Small business funding is just one factor to consider when starting or growing your own business, but even though there is a lot to think about doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile endeavor.
Growing your own business can be very rewarding. Consider the factors below, answer key questions and make essential plans early, and you’ll be much more likely to succeed.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, consider the following steps:
Create a Customer Value Proposition
A business can’t succeed if it doesn’t provide actual value to customers – what’s called a customer value proposition.
For instance, perhaps you enjoy cooking traditional meals passed down through generations of your family. Maybe you want to start a business in which you share these recipes with others via cookbooks, YouTube videos, and related platforms.
That’s an understandable vision. However, if there isn’t a genuine market for your recipes, that business won’t attract enough customers. Just because your family loves them doesn’t mean others will be interested. You need to conduct market research and generate a strong value proposition before deciding if your idea is worth pursuing.
Write a Business Plan
Next, you’ll need to write a business plan, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Your value proposition will be one component of your overall business plan. Other components of a basic plan include a mission statement, an explanation of why your product or service differs from that of the competition, general marketing ideas, and an analysis of your cash flow needs, among others.
Think of your business plan as a map to success. You’re much more likely to reach a destination if you know how you plan to get there.
Consider Small Business Funding Options
There are many small business funding options out there. You may already know you need one or you may think you don’t. Either way, it’s worthwhile to know what the options are.
You may be able to start your business using nothing but your own money (so long as you are willing to risk it). Consider the risk in this, and whether getting funding is a smarter risk overall.
A wide range of options are available when it comes to small business funding, including loans from banks, credit unions, crowdfunding platforms, and family. Research each to determine which are best for your goals. Taking out any type of loan involves some degree of risk. Conducting proper research is key to protecting yourself.
Ask if You’ll Honestly Commit to This Business
Unless you’re independently wealthy, there’s a good chance you’ll need to keep your day job during the early stages of your business’ growth. Your goal may be to reach a point where you can focus on your business full-time, but until you achieve that degree of success, your business will be something you grow on the side.
Ask yourself if you’re genuinely willing to commit to that much work. Are you okay with sacrificing your free time for months (if not years)? Honestly answering this question will help you avoid wasting time and money on a goal you’re not 100% passionate about.
Additionally, there are many choices for businesses that you could start. Why this one? Are you committed to putting in as much blood, sweat and tears as it will require to make it successful? And do you believe, based on data, that this is a business that can be successful?
Find a Business Mentor or Business Coach
It’s easy to make plenty of mistakes when starting your first business. That’s less likely to happen if you have guidance from someone who’s been in your shoes before.
Try to find someone in your life who may serve as a business mentor, or find a professional business coach. If you’re looking for someone in your life, a former employer, relative, friend, or anyone else who has successfully started their own business in the past is a good choice. If you’re looking for a business coach, find someone who has started a business before.
Stay Motivated in Your Small Business
This is key. Growing a business is hard work. It’s much easier when you have help, and when you follow these essential steps first.
About the Author:
Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing.