How to Get a Business Started in 11 Steps (2023) – | Transform your financial management with Ottilie Blog Details Blog

How to Get a Business Started in 11 Steps (2023)

The first step to being your own boss is making the big jump.  If you've come here to find us, you've already taken that first, very important step. Congratulations! Now you are ready to learn how to start a business from scratch. But where to start?  You've come to the right place, whether you already have a great idea for a product or you just want to build your own future. This guide will show you how to start a business, from marketing before you open to making your first sale.  Look through a huge list of business ideas. Check out tools that can help you run your online store every day. And save this guide so you can come back to it as you build.  Let's get started!

Ideate and validate

1. Come up with your big idea

It all starts with a thought. To narrow down this idea, it's important to know what kind of business you want and what kind of lifestyle you want. Do you want to sell already-made products as a low-stress side job? Do you want to put everything you have into an idea that will change the world? Or is the audience you have on social media the best place to launch the merchandise for your personal brand?  If you're having trouble coming up with ideas, check out our long lists of low-cost business ideas, online business ideas, and popular business opportunities. Next, you'll have to decide how to make your new business idea a reality: will you make, manufacture, or resell?

Creating your own product

You could make a product yourself or work with a manufacturer, print-on-demand company, or private label partner to make one.

Products to make or manufacture

Print-on-demand ideas
Print on demand is when you work with a company to turn your designs into things like t-shirts, jewelry, or mugs, and then ship them directly to your customers. This is a quick and easy way to start a business with little money. Find the right print-on-demand company for your business idea by looking into them.
Private-label (or white-label) ideas
If you have a good idea but don't know how to make it, you can work with a manufacturer who does. This is called a "private label" or "white label" model. They can change generic products so that they fit your brand and your needs. You can think of ideas for private-label and white-label products like fitness equipment and cosmetics.
Selling an already-made product
Selling an already-made product is a great way to get your business up and running quickly. You can choose to dropship or gather products from other brands to sell again.
Ideas for products to dropship
Dropshipping is a way to run a business in which you sell products that already exist on your own online store without taking care of inventory or shipping. The vendor or manufacturer will fill and ship an order from your customer instead of going through you. To start dropshipping, you'll need to find a product and a dropshipping partner.
Ideas for curation or reselling
Curation or reselling is another way to start a business without making your own products. Some lifestyle and fashion brands buy inventory in advance and put together collections from a number of vendors or designers. In this case, you will be in charge of shipping and managing the stock. Wholesale marketplaces are good places to look for brands to work with. Antiques, collectibles, and vintage clothing are often sold secondhand as a business model.
Starting a side business
What if you just want to try entrepreneurship for a little while? Running your own business on the side, in addition to your full-time job, is a low-risk way to try something new and make extra money. Don't quit your day job. Instead, look through our lists of ideas for passive income and home-based businesses.
Using your social media following to make money
Getting people to listen to you can be one of the hardest parts of starting a business. If you already have a lot of followers on social media, the hard part is over. With online tools, making money from that audience is easier than ever. Find business ideas that work well with your platform of choice.

Starting in a specific industry

If you've already found a product you're interested in, it's important to know how that industry works.  👗 Clothing 👕 T-shirts 💍 Jewelry 🕯️ Candles 🥝 Food and Drink 🙂 Stickers 🛋️ Home 🌱 Plants 🎨 Art 📚 Books 🐶 Pets 🧴 Skincare

2. Learn about your product and your customers

Now that you have a great idea, you need to make sure it's true. Your product or business idea may be exciting to you, but it's only worth pursuing if there are people (potential customers) who want it.  Before you start investing, there are many ways to do research first. You can look for holes in the market, find a group of people who aren't being served, run a focus group, and research your competitors.

Finding your target market

Your target audience, also called your target market, is a group of people who might buy your brand. This is the group you'll eventually spend all of your money and time marketing to. Because of this, it is important to define them as completely as possible.  It's important to find out who your target audience is and what they want because: 
  • It helps you make marketing decisions that are smart and save money.
  • It influences your product development (because you have a direct line of feedback)
  • It can increase revenue (by focusing your efforts on the most promising customers) 
Building buyer personas is a good way to get to know the needs of your ideal customers. What are their ages? What do they care about? Where do they spend most of their time on social media sites? What do they care about?

Doing research on the market

Market research is the process of getting information about your brand's possible customers, or "market." It can tell you if you're going in the right direction or if you need to change. Surveys, focus groups, and interviews are all ways to find out about the market.  Market analysis is similar, but it involves researching the industry as a whole. You do this by combining information you get directly from your target audience with information you get from third-party sources, such as reports and industry magazines.

Examining the competition

If you know what your competitors are doing, you can make sure that your brand stands out in the market. This exercise will also help you figure out your unique selling proposition (USP), which is what makes your product better than those of your competitors.

3. Calculate your startup costs

Once you've proven that people want your product and you've nailed down your value proposition, it's time to talk about money. Your business will be able to work if you have the money to start it up and can set a price that will make you money.

Writing a business plan

You can use a business plan to help you get money from a bank or venture capital (VC) firm. But even if you don't need money from outside sources, a business plan forces you to answer important questions about how you will run your business. It has everything, from your mission statement to how much money you have. 7 tips for writing a business plan:
  • Know your audience.  
  • Have a clear goal. 
  • Invest time in research. 
  • Keep it short and to the point.  
  • Keep the tone, style, and voice consistent.  
  • Use business plan software.

Calculating startup costs

How much really does it cost to start a business? It depends on a lot of things, like whether or not you need to keep stock or rent space. A lot of the money spent in the first year does not come from the business owner's own pocket. Instead, it comes from putting back profits into the business. This is called "bootstrapping," and you can find out more about it below.
Keeping track of all of a business's expenses
In the first year, your startup costs will pay for things like setting up a website, buying inventory, and running your first paid ads. Here's how the owners of businesses said they spent their money in the first year:   business started
Getting a break-even analysis done
A break-even analysis is a way to figure out when your business (or product) starts making money. It's a type of math used to figure out how many products you need to sell to cover the cost of making them.  Performing a break-even analysis has several benefits: 
  • It helps you make smart decisions about product pricing.
  • It can mitigate risk and eliminate surprises.
  • It sets informed targets for your business.
  • It can identify any missing expenses.
Determining profit margins
A profit margin is a percentage that shows how much money a business makes. Your profit margin will depend on the business you're in the range of retail prices set by the market and your costs. If you sell a lot of goods, like digital art prints, you may have a low-profit margin, but if you sell expensive items, you may have a high-profit margin.
How do you price your products?
It can be hard to figure out how to price your products, but with a few simple calculations, you can set prices that make sense. In a nutshell, setting prices involves three steps: 
  • Add up your variable costs, which change based on how much of your product you make. 
  • Add a profit margin. 
  • Don't forget about fixed costs, which are the costs of running a business that stay the same no matter how much you sell (think office space lease or utilities). 
When setting your prices, you should think about common pricing strategies like competitive pricing, pricing based on value, and keystone pricing. Note that every strategy has pros and cons, and not all of them will work for your business.

Bootstrapping your business

Bootstrapping is the process of starting a business with little or no money and putting the profits back into the business as it grows. This way of getting money for a business may slow its growth, but it reduces risk and debt.  Some businesses are easier than others to start from scratch. Ideas that don't require a lot of money upfront, like drop shipping or print-on-demand, are great candidates for this method. Some small business owners use their own savings to pay for the start-up costs of their businesses. Even if you don't need more money right now, you should still have a good business plan.

Build up your business

4. Source products

By now, you've tested your product idea and finalized your business plan. You're ready to make it happen. It's time to think outside the box. As you get ready to start a business, we'll go over the different ways you can make, manufacture, or source your product.

Making or manufacturing a product

If your product is something you made yourself, you can get started by setting up a suitable space at home, in a rented studio or office, or in a co-op. Be sure to check the laws before starting a business from home, especially if you plan to sell food or cosmetics. Usually, there are rules about ventilation and other safety measures.  If your product is meant to be made in a place other than your own, you'll probably need to find a partner to help you make it. A good manufacturer knows your industry, knows the laws about packaging and labeling that apply to your product or market, and can be a true business partner.  Some manufacturers will help you develop your product by giving you advice on how to make it the best it can be.

How to Find a Supplier?

If you want to sell products that are already on the market, you'll need to find suppliers or other brands where you can get them. Find your business model below: 
  • Dropshipping
  • Print on demand
  • Wholesale

5. Plan out your shipping strategy

Small business owners often say that shipping is one of the most difficult parts of getting started. Tools that make this job easier keep getting better, which is good news. Rates are combined on e-commerce platforms like Shopify to help you make better shipping decisions. And app integrations can help you solve shipping problems or make it easier to keep track of your inventory.

Getting shipping and delivery set up

Before deciding on a shipping plan for your business, you'll need to figure out how you'll fulfill orders. For many new business owners, this means they have to pack and ship each order themselves. Unless you choose a dropshipping or print-on-demand model, managing your own fulfillment at the beginning of your business helps you learn more about all parts of it.  As your business grows, you may decide to hire a third-party logistics (3PL) company to handle shipping and fulfillment. Check out different fulfillment services to see which one will work best for your business as it grows.  Customers often decide whether or not to buy from your business based on how much shipping will cost. You can choose to offer free shipping and add the cost to the retail price, or you can pass the cost on to the customer and try to keep it as low as possible.  Some ways to lower shipping costs are: 
  • Getting packages to weigh less (by, say, using poly mailers instead of cardboard, if applicable)
  • Choosing the right size for the product's packaging
  • When possible, use flat-rate shipping
  • Shopify Shipping can be used to cut down on carrier costs
  • Knowing when rates change lets you make changes
  • Giving in-town customers the option of local delivery or pick-up as an alternative
How does international shipping work?
If you want to ship something overseas, you should know that there are a few more steps. First, make sure your products are legal in the country where they are going, that you label and package them correctly, and that you know how to fill out customs paperwork.  When the package arrives, the customer usually has to pay the duties and taxes. You can choose to collect these fees upfront at checkout to make them clear.

Managing inventory

If you work with a fulfillment service or use a dropshipping or print-on-demand model, this partner usually takes care of all of your inventory management. If you don't do this, you won't be able to make good decisions about production and stock reorders, and customers will be disappointed.  Here are a few of the Shopify App Store's best inventory apps. These apps connect to your eCommerce store to automate tasks and let you know when you're running low on stock.  Forecasting: CartBite Optimization: Realtime Stock Sync & Bundling Tracking: Notify Me! Back in Stock Alert Syncing: Stock Sync Replenishment: SUPLIFUL Stock alerts: Back in Stock - Out of Stock

6. Come up with a brand strategy and a brand name

Customers choose to buy from you because of your brand, not because you have a unique product or great service. Your brand is more than just the name of your business or its logo. It is a set of rules and guidelines for design that tells your story, keeps things consistent, and builds trust. With the help of a branding exercise, you'll be able to make creative decisions for your brand as it grows.  As you build your brand, you should think about all of its parts: 
  • The basics (who you are and what you sell)
  • What you stand for (mission statement, brand values, and brand promise)
  • Your unique selling proposition (why customers should choose you over the competition)
  • Your brand story (sometimes one and the same as your personal story)
  • Brand voice (the tone and language used consistently in brand communication)
  • Your visual brand identity (logo, style guide, and brand name) 
Answer questions like, "How do you want customers to feel when they interact with your brand?" to come up with your brand strategy. What's important to you, like helping others, giving back, or making sure your employees get paid fairly? What colors and styles of design do you like and fit the mood you want to create? The rest of the branding exercise will be based on how you answer these questions.  Next, think of names for your business and domain names. You should look up any possible business name to see if it's already being used (which could lead to confusion or legal problems) and if the social handles and domain are available. Once you've chosen a name, protect it by making social profiles and registering the domain.

Setting up the voice and story of a brand

How your business talks to customers and the rest of the world is its "brand voice." It involves making choices about tone, personality, brand language, and slang. Having a clear voice for your brand is important because it can:  Spark recognition Influence perception Build trust Create connection Ensure the consistency (no matter who’s writing brand copy)  Make and keep up-to-date a style guide, which is a document with clear dos and don'ts for your brand's voice (as well as your brand's visual requirements; more on those below). For example: "Our brand voice is confident. Our brand voice doesn't talk down to people." This will make sure that your brand voice stays the same even if you hire people to do marketing tasks or hire someone else to do them.

Creating a brand's look

Your visual identity encompasses anything that impacts how your customers, and the general public, see your brand out in the world. This includes your website's logo, the fonts you use, the photos you use, and the colors you choose.  All of these design decisions and assets will be written down in your style guide or brand guidelines. Even if you're not a designer, you can still make your own logo and visual brand with a few free tools and a few pro tips: 
  • Keep it simple. A simple logo will be the most useful because it can be used for anything from a website's favicon to a billboard advertisement.
  • Create variations. Having different kinds of your logo, like a wordmark and an icon, will help it work in different situations.
  • Consider context. If your logo uses recognizable symbols or objects, think about what message those symbols send in different places and situations.

Putting your brand into action

As part of designing a brand, you will decide what to do with things like photos, printed materials, and packaging. This will make sure that every time a customer interacts with you, they have the same experience.
Taking pictures of products
For eCommerce brands that use 2D images to tell a story about a 3D product, photography is very important. As a stand-in for touching or trying on the product in person, photography does a lot of heavy lifting. That's why good eCommerce photography can make buyers more likely to trust you and buy from you.  Most businesses can benefit from having two types of photos in their collections: 
  • Product photos: Most of the time, these are clear, detailed shots of the product itself, sometimes on a model, but almost always with a plain background and nothing else in the picture. These are good for pages about products and collections. 
  • Lifestyle photos: These are more dreamy photos that show your product in action or in a certain setting. They tell a story about a product and give customers ideas for how to use or style it in their own lives. These photos can be used for your home page, social media accounts, and digital lookbooks. 
Using examples from Burst, a free stock photo site for entrepreneurs, you can see the difference between the first product photo and the second lifestyle photo:       If you don't have enough money to hire a professional photographer, you can still take photos that look like they were taken by a pro with just a simple lighting kit and a smartphone.  For your DIY photos to be ready for a website, you may need to do a little editing. Online, you can get free and cheap tools for designing and editing photos.  When you need photos quickly, stock photos are a great way to fill in until you can schedule a shoot. You can search stock photo websites for pictures that fit your brand's style and use them on collection pages, your homepage, or in marketing campaigns.
Creating packaging for products 
Your visual brand identity will also be on product packaging, shipping materials, and other printed marketing assets (like packaging inserts). From the first time a customer interacts with your brand online to the time they receive their order, everything should go smoothly.

7. Create and release your website

At this point, you have a product and have decided to stick with your brand. Now it's time to put all that hard work together into a website and share it with the world. There are many eCommerce website builders on the market, and you'll need to compare them based on things like the features they offer, how much they cost, and how easy they are to use.

Making and designing an online store website

Once you've chosen a platform, you can build your website by adding products and other brand assets. Check out the Shopify App Store for apps that can help you improve the way your store works. There are many free Shopify apps that can do everything from making appointments to automating the returns process.  Now comes the good part! Even if you don't know anything about design, it's easy to make a website that looks professional. There are many tools and templates that let you drag and drop design elements without having to know any code.  First, let's talk about themes. There are more than 100 themes to choose from in the Shopify Themes Store, so there is something for every taste and industry. There are also a few free Shopify themes for people who are just starting out and don't have a lot of money.  By following your brand's rules, you can: 
  • You can customize themes with the fonts and colors you want
  • Change the layout of your homepage to put the most important things at the top
  • Size your product and lifestyle photos for the web when you upload them
  • Add information to your About Us page, product pages, and landing pages

Launching your business

You did it! Even though you still need to do a few things to get your business fully up and running, you're at a point where you can start showing the world your website. This is a very important part of your journey because it's when you can stress test your website, get feedback from customers, and make changes before your big grand opening.


8. Register your business

Depending on which countries or regions you do business in, you may have to follow a set of rules about how you make, sell, and ship your products.  First, you'll have to choose how your business will be set up. In some situations, you will need to register your business with the government. Check with the government agency in your area to make sure you're doing business the right way.

Picking a business structure 

There are different types of business structures (also called legal structures or business entities) to think about. Before you choose one, you should know what each one is and how it works.

Registering a business

In some situations, you might not have to officially register your business in order to get it going. For example, in Canada, small businesses that make less than a certain amount of money do not have to register with the government or collect and send in sales tax. But there are some benefits to registering your business right away, like getting some protections.  In the US, different states have different rules about what you need to do to get a business license. In some cases, you may not even need one. If you do need a business license, make sure you have the following before you start your application: 
  • Owner name and contact information
  • Business name and contact information
  • Your employer identification number (EIN) or equivalent
  • Any required permits
  • Any required forms or paperwork
  • Associated fees with filing this paperwork

Getting insurance for a business

In case something bad happens, it's important to protect yourself, your business, and your employees. Think about all the things that could stop your business, like a natural disaster, a sick employee, a bad batch of products, or even a lawsuit.  There are different kinds of insurance for businesses to think about. Some of these are commercial property insurance, workers' compensation insurance, professional liability insurance, product liability insurance, and business interruption insurance, just to name a few. Learn about each one to see if it fits your needs. You might also be interested in a business owner's policy (BOP), which combines many of the above types of insurance.   
Note: Depending on how your business is set up, you may or may not be held personally responsible for things that go wrong with it. Talk to a professional to find out if you need personal liability protection. 
  As your business grows, you may also want to protect it in other ways: 
  • Providing health insurance and paying fair wages is a great way to attract and keep good employees. 
  • By registering a trademark or applying for a patent, you can legally protect things like your business name or an invention. 
  • Writing and posting a set of terms and conditions that protects your business by telling customers what the law requires of them if they use your service.

9. Keep track of your money

Getting the right product to the right market at the right time is often the key to running a successful business. But keeping that success going depends on a lot of other things going on in the background. When you have a good handle on your finances, you make sure you don't spend too much and have a safety net in case your luck changes.

Setting up a bank account for a business

Setting up a bank account for your business is a very important first step. At the very least, it lets you keep your business and personal money separate. At best, it lets you work with your bank as a partner to help you get ahead financially in the long run.  Check out the different business banking products on the market, like business credit cards, to see which one fits your needs. Ask questions like these to find the right bank for your business: 
  • Is the bank small-business-friendly?
  • What is the reputation of the bank in the market?
  • Does it offer solutions and financial advice tailored to your industry?
  • What is the fee structure offered by the bank?
  • Does the bank have a hassle-free loan process?

Managing your finances

Your business plan, which you made in Step 2, should also have a plan for your money. If you've already done this step, it's time to do something with what you've learned. If you don't know where to start, check out the links below. 

Financial terms for business 

As you try to understand your business finances, you might come across some new words. Here is an explanation of a few financial statements and ideas. 
Balance sheets
A balance sheet shows what your business owns, what it owes, and what its shareholders own. Balance sheets give you a quick look at how much your business is worth after all debts and payments to shareholders have been taken into account. 
Income statements 
An income statement also called an earnings statement or a profit and loss statement tells you how much money your business is making by subtracting its income from its expenses. Depending on your business, these are usually done monthly, quarterly, or once a year. 
Cash flow statements
A cash flow statement (CFS) is a type of financial statement that shows how much cash came in and went out over a certain time period. This statement shows the founders in detail how much cash the company has. Cash flow management is a key part of a company's long-term financial health.

Choosing accounting software for a small business

Many small business owners swear by a simple spreadsheet to keep track of their finances. For most small businesses just starting out, this is a good way to go. There are many small business accounting tools on the market if you want more features and automation or if your business is more complicated.

Paying business tax

To be ready for tax time, you need to keep track of your money all year long, not just at the last minute. That's because you don't want any surprises if your business owes taxes. Make sure you know the tax deadlines for your business and the types of taxes you have to pay based on how your business is set up.  As a small business owner, remember that you can use a lot of different kinds of purchases as tax breaks. This is not a complete list of those things: 
  • Shipping costs 
  • Workspace rent and utility costs 
  • Fees for professional services (like accountants) 
  • Website fees 
  • Travel expenses 
Before you write off any business costs, you should talk to your accountant. Rules about what counts as a business cost varies by industry and country. 

Charging tax 

Should you charge sales tax on online purchases made through your business? It's not that easy to figure out. This will depend on a number of things, like where you run your business, where your customers live, what you sell (some things don't have to be taxed), and how much money you make.  Once you've decided that you should charge sales tax, you'll need to apply for a sales tax permit (or tax number or EIN), set tax rates in your online store, collect taxes on eligible purchases, and send those taxes to the government when tax time comes around.

Market and grow

10. Market your business

People say that marketing is one of the hardest parts of running your own business. However, it's also where you'll spend most of your time and money. For a website to be successful, it needs ongoing campaigns to bring people to it and turn those people into buyers.

Making a plan for marketing

Your business plan should also include a plan for how you will market your business as a whole. A marketing plan is how your business will get its products in front of the people you want to buy them. It's a plan that helps you set goals and have a backup plan.  Now, let's look at each type of marketing strategy and channel and get you ready to make your first sale. 

Putting money into natural marketing 

Organic marketing is advertising that doesn't cost money. With social media algorithms changing and more competition, it's getting harder and harder to get organic traffic. But even with a small budget, there are still smart ways to bring in customers.  Here are some ideas: 
  • Taking pre-orders 
  • Running giveaways to get people to do things like share on social media or follow you 
  • Codes and coupons for discounts 
  • Hold grand opening events to get people to come to your storefront 
  • Doing content marketing (like creating blogs or videos) 
  • Understanding search engine optimization 
  • Offering affiliate programs 
  • Proactively engaging in social communities 
  • Even more low-cost and free ways to promote your business 

Exploring marketing channels

There are many ways to get the word out about a product. But which one should you choose? Most of the time, the best place to start is where you feel most comfortable or where you know most of your target audience is already spending time. Test each one to see which one gives you the most for your time and money.  Read on to find out more about marketing channels.
Email marketing can be a good way to turn leads into customers, get people to buy from you again, and give loyal customers a reason to buy more. This is an inexpensive way to market, but it takes more work than some paid channels. To be successful at email marketing, you need to grow your email list and send out interesting content at the right time. 
Google is a goldmine for potential customers who are looking for exactly what you have to offer. But you'll need to show up in search results to be sure they're finding you. This can be done in a number of ways, such as through search engine optimization (SEO) and paid Google ads (search engine marketing).  SEO is a type of organic marketing that involves making changes to your website to make it rank higher in search engines. If you show Google that your site is useful and matches a user's search intent, it is more likely to show up higher in search results. 
Instagram is a visual social media site that can be a good way for some brands to market themselves. Instagram is a platform worth looking into, whether you use ads to get your product in front of potential customers, organically grow your audience with interesting content, or use it as a sales channel. 
With 2.9 billion users, Facebook is still the most popular social media site in the world. And it's a useful tool for many businesses, which use it to interact with their community, run paid Facebook ads, and sell products directly.  Here are seven tips for marketing on Facebook: 
  • Understand your target audience.
  • Diversify your content formats.
  • Post when your audience is active.
  • Share influencer or user-generated content.
  • Encourage reviews.
  • Get involved with Facebook groups.
  • Track Facebook insights. 
TikTok is still a new platform, so there are still chances to win with organic marketing. To be successful on the platform, you need to pay attention to trends and share content that is interesting and relevant to your audience.  5 TikTok marketing tips: 
  • Create value with your content (what does your audience want?). 
  • Be relevant and relatable. 
  • Aim for substance over polish (production value isn’t important here). 
  • Don’t sell to people, move them. 
  • Engage in the TikTok community. 
Other channels 
There are a lot of other platforms that could be great ways to market your business. Twitch is popular among gamers, so it could be a good place to find customers for your online business. And Pinterest, which is a popular place to find DIY and fashion ideas, could be a good place to market your home décor brand.  Check out these tools to help you market your product on each channel: 
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Reddit
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Twitch
  • WeChat

Creating a content strategy

Content marketing is a great way to get more traffic to your site, become an authority in your field, and give your customers something of value. It can be done on your site as an SEO strategy or on another platform like YouTube.  Formats for content marketing include: 
  • Blogs and written content 
  • Video 
  • Podcasts 
  • Virtual courses and tutorials  
  • Social media content 
  • Infographics 
  • Visual content 
  • Ebooks 
  • PDF and digital downloads (templates, recipes, guides, free fonts) 
With SEO, you can use the content on your site to bring in more visitors, or you can "gate" it to help you build your email list. Free content like short tutorials or recipes can give your potential customers a taste of what you have to offer and give them the confidence to buy paid content like a cookbook or full-length course.  Customers can also find your business on their own through sites like YouTube. Another way to show up in search results and build a community on YouTube is to post content that people will find useful. 

Understanding conversion rate optimization

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a group of marketing strategies for increasing the number of people who buy something from your website. CRO that works well can get more visitors to take action by using design choices, making efficiency improvements, and testing.  Some ways to increase the number of people who buy from your site are: 
  • Simplifying the user experience
  • Adding testimonials
  • Using high-quality images
  • Optimizing thank you email messages
  • Offering free shipping
  • Optimizing page load times 

Setting up marketing analytics 

If you run ads without knowing about eCommerce metrics, you'll probably waste money and time. Spend some time learning about analytics tools and terms. This will give you a clear picture of how much you spend on marketing and how well it works, so you can do more of what works and stop doing what doesn't.  Most social platforms come with built-in analytics dashboards that let you keep track of how well your content and campaigns are doing. Marketing analytics for your website can be found in the reports that come with your eCommerce platform or with a tool like Google Analytics. 

Creating a community 

For brands that sell to niche markets, the community is key. It takes consistency, authenticity, and a personal touch to win the hearts and trust of communities that have been around for a long time or to start a new one.  It's important to know the people you're serving, whether they are breast cancer survivors, people from Indigenous communities, or drag queens. As you grow, listen, get involved, and ask for feedback.  Many new businesses choose to serve the communities they already live in. So, they know exactly what their customers want and where the market is lacking. If you're not part of the community you want to reach, ask yourself if you're the best person to build for that group.  After building a community, it's important to keep it going. Managing a community means getting to know your audience better in public places. There are four parts to managing a community well:  Monitoring: keeping track of what people are saying about your brand Engaging: proactively engaging with customers, leads, and influencers Moderating: removing comments and conversations that don't add value or break the rules of your brand or the platform Measuring: figuring out how people see your brand and getting honest feedback 

Marketing customer service

Customer service is an important part of your day-to-day business because it helps keep customers happy. However, you can also use it as a marketing tool. People talk about great customer service because they want to share good experiences. You can also change the way you usually talk to customers about customer service to let them know about upcoming sales or new products. This can help you make more sales in the future.

11. Make Your Business Grow

Your small business should be running smoothly by now. Your product photos are great, you're building online communities, you've got your fulfillment process down, and you should be making regular sales.  Take a moment to enjoy your successes. If you've made it this far, you've done a good job of turning an idea into a small business that is alive and well. So, what now? You might decide to keep your business small, focus on building relationships with loyal customers, and handle everything by yourself. Or, you might be ready to go to the moon.  Here, we talk about the next steps for your growing business, from getting more money to hiring and supervising employees. 

Getting funded 2.0 

You may have started your business with money from your own pocket and "bootstrapping," but if you have bigger plans, you may need to look for business funding. More money can help you start a storefront business, hire employees, or come up with new products.  Before you start, you need to take care of a few things: 
  • Add your plans for growth to your business plan
  • Gather your financial statements
  • Write and practice your elevator pitch
  • Find a business mentor to help you get ready to pitch and improve your business plan. 
There are many ways to get money to help your business grow, such as:
Business loans 
Small business loans are available from many places, like big banks, credit unions, and online lenders. To figure out which type of loan is best for your business, it's important to look at what each one has to offer. A financial adviser can help you decide what to do based on all the facts. 

Business grants 

Many different kinds of groups offer grants to small businesses. These groups want to give grants to small businesses that fit with their mission and help a certain community. Because of this, the rules for each grant are very different.  The money you get from a small business grant is not a loan, and you don't have to pay it back. But you may have to meet some expectations that don't have to do with money.
Crowdfunding is when you run a private campaign, usually through a crowdfunding provider, to raise money for your business before its launch, a growth milestone, or a new product. These funds come from people in general. They don't have to be paid back, but brands often offer incentives like products, memberships, or swag.

Building up your team

If you want your business to grow in the long run, you probably can't keep wearing every hat. As your business grows, focus on the parts of running it that you enjoy the most and that fit your skills the best. For everything else, delegate. You can get some things off your plate in three main ways.  At first, you can automate your tasks with bot apps. These apps can do everything from sending emails to customers to making financial reports. This gives you more time to do other things.  But soon, you'll probably need human help, especially if you need to hire people to do manual work or help with customer service. Even if your brand guidelines don't say anything about how you hire people, it's still a great place to start figuring out what qualities you want in new hires.  If you're not ready to set up payroll or manage employees, outsourcing is another way to get more help without cloning yourself. Businesses that want to grow can use freelancers, virtual assistants, and contract workers. 

Selling to people in other countries

Going into new markets is another way to grow your brand. That could mean finding new customers in the same sales markets you already have or selling to people in other countries. Do your research on global eCommerce before you jump in with both feet. Each country will have its own rules to follow. Before you sell in or open up locations or warehouses abroad, you should talk to a lawyer.

Start a business, design a life 

You did it! You're now a boss, and you're already working toward your next big goal. You've learned from your mistakes and gained knowledge along the way to help your business be the best it can be. What's the best part? You've built your life around what you love. Enjoy the ride, and don't forget to take care of yourself. 

How to start a business FAQ?

Can a business be started with no money?  

You can start a business even if you don't have any money. A dropshipping store or a print-on-demand business are two easy ways to start a side business while you're still working. As your business grows, you can pay for it out of your own pocket, get a small business loan, or start a crowdfunding campaign. Use the skills you already have and the tools that are free. 

How do I start a small business of my own? 

In a few steps, you can start your own small business: 
  • Discover your big idea 
  • Research your product and audience 
  • Calculate your startup costs 
  • Source products 
  • Figure out your shipping strategy 
  • Develop a brand strategy and brand identity 
  • Build and launch your website 
  • Register your business 
  • Manage your money 
  • Market your business 
  • Grow your business 

When is the right time to open a business?  

There is no "right" time to start a business. You should start a business when you have enough time, money, and attention to give it. Starting a business while you're still working is a low-risk way to see how things go before you quit your job and go into business for yourself full-time. 

Which small businesses are the most successful?  

Small businesses that sell the right product to the right customer at the right time tend to do their best. They are run by their founders, who know their market and have made a strong brand to fit it. You can be successful in any industry with any type of business model, as long as you put in the time to figure out if your idea will work. Before you start, decide what "success" means to you and build your business plan around that goal.

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89 Responses

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