A growing number of people have aspirations to run their own business. Millions of startups launch across the world every year, but failure rates are high. Up to 20% of new companies fail within the first year. The prospect of setting up a business can be daunting, but it’s also exhilarating. If you dream of being an entrepreneur, here are some practical steps to follow. 

Develop your business idea

TV shows and social media stories have created a rose-tinted vision of entrepreneurialism, which suggests that it’s possible to be an overnight success if you have a groundbreaking idea. An ingenious or original idea will stand you in good stead, but you’ll need to develop that concept and turn it into a viable business model. Most successful entrepreneurs work for years to establish their brand and see their name up in lights. 
If you have a brilliant idea, start working on turning it into a business model. Think about how you’re going to monetize a product or service, how you’re going to market and sell your products and services, who you want to target in terms of your client base, and what sets you apart from competitors. You’ll need to figure out funding streams and how you’re going to cover expenses and outgoings, and look into the logistics. If you’re selling a product, for example, how are you going to manufacture, distribute and sell the item to retailers or customers?

Research the market and test the waters

Market research is vital for new business success. Take the time to delve deeper into the marketplace. Identify key competitors, learn about brands that are already operating within the same market and analyze sales data. Evaluate the level of demand and make sure that consumers or business customers actually have an interest in the product or service you plan to sell. Define your target audiences and be proactive in gathering information about your ideal customer. Ask questions, run polls, collect feedback and use the data you have to inform decision-making. Test the waters with product ideas, branding concepts, packaging designs, website features and themes, different content types for social media posts, logos and pricing and promotions. 
It’s wise to obtain information before you make final decisions so that your market research can help you to ensure that your brand and the products and services you sell will appeal to the right buyers. Testing can help you to spot problems, raise brand awareness, increase the time people spend on your website and improve your lead conversion rate. 

Seek legal advice

If you’re a fan of going to the movies, or you’ve seen viral posts about entrepreneurs that have shot to fame, you may think that it’s relatively straightforward to set up a business and start trading. Behind the scenes, there are processes and tasks you have to complete to reach a point where you can start selling to customers, promoting your brand and hiring employees. Launching a startup doesn’t just involve designing a website or putting flyers through doors. You have to form your company, register the business and ensure that your venture is fully compliant. It’s wise to seek legal advice from experts like those at Novo Legal to ensure that you check every box and minimize the risk of complications and setbacks further down the line. You may also need legal advice if you plan to hire employees or you are considering partnerships with individuals or other companies. 

Make sure you have the right mindset

Being an entrepreneur may seem like a dream job, but it’s incredibly hard work. It takes a huge amount of time, energy and dedication to launch and run a successful business. Entrepreneurs usually work long, antisocial hours and they often make sacrifices in their personal and social lives to make the company work. If you want to pursue this career path, it’s essential to make sure that you have the right mindset. You should be prepared to commit your time and effort to the business and understand that it may be a roller coaster ride. Most business moguls don’t achieve success at the first attempt and they experience rejection and failure on the way to the top. 

Get your finances in order

Financial problems are the leading cause of startup failure. It takes money to set up a business, raise brand awareness, buy supplies, recruit and train employees and cover running costs. It is crucial to get your finances in order and make sure that your business plan covers every expense and income stream. Consider how you’re going to fund your startup. If you can’t afford to invest your own money, there are options, including borrowing money, seeking external investment, crowdfunding and taking advantage of schemes that are designed to promote entrepreneurialism. Explore the options on the table and weigh up the pros and cons. Take care when borrowing money. Always read the small print and make sure you understand how much the loan is going to cost you per month. 

Draw up a targeted marketing strategy

Marketing is an effective way to target key demographics and attract attention from audiences that are likely to want to buy your products or services. Draw up a strategy that is relevant to your brand, your business objectives and your ideal customer. Use market research to help you to decide which methods and channels to use and seek help if you don’t have marketing expertise in-house. Working with a marketing agency could save you money in the long run while enhancing results and boosting your ROI. Once your campaigns are up and running, collect data and customer feedback and use analytics to address weaknesses and make improvements. 
Do you dream of running a business? Being an entrepreneur can be incredibly rewarding, but it isn’t easy to launch a new venture and turn it into a profitable business. If you have ambitions and aspirations, follow these steps to reduce stress, create a detailed, viable business plan and maximize your chances of beating the odds.  


Sophie H.