Steps to Starting a Small Business – The Series

Steps to Starting a Small Business series is where I share what I’ve learned through the work I’ve done with literally hundreds of small business owners as they started their own small businesses.

In the first installment, Steps to Starting a Small Business: #1 – The Idea, I covered that the first step isn’t the legal structure or a SWOT analysis, but rather the first step to starting a small business is the birth of the idea!

Starting a small business with the idea that you’re going to make a LOT of money is a piss poor reason to launch a business.   Sure – the money will come- but only after a huge investment of blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice.  The best reason to start a new business is because you love doing it.  You prefer doing things “your way” and you’ll gladly accept the consequences of your actions.

When you’re starting a small business, it’s essential that you overcome self doubt.   If you don’t believe – how the heck can you expect strangers to believe in your business idea.

Another key element in starting a small business is to recognize that you might learn more from your small business failures than you will from your successes.  If you’re afraid of failure – then go get a J-O-B because failure is a HUGE part of growing your small business.

In the next installment, Steps to Starting a Small Business: #2 – The Implementation, I shared that when you’re starting your own small business everything is going to take longer and cost more than you planned. You’re probably not going to be able to do all the things that you need to do to successfully launch your business because you aren’t a MASTER at all of the tasks that need to be done, so you should probably plan on farming out at least SOME of the work.

Then, I shared in Creating a Website that Does Almost Nothing how no matter how GIFTED you are, your first attempts at doing new things – like creating your own website – are probably going to suck. As a matter of fact, if your first attempt doesn’t suck – that qualifies as a rousing success.  There’s no way your 1st website is going to be as good as a professional’s 100th website.

Steps to Starting a Small Business: #4 Naming Your Business tells how your business name is the foundation of EVERYTHING in your business.  It will affect every aspect of your business from customer perception to the domain name you use for your web presence.   Make a mistake in naming your business and, trust me – it will haunt you for years to come.

In Steps to Starting a Small Business: #5 Marketing Strategies – AGAIN I cover how a marketing strategy is different than a marketing tactic.  A blog is NOT a marketing strategy. Believe it or not, a BLOG is actually a marketing tactic.  Marketing tactics are how you achieve the marketing goals established in when you created your marketing strategy.

In Steps to Starting a Small Business: #6 Setting Your Rates I cover how setting your fees is the biggest issue you’ll face in a service based business.  Setting prices when you’re selling traditional goods is a little easier just because there’s the whole COGS (cost of goods sold).     Unfortunately, setting your fees is  not a simple matter of “set your fees too low and you’ll be swamped – set your rates too high and you won’t make any sales.”  Ah, if only that were true!  Sometimes – setting your fees higher means more sales because people don’t have any way to judge the quality of your work.

In Steps to Starting a Small Business: #7 Your USP – Unique Selling Proposition you’ll discover that the REAL REASON people choose to do business with you and your business is usually nothing more complicated than you (or your staff) are reasonably competent and cordial.  If a customer or clients feels BETTER when they hang up the phone or walk out the door than when they picked up the phone or walked in the door to your business, then that my friends is a USP that can’t be beat!

This is a great time to start your own small business as long as you don’t think you can make money by sitting on your ass.