6 Essential Tips to Kickstart a Business
If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to spend your life working for companies that other people built..
I spent a several years watching webinars about creating start-up businesses and researching how to begin. During these years, I never took action. Does this sound familiar? I knew I wanted to start, but it didn’t seem like something that could turn into reality. Finally, after graduating college with a marketing degree and meeting my significant other and business partner Scott Mills while working abroad in Shanghai, we decided it was time to begin.
In the beginning, we were a beauty company. We very quickly realized neither of us were passionate about designing and developing beauty products; we’ve always been far more passionate about marketing. We completely changed directions and started our current company, De Lu Marketing & Consulting. After only about 9 months of working with clients, we’re wonderfully busy – sometimes perhaps a little too busy – and thoroughly enjoying it. It’s hard to describe how rewarding it is to finally work for ourselves, and we’d love for you to have the chance to experience this as well.
If you’re in the same place I was – constantly watching webinars, researching, and reading about being starting a business but never actually taking action – here are 6 essential tips to help you along the way to starting your own successful business!
1. Surround Yourself with Real Inspiration
One of the best ways to begin is to surround yourself with 'real' inspiration. I’m not talking about framing inspirational quotes on your desk or scrolling through inspirational quotes and trying to take them to heart. I’m talking about surrounding yourself with people who already started a company or who have the same vision as you, then learning as much as you can from them. Find 'action people', not people have been talking for years about their goals but never make it happen.
The more you surround yourself and talk with those who are already a few steps ahead or even far ahead, the more concrete and possible your vision will seem. Having a mentor willing to guide you is truly a blessing. You’ll be able to truly picture yourself moving forward. You’ll see yourself as a successful business owner – an essential step for actually doing so!
2. Create An 'Ideation Lifestyle'
Spend some time thinking of creative ideas for your future company. Even if your ideas seem far-fetched or impossible, don’t dismiss them. Spend a lot of time envisioning yourself as a business owner. Make this part of your daily routine. What is your goal as a business? Why will people love to work with you? What is going to set you apart from your competitors? If you’re not actually prepared to file for your LLC and start your new company just yet, writing everything down will allow you to keep all your thoughts organized, and give you a place to slowly edit and evolve your ideas.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Directions
I mentioned earlier that we started as a beauty company but even before that, we were selling hand- drawn bookmarks on Etsy to make a little extra money on the side. After designing bookmarks and creating beauty products, we realized we were doing something we weren’t passionate about. After a very unsuccessful year with a dwindling savings account, we changed our company name to De Lu Marketing & Consulting and began seeking out small businesses to perform marketing services for.
After just a few months of our new business approach, we had already designed two websites and had several wonderful clients, all referring more people to us. The morale of this story? Don’t be afraid to completely change what you’re doing if you’re not enjoying it. Don’t be afraid of what anyone thinks, either! You’re the one that needs to love your career, after all -- that’s the entire point of starting your own business.
4. List Your First Steps
I love lists. Lists, for me at least, make things happen. Start writing all the things you’ll need in place before you start your company. If you’re not my same personality type, you may find it better to keep a mental list, write post-it notes, or do whatever works for you. Here are a few of the beginning steps to take note of and start accomplishing:
- Write as much content as you can about your business. You’ll need this for creating a website, and it’ll make it so much easier to explain your new company to friends, family, and investors.
- What are your special areas of expertise you specifically enjoy? List the things that excite you and make absolutely sure you incorporate them into your business. These are your non-tangible assets.
- Write a value statement: what value will you offer your potential customers? What benefits will they get from working with you?
- After you finish everything above, decide on a business name. Before you can name yourself, you need a real sense of who you are.
- File for an LLC with your state. This protects you from anyone trying to go after your company.
- Create your logo.
- Create a website. Wix and SquareSpace are great if you’re doing it yourself, or hire a designer to create a beautiful, professional website for you.
- Join Facebook and other social media as your business. Start posting content and high-quality images. Become socially active in industry-related Facebook groups as well. These are super important. Facebook groups are one of the best free avenues for promotion.
If your business requires a physical location, download apps for finding rental spaces or figure out if your business could be based out of your home. If you’re selling products, like we did at first, design your labels and start looking at the costs of your ingredients or components, etc. You get the idea. Everything seems less daunting when you understand the steps you can take to make it happen!
5. Get Legal
If your new business is based on performing services for clients, make sure to create a professional and legally binding contract for both you and your client to sign. Don’t go on a handshake like they did back in the day. I can’t stress how important this is. I know a woman who performed thousands of dollars of work only to find out the contract their client had signed 10 years prior was only legally valid for 1 year, and no new contract was signed; she never did get paid for her work. (You may want to include in your contract that there is no end date, to avoid a similar situation!).
I don’t ever like assuming clients will go back on their word, but it’s better safe than sorry. There are plenty of legal contracts online to base yours from, and I recommend reading multiple contracts and blending your favorite parts from each. Keep yourself safe.
6. Understand It Won’t Be Perfect
Businesses are rarely, if ever, perfect when they start out. It’s a huge learning process to start a new business, especially if this is your first. Expect evolution and change. Even if you’re turning your corporate career path into your own business by quitting and going solo, it can take a while to learn how it all works. Don’t wait until you have everything set up ‘perfectly’ because that will never happen. Rather, get reasonably prepared and then start! Learning along the way is exhilarating, and you’ll never truly know all the obstacles to prepare for until you begin.
If you found this Mod helpful, you might also enjoy learning about these three tips for growing any business online. Please consider sharing this Mod using the social media icons below. Any comments or questions? Let us know on Twitter!