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Creating Your Brand Revolution
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Steps Every Entrepreneur Must Take

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There are more than 28 million small businesses in the United States, making up a whopping 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. When you consider some of the most popular reasons to start a business, including having a unique business idea, designing a career that has the flexibility to grow with you, working toward financial independence, and investing in yourself — it’s no wonder that small businesses are everywhere.

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Take one step at a time, and you’ll be on your way to successful small business ownership.

  1. Be inspired. Your first step is to get inspired to be an entrepreneur. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already there!
  2. Have a passion. Few business owners are successful without a sufficient passion driving their efforts. Find something you’re passionate about.
  3. Educate yourself. You don’t need a college degree, but you do need to be aware of the risks and realities of business ownership.
  4. Generate an idea. This is the hard part: coming up with an idea that has the potential to launch a full-fledged business.
  5. Preliminarily research the idea. Poke around the web and see what you can find. Are there other businesses like this?
  6. Talk to others. See what your friends and family think about your idea, and be open to criticism.
  7. Develop the idea. Brainstorm to work out the potential flaws and key advantages. Need to bounce off ideas? Think about reaching to business owners you know!
  8. Research and start a business plan. Now’s your chance to get more involved. Find out what competitors there are and dig deep to create a full-fledged business plan (use the next steps to help you).
  9. Determine your target market. Not everyone will be your target customer. Find a niche.
  10. Come up with a financial model. How much are you going to charge? How much will it cost to run the business? How profitable can you be? If you aren’t very  numbers savvy, I highly recommend bringing someone in for this step.
  11. Come up with an operations model. Who and what do you need to maintain production?
  12. Come up with a staffing plan. Determine the people you need to hire to get things started. Most start up business don’t need a huge set of employees. I’ve been running my business solo for 2 years now.
  13. Come up with a sales and marketing plan. This isn’t superfluous. Sales and marketing are what will drive your business to grow.
  14. Come up with a growth plan. How do you expect to scale in the first year? What about years two and three?
  15. Decide on a legal structure for your business. Every legal construct has advantages and disadvantages. Think carefully about what will work best.
  16. Determine what you need to start. Think about the people, resources and capital you need, and have both an “ideal” and “minimum” range.
  17. Objectively analyze the risk. Determine how much you stand to lose if the company goes under.
  18. If you’re ready, quit your current job. If everything looks good, pull the trigger and invest yourself full-time in your enterprise. Don’t want to deal with that pressure? Decide how much time you are willing to give to each job. I still have a full time office job that I LOVE.
  19. Seek resources and aid. Join a small-business development center and find local resources to help you succeed. I’m a member of the National Association of Professional Women!
  20. Scout for potential clients. Keep your eyes peeled for individuals and businesses that might buy from you, and the earlier the better. Try to get at least one client before investing a dime. I started with friends and family. I gave my services for free, to build a portfolio. This made me look much more professional when it came to getting my first few clients.
  21. Register your business name. It’s a simple step, but a necessary one. Can’t decide on a name? There are a lot of really fun generators out there!
  22. Get a tax ID. Don’t forget about your tax responsibilities.
  23. File for state and local taxes. Don’t neglect this financial step.
  24. Obtain any necessary permits or licenses. Your business may require additional legal registrations.
  25. Establish a unique brand. Find out what makes your business unique, and develop a brand around it. Need help with branding? Get in touch by requesting a quote from me!
  26. Establish key vendors and partners. Find contractors, vendors and suppliers to help your business succeed. For example, I have a photographer on my list of vendors for clients who need new head shots.
  27. Start selling. Go out and sell the heck out of your products.
  28. Launch a website. As soon as you can, establish an online presence.
  29. Outline and begin a digital marketing campaign. Digital marketing is cheap, easy, and effective. SEO, content marketing, and social media are good places to start.
  30. Network everywhere you go. Make it a point to meet people. You never know who could be a new client or employee.
  31. Find at least one dependable, long-term client. Prioritize getting at least one surefire long-term client.
  32. Use promotions and discounts to attract new customers. Profitability is not as important as recognition in your early stages. You should also look into getting a loyalty card! They do wonders for your business. For example, every referral a customer gives, gets them 2 weeks of free social media management!
  33. Learn from customer feedback and launch a second iteration of your products or services. Make tweaks to your offerings. I make sure to listen to my clients, especially after a project is complete. No one gets it perfect in the beginning.
  34. Tweak your operations to become more efficient. No operation plan is perfect. Find ways to improve yours.
  35. Ensure your cash flow remains positive, with proper safety measures. Cash can kill an otherwise profitable business. Don’t neglect it. Stick to your budget, and when you business takes a dip, refrain from over spending.
  36. Evaluate your progress thus far, and adjust your business plan. Determine where you are in contrast to where you thought you’d be, and think about what expectations you had that were wrong. Revisit your business plan and adjust it to reflect your current situation and understandings.

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