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Want To Start A New Business? 12 Important First Steps

Newcomers to the world of business ownership may have a hard time navigating all the requirements and challenges of setting up their first company. If you’re just starting out, finding another founder who has been through it and can provide sound advice may be worthwhile. With industries evolving so quickly these days, though, it could be difficult to find someone who understands your target market very well.

When planning to open a new business, the first steps you take are crucial. Making smart decisions from the get-go can give you an advantage, as you can get up and running that much sooner. To help, 12 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council shared key first steps to take to ensure that your company achieves long-term success.

1. Look At Your Current Habits

The best place to start is to take a look at your current habits. Are you good at setting goals? Running a successful business relies on the ability to set goals early and often. Set the bar high, break those goals down into smaller objectives and then evaluate progress at regular intervals. This is a tried-and-true method for growing a company that is able to both adapt and seize opportunities. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

2. Check Your Idea With Different People

Check your idea with at least ten different types of people. It’s important in the beginning to gather a bunch of feedback and ideas about what you would like to learn and how you would like to do it. That’s the key to creating great results here, and it’s better than trying to do it alone. Ideally, the closer the person aligns with your ideal buyer, the better their input may be for your business. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.

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3. Define Your Niche And Goal

Start by defining your niche and your goal. As a quick example, you might want to start a mobile app that targets middle-aged folks looking for ways to save and invest for retirement. In that example (which is completely generic), you’ve defined who you want to target, what you want to offer to them and the perceived value of your product. Those are the main keys to your success. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Find One Customer

You only need one customer to start your business. When that customer is satisfied and happy, you can go find more customers like them. Forget about all the distractions, such as setting up an LLC, thinking up a name and getting a website, business cards, an office space, etc.—just find that first customer! – David boehl,

5. Research Your Competitors

First, I would thoroughly research your competitors. Look at what’s already going on in your industry and identify how your offering will be better than what’s available, either in price, quality or novelty. Then you’ll go into sourcing, legalities, business models and finance, but it’s important to start with what’s happening in your market niche to see if your idea is worth investing in. – Mark Stallings, Casely, Inc

6. Put Everything In Writing

You will engage with a lot of people moving forward. To avoid inconsistencies and communication or trust issues, have everything in writing to protect yourself and be accountable for every decision you make. Plan ahead, but be realistic enough that you can stick to plans that are feasible at the moment. Always be accountable and responsible. – Daisy Jing, Banish

7. Talk To Founders Of Similar Businesses

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The highest return on your time spent will be to talk to founders of similar businesses. Good questions to ask include: “What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business? And, in hindsight, would you do it all over again?” Most founders had mentors who helped them when they got started and are happy to pay the favor forward, particularly if you find ways to help them as well. – Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

8. Set Up Dependable Systems

For people just starting out in the business world with their own venture, one of the most important first steps is setting up dependable, well-organized systems for each aspect of the business: marketing, sales, accounting and the performing of the work. Without solid business systems, the entire operation will always be less efficient at turning capital into new revenue. – Richard Fong, Automatic Growth

9. Start Selling As An Affiliate

There are many approaches, but one simple way to start is by selling products or services as an affiliate. You can do this even if you plan to create your own product later on. With affiliate marketing, you already have the product, and often the marketing materials, ready to go. This is a good way to get your feet wet with marketing and earn some commissions. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

10. Build A Bridge Business First

Realize that it’s okay to build a bridge business at the start, which is something that acts as a bridge between where you are and where you want to go. That can help you test out ideas, build skills and find out what you enjoy in more of a low-stakes environment. Then, it’s easier to pivot to things that are bigger and more involved because you’ve already got a foundation to start from. – Sean Ogle, Location Rebel

11. Know Your Purpose

The foundation of a strong and focused business rests on its purpose. So the first thing you should do is ask yourself what the “why” of your business is. I also suggest reading Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. Define your values and the overarching goal of your business: what drives you to make it work every single day. This is critical because your purpose will guide all other activities. – Syed Balkhi |, WPBeginner

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12. Create What Your Audience Wants

The first step in getting a business started is to think about who your audience is. From there, you can create a relevant product or service and niche down. But it all starts with your audience and what they want from your business. Many business owners create their business with themselves in mind instead of their customers, and this is a huge mistake. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

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