By Hannah Whittenly
Few people realize just how difficult it is to get a successful business off the ground until they experience it for themselves. Not only is this process extremely complicated, but potential risks and mishaps will be around every corner. Luckily, you can avoid many of the most common mistakes by spending extra time on the initial planning stages. Here is a look at five steps all entrepreneurs must take to launch a new venture.
1. Conduct Market Research
Your business plan is going to be absolutely vital to the success of your company, and you should be ready to spend quite a bit of time collecting and sorting information. Even smaller companies that do not require loans must still have a comprehensive business plan filled with information about the market. No matter how amazing your product or service might be, those who don’t have this type of information at their fingertips will have a very tough time creating a successful company.
2. Consider Franchises in Your Preferred Industry
Building a brand from the ground up is not an easy task. Not only is it more difficult to acquire funding for a fresh business, but you will not have a safety net when you run into problems. Buying into a franchise will allow an entrepreneur to bypass many of the biggest hurdles that take place when starting a business. There are many different types of franchises that you can consider, such as opening up a restaurant, starting a carpet cleaning business, or, even, selling insurance and representing a much bigger insurance firm. Whichever opportunity you choose, the franchise should offer you support from a core team who will attempt to do everything in their power to help you succeed. Without support from the top, it can be pretty impossible to run a franchise properly. Before you sign on with any established brand, do your research about it and ask those who already franchise with them about how they feel they are supported.
3. Explore Your Funding Options
Just because you have enough money to get your business off the ground does not mean that your search for funding is over. Business owners must continue to look for ways that they can acquire additional funding that will help them grow in the future. You must also have emergency funds in case any major disasters take place during the first few years. In addition to traditional business loans, you might also want to consider angel investors or investment groups. Many smaller organizations offer loans to promising entrepreneurs at very good rates if they believe in the product or service.
4. Research Your Insurance Needs
You must have a comprehensive insurance policy in place well before you think about opening your doors. Not only is insurance a legal requirement, but your policy will also be your first line of defense against most common accidents, injuries, and lawsuits. A traditional business policy should cover a variety of expenses such as repairs and replacements if your assets are damaged or stolen. The liability component of your policy will also provide you with financial stability in the event of a lawsuit taking place.
5. Hire Slowly and Deliberately
When it comes time to hire your first few employees, you must be absolutely sure about every candidate you bring into your company. Unlike larger corporations that can afford to have high turnover rates, smaller businesses might lose thousands of dollars if they have to let go of a single employee. During your first few years of business, your employees should be driven, eager, and ready to multitask. Instead of hiring them for hard skills such as programming, you might want to consider finding recruits who can learn while they are on the job. Many small business owners hire outside firms to take care of any specific hard skills they need.
Without support from family and friends, many business owners will find themselves struggling with ongoing stress and pressure that often feels impossible to overcome. As long as you remain healthy and positive, you will be able to tackle any issues that come your way during this process.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer from Sacramento, CA. Most of the time she loves to write about business and family. She regularly interviews small business owners from around the world about their business practices, products, and services.