The first 5 things to do when starting your business
Starting a new business isn't really that hard. But starting a business with intention can be more challenging. Anyone can start a business. But did you know that most businesses fail within the first few years? When you approach the beginning stages of your business with purpose and intention, you will have a stronger foundation on which to grow your business and brand. You will build from a place of purpose and clarity so that you can intentionally grow your business over time. If you're in the beginning stages of starting a new business, these 5 steps will help you to create an intentional business.
Pray about it
This may not be the first thing you think of when you think of starting a business. But I am a firm believer that we should look to God first in everything, especially our businesses. There is so much to be learned about business from the Bible and this shouldn't be something that we overlook for the pretty things. I am constantly praying about my business to this day and I know that with Him and only with Him, this business is possible. Before you start your business, pray about it. Pray that God can guide you in your decisions, point you in the right direction, and be with you every step of the way. There is no better way to build a business than on faith.
I am the kind of person who likes to research everything before making a big decision. But even if you're not, I recommend taking plenty of time in the beginning to research everything you can about owning a business, running a business, and your specific industry. Take this time to dive in to the business world and learn as much as you can. Otherwise you might find yourself scrambling to learn things last minute, or worse, learning from your mistakes. If you spend time on it in the beginning, you'll be more prepared to move forward and make better business decisions as you go. Educate yourself on general business management and your profession. Most of us go into business doing something we didn't go to school for so it is crucial to learn from every professional expert in your field, master your specialty, and make it your own.
Make it legal
You can't really say that you own a business until it's legal. That means registering your business getting all the required paperwork in hand to be able to do business legally. There are certain licenses and permits you have to obtain depending on your business, and you want to be sure that you are doing things right from the beginning. This is different for every state and country, but definitely one thing you want to check out before you get too far. You really want to do your homework on this one to avoid any legal matters after you've already started doing business. This part usually isn't so much fun, but it is a necessity. I struggled with this when I was starting my business, but there are some great resources out there to help you through the process and make it easier to understand.
Create a strong brand strategy
This probably doesn't come as a surprise to you considering what I do, but creating a strong brand strategy in the beginning will help you build that intentional foundation for your business. I don't believe that every business needs to invest in full on branding before they even open their business. Some business owners will take years to figure out what their brand is and where they want to focus (you're not alone - I was like this!). And in order to avoid re-brand after re-brand, you can start small. You may not know what your brand is in the beginning. It may take time to figure it out. And even when you do, your brand will continue to grow and evolve as your business does. Regardless, you need to start somewhere. Whether you invest in professional brand development early on, or wait until you've got a better understanding of your business, you do need something. Develop a strategy for your brand in the beginning so you have something to build upon. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be well thought out. Don't throw something together and call it a brand. Think it through and start small.
Build a community
Not everything in business is about money. But we do have to make a profit. I'm sure that is probably half the reason you decided to go into business in the first place. But you can't sell your products or services without a community to sell them to. It is so beneficial to start building your community before you have something to sell to them. Use this time to start telling people what you do and get to know your audience. Knowing your community will be so valuable as you continue to build your business.
I say this often, but It's always worth repeating. Don't try to do it all. I started like all creatives, trying to do all the things. That quickly led to overwhelm and burnout. Instead, find what you're really good at, really passionate about, and do that. Then stop there. Don't add products and services and extra things just because everyone else is doing it. You do you and stick to it. Become an expert in your field and do it really well, and you will be recognized for it.
Starting a business can feel daunting and scary, but exciting at the same time. And for many of us, it falls into our path as a natural progression of where we were before (it did for me). I never dreamed I would own a business, but it has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I don't regret anything in my business journey, but if I could do it again, I would do it with more intention from the start.