4 Major Steps of Starting a Small Business

One surefire way to be your own boss is by starting a business. Being your own boss means flexibility in creating your hours, but it also holds a great deal of responsibility. Business owners are responsible for finalizing all company decisions and creating a work culture for employees to thrive. With these majorly important roles at play, the flexibility of setting a schedule that works best for them is still enticing. Knowing that success or failure is entirely on your shoulders is an exhilarating (but also terrifying) experience. The road to being a successful small business owner is full of countless steps, tests, late nights, triumphs, and setbacks. Before you start down that road – you need to start the business. With that said, here are the first four significant milestones of starting a small business.

1. Establish a Value-Adding Product

Creating a profitable business is more challenging if you don’t have a product that adds value to the customer. New products require multiple rounds of research, development, and testing – not to mention focus groups and lining up manufacturers and raw goods. You’ll also need to set price points, establish inventory controls, and decide on the packaging. Once complete with the product development side of the business, it is time to add value to your customer. Some examples of value-adding are personalizing the product, delivering fast shipping, or outstanding customer service. More importantly, your product should be solving a problem that customers face.

2. Find a Target Market

While deciding on the perfect value-adding product or service, think about the type of consumer that would buy it. Don’t get caught in the trap of believing that your product is for everyone, as that is one easy way to end up with full shelves and no customers. There are also plenty of websites that share target market data at no cost to you- the internet is your best friend in this stage. Once your research is complete, narrow down the specific qualities and interests that define someone who requires your product or service. Target markets should be detailed enough that you can create a single person that represents your ideal customer based on their age, income, interests, demographics, and location.

3. Handle Distribution

After establishing the what and who, it is ultimately time to figure out how to get your product to its destined buyers. There’s a variety of options for distributing products – from a brick-and-mortar store to creating your own e-commerce site to having your own website. If you have the time and space, shipping directly from your own hands is where you will make the most money. Although, with current day busy schedules, most people opt for making less money on their product for the benefit of letting wholesalers or distributors figure out distribution. It all depends on personal preference and how much time you have to spend investing in your business with multiple distribution options.

4. Create a Marketing Plan

This is the point where we come into play. If a life-changing product is available for purchase, but no one knows about it, does it really exist? Even the world’s most extraordinary products will fall flat if they can’t get their name out there. Social media is also an excellent tool to build brand awareness. An on-point marketing campaign can elevate a great product to “must-have” status. Options for how to advertise are plentiful. From full-blown TV campaigns to grassroots word of mouth or guerilla marketing, it’s essential to find the campaign that fits with your brand.

The road to running a successful small business can be challenging, but it is all worth it to start enjoying what you do every day. These four steps are not an all-inclusive guide but a rough sketch of the pieces needed to get your business headed in the right direction. Mapping out the business ownership process logistics is the best way to dig deeper and discover your brand’s purpose. Catalyst Momentum has all of your small business needs for more insight into how to start generating a marketing plan.