How to Start a Business: 5 Tips for Launching Your First Company

As of 2015, there are over 27 million entrepreneurs in the United States.

While starting your own business can seem intimidating, there are plenty of benefits to be had. These range from bringing in more money, creating your own schedule, and having the satisfaction of working for yourself.

But, if you want to run your own company, there are some things you’ll have to keep in mind before you get things up and running.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about how to start a business.

1. Know Your Audience

Precision is an important concept in nearly every facet of life. You wouldn’t take a shot in a game of basketball without aiming. 

“Taking aim,” so to speak, is especially important when it comes to starting a business. If you don’t know exactly who you’re trying to target, you’re going to have a difficult time reaching them.

Therefore, you need to establish your target audience as thoroughly as you can before you move forward. Vital details to consider about your customers include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Geographical location
  • Hobbies
  • Annual income
  • Occupation
  • Typical media used to consume content

However, it’s important to maintain a balance between being too broad and too specific. Trying to target a massive number of people can be just as ineffective as targeting too few.

A good template would look something like this:

  • Age: 45-60
  • Gender: Male
  • Education: 4 years of college+
  • Geographical location: Midwest
  • Hobbies: Golfing, attending sporting events
  • Annual income: $80,000+
  • Occupation: Business owner, executive, upper-level manager
  • Typical media used to consume content: television, radio

While this narrows the audience down drastically, there are still plenty of people to target as the criteria aren’t too specific.

2. Understand Your Market

Similar to how you wouldn’t shoot a blind shot in a competitive basketball game, you wouldn’t set out to sea without first checking the weather.

It’s crucial to understand how the market is that you’re planning on entering. In some cases, it might even be necessary to hold off on starting your business if things aren’t looking great. 

Consult with other business owners in your space to see how things are going currently and how the market’s been the past few years.

The most important thing to look for is the opportunity for your product or service to excel in the industry. This is something you can accomplish if you make sure to…

3. Capitalize on Your Niche 

Unless your chosen industry is breaking new ground and has very little competition, you’re going to have to make yourself stand out somehow amongst your competitors.

This is especially important if your actual product or service isn’t that much different than what everyone else is offering.

A perfect example would be Starbucks.

Are they the only coffee shop in the world? Absolutely not. Do they provide the best coffee? That’s subjective.

But, the brand has grown to be one of the most successful companies in history. 

While there were many factors at play in the brand’s ascension, a few stand out from the rest.

The brand attempted to create a higher quality experience as opposed to simply grabbing a cup of coffee. They accomplished this by having stellar interior design and lighting that made a Starbucks cafe a great place to meet or kill time.

The company also used coffee roasts that were darker than the roasts competitors were using. This gave Starbucks coffee its unique, almost bitter flavor.

The brand’s unique coffee taste combined with its unique atmosphere made it easy for consumers to tell the company apart from its competitors when they thought of locations where they could purchase coffee.

Again, it’s not always the quality of what you offer, but rather how you stand out.

4. Cut Corners

One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make is overspending when starting their business. They get all caught up in their vision of how they want their company to be and go out and make purchases they don’t need.

If you can run your company from your home during its infancy, then go for it. Unless you’re making hundreds of thousands or millions in revenue already, you don’t need an office with a handful of employees.

If you do actually need a team, however, make sure you only hire people who are vital to your company’s growth.

You should think of this team as the “skeleton” of your company that everything else is built around. Without a strong foundation, your business runs the risk of collapsing.

Furthermore, be careful about hiring people you’re close to. If they’re not objectively good for the position, they’ll only slow you down in the future.

5. Get out There!

What good is starting a business if nobody knows about you?

You’re going to have to get your name out there one way or another if you want to be successful!

Things like running Facebook ads, email marketing, and focusing on developing killer SEO practices can take you a long way in terms of brand awareness.

So, when you’re ready to commit your time toward making your company successful, make sure you come up with an airtight marketing strategy to make sure people learn about you.

Learning How to Start a Business Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn’t have to be.

With the above information about how to start a business in mind, you’ll be well on your way to laying a solid foundation for your future company.

Want to learn more startup tips to make sure things run smoothly? Check out the rest of my blog for more information!