We’ve all said it before: “This is the year…”
We’ll get into great shape; we’ll write that novel; we’ll try something new; etc. Of course January starts off great, and February is okay. In March we get a little loose with our resolutions and by May everything is out the window.
Well, 2017 doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ve been yearning to take destiny into your own hands and open a business, the start of the New Year can be a great time to challenge yourself and accomplish that goal.
The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce is here to help. We can get your new business greater exposure, help you network with other noteworthy members, get your business involved in the local community, and provide special member benefits and discounts for a bevy of services that will help your new business succeed. Plus we are located in the City of Mission, which is a part of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA, the 5th largest MSA in Texas. With a booming regional population, you’re guaranteed to have plenty of growth opportunity and a steady stream of clientele.
So if you have the dream, the perseverance, and work ethic to turn your idea into a reality, then consider the following tips on how to get started this New Year. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.
1. Brainstorm an Idea
The first thing you’ll need to do to start a business is have an idea on what type of service or product you’ll provide customers. You might have something in mind already or just a faint idea of what direction it is you’d like to go. Don’t limit yourself by only being concerned with creating a groundbreaking idea.
The most important thing to consider right now is just that you need an idea to start focusing on. Also, recognize if there is a market for your product or service, as a novel idea doesn’t necessarily translate to success. Your business should provide customers a value that can’t be matched by other businesses. This might be one of the more challenging steps, but when you’ve resolved on what you want to do, take the leap.
2. Research the Market
At this step you’ll want to analyze the market for your business and decide whether or not you have a viable idea that can draw customers. Assess potential competitors and try to find out how they are selling their product. Your intent while evaluating competitors should be to find a gap to exploit or a niche manner to deliver your product in comparison to them.
During this time you’ll also want to research your potential customers to find how who they are and if there is demand for your product. This will help you to refine your business idea. Remember that even if it is a unique idea, without a market to sell to, you can’t be successful.
3. Develop a Business Plan
Your business plan is going to be your roadmap to success. A solid business plan should outline your long-term goals, objective, and day-to-day strategies. Try to make your goals as clear and defined as possible.
The key component of a business plan is going to be creating a framework on how your business will make money. Because you’ll need a business plan if you intend to get a loan, or even investments, you’ll need to prove that your product will be able to create revenue.
4. Utilize Strong Branding
Choosing a name and logo for your new company is one of the subtle aspects of successful business. When you think about some of the biggest companies currently around, you’ll probably think of corporations like Apple, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, or Starbucks. Their branding is easily recognizable and helps to set them apart from other brands.
While it’s understandable that you won’t have the same type of branding budget available to these huge businesses, it’s still just as important to have a great name and logo. It’ll be challenging to turn your small company into a highly respected one overnight, but good branding will definitely help. Consider getting some 3rd party assistance if possible. Their input and professionalism can make you appear big league even if you’ve just started.
5. Figure Out Startup Costs
Startup costs aren’t cheap. You’ll likely need funding to purchase inventory, develop your product, build your website, rent an office space, and even to obtain the necessary business permits. You’ll need to figure out exactly what it is you’ll need to get your business off the ground and take into account the costs of all those various things.
There are a number of options for funding a new company including your own personal savings, bank loans, investors, or even startup grants, like Mission EDC’s Ruby Red Ventures.
6. Decide on Your Business Structure
Prior to deciding on your business structure, you’ll likely want to consult a lawyer or an accountant for input (which is going to cost you some money as well). Your business structure affects the manner in which you pay taxes, and because your new startup must be registered with the government, you’ll want to have this vital piece in place early on.
Many freelancers and consultants start as a “sole trader,” while other options include registering as a limited company or a partnership. Again, talk to a professional prior to making this decision as it can save you tax costs in the long run.
7. Establishing an Online Reputation
In today’s tech savvy world, new businesses (really all businesses) need an online presence. Establishing your online reputation can be achieved with a strong website and a solid social media presence. Digital marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach out to potential customers and will likely help you to generate your first few clients.
Consider this as well. Most companies have an online presence, regardless if they created it themselves, or if customers have already mentioned them. Do yourself a favor and take the lead in establishing an online reputation so that you can control the direction of your company’s character—rather than by social media posts and reviews by others.
8. Refine Your Product
Even when you’re established and have a steady stream of clients, you’ll want to hone and refine your product to ensure that you can keep up with the demands of your customers. Provide online tools for them to provide you feedback so that you can tweak your service as necessary (and when feasible).
A strong product will keep your business healthy and an evolving product will help you to grow.
9. Keep the People Happy
A tough client can be challenging, but if they have vital insight that can help your business to grow, then take their “advice” into consideration. The truth is that without customers a company cannot grow and be successful. This means you’ll need to meet their needs and demands. While the customer may not always be right, they’ll always be a voice that can make or break your company.
Your Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce is with you every step of the way.
We know that starting a business is hard work, that’s why we work just as hard in the City of Mission to make sure your business has the support it needs to launch and grow effectively. We understand that our business community provides our residents a higher quality of life and so we want to make sure to support those businesses to help them fulfill their visions.
Wishing all of our members and the local Mission community a happy holiday season!