Thinking about turning a talent or idea you have into a business? There's actually never been a better time to start a business than right now. Yes, now, even with COVID-19 still looming. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, the number of businesses created has been higher than ever since the pandemic.
But creating a business that stands the test of time will require more than a great idea, talent, or even financial resources. Today especially, you'll also need to do some careful planning that involves taking some key steps including:
- Identifying your BIG idea. Successful businesses are built on solving unmet needs. For example, coffee pods were created because someone recognized that people sometimes want a cup of coffee, not a whole pot. An unmet need could also be a great product or service that's not available in your area. Once you identify a need, think about how your business would provide the solution.
- Conducting research. When you have your idea, start doing your homework. You'll need to research the market for your product/idea, the competition, and the costs involved with launching your venture.
- Creating a memorable name. Another important and exciting step for your business is establishing a name. Your name should be simple and memorable and make it clear what you do.
- Establishing your business entity. Once you identify your business need, you'll need to register and establish your company. You have several options for a business structure, including sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability corporation (LLC), and corporation. To determine the best option for you, talk to your tax professional.
- Write a business plan. Taking the time to write a business plan can help you establish your plans for growth, your target market, the value of what you provide, and the money you will need to fund and grow the business. Visit the Small Business Administration for resources and guidance to help you craft your plan.
- Starting small. While it would be wonderful to start making money right away, that's not usually the way it happens. That's why it makes sense for you to start your business on a part-time basis. As you grow your sales, customer base, and ultimately your profits, you can start planning to make it a full-time venture.
- Establishing an online presence. If we learned anything from the pandemic, it's the importance of having an online presence. Make your products and services available online. Also, use social media to build awareness of your offerings and to connect with customers and prospects about their unmet needs.
- Networking. Business has changed over the years, but one thing that will never change is the importance of making connections. You can accomplish that through social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as through in-person events and conferences. Think about joining trade associations, local networking groups, and your local Chamber of Commerce.
The bottom line is that you truly can turn your business dream into a reality. And now just so happens to be a great time to roll up your sleeves and make it happen.