4 Key Steps to Take When Starting a Small Business

4 key steps to starting a business - according to financial experts

Thinking of starting a business this year? You’re in good company. Several industries in particular are predicted to experience growth this year. Fitness, digital events and conferences, home improvement and freelancer support, to name a few. As of right now, 99.7% of U.S. companies are categorized as small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees), according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

With the many changes and unexpected twists and turns of the pandemic, small business owners have been presented with both challenges and opportunities. Yes, so many things have changed when it comes to reaching customers and providing services. But it has also created a new wave of opportunities to improve products, services and the overall customer experience.

If you’ve dreamed of quitting your day job and becoming your own boss, here’s a guide with everything you need to know to get started, and how to jump on the latest trends and opportunities.

  1. Research your idea

If you already have an idea for a small business, you’re one step ahead of most. An idea is just a small seed, however. You will need a “growth plan” to make it successful. Ask yourself, is there a market for your idea? Does your product or service provide a solution to a real problem or challenge customers are currently facing? How large is your intended audience? What competitive advantage can your business provide over similar companies?

  1. Write a business plan

You have a good idea of what you want to offer and who you want to offer it to, now you need a business plan. A plan that will serve as a roadmap along the way. Make sure you include your vision; your concept and plans for the future. You will also need to detail your mission, pricing strategy, marketing and advertising and objectives. How will you measure success? Then detail the steps you’ll take to achieve them.

  1. Create a budget

The biggest concern and challenge for business owners today is cash flow. Whether you plan to start with minimal expenses as a lean startup or you’ve already saved capital to launch, you’ll need to estimate the costs. This will include startup costs and ongoing costs. Experts recommend that you want to keep costs as low as possible with the aim of turning a profit within the first 60 to 90 days in business.

  1. Create an online presence

Today, it’s important to go much further than registering your domain name and creating a website. Social media, blogging and email marketing play a huge role in reaching your audience and building a loyal customer base. You can use these tools to engage, educate and inform. Let your audience know what you’re up to, establish yourself as an expert and find out what challenges they’re up against. Find out where your customers live online and hangout there too.

All in all, focus on what you do best. Find out how to share your passion in a way that provides value to your audience. Then create a one-of-a-kind experience from first encounter to checkout that not only keeps them coming back, but also leads them to share your brand with their friends and family.

Michael Hollis is a Detroit native who has helped hundreds of business owners with their business loan solutions. He’s experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, accounting… But his favorite is the one he’s now doing — providing business funding for hard-working business owners across the country.