get you the capital you need to make it happen.
If you follow these three steps you’ll be well on your way to running your own small business! This is an exciting and scary time, but with accurate market research, a detailed business plan, and a little funding, you can live the entrepreneurial dream. When you’re ready to take your business to the next level, check out BizLender online or call 855-433-8641. BizLender has been offering lending solutions since 2013, and emphasizes working smarter, not harder, by using technology to fund small businesses in as little as 24 hours.
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