Thanks to a thriving economy, the number of entrepreneurs is growing tremendously. In fact, an upwards of 67% of people under 35 already have their own business or are considering doing so, according to a recent study published by Bentley University.
But you can’t just decide to open a business overnight. There’s a lot of strategic planning and execution that’s involved. From developing a comprehensive marketing strategy to hiring the right employees to drive small business sales, entrepreneurs must build a solid foundation if they wish to generate a decent return on investment.
Below are a few steps first time business owners should take before they can expect to see their small business sales soar:
1. Secure Enough Funding
The first step in launching a successful small business is to secure enough funding to run your operations. After all, you can’t hire sales or marketing help without sufficient capital. Before you approach a bank, make sure that your personal finances are in order. It’s common for banks to dig into an individual’s personal finances—e.g. background checks and credit reports—before they consider lending them a hand.
2. Perform Market Research
Before you can create a business plan or develop a value proposition, you must perform market research to clearly understand how your company will compete in its respective space. Conducting competitive analysis not only helps you understand the likelihood of your offering generating demand, but it also allows you to spot future trends, uncover new areas of opportunities, and have a clear roadmap of how to get from fledgling startup to burgeoning business.
3. Create a Comprehensive Business Plan
First time business owners often underestimate the importance of a crafting a sound business plan. But conceptualizing a formal business plan is extremely important, as it will serve as your roadmap, helping guide you through your journey to starting a business. Your plan should include everything from a list of your competitors to employee guidelines to revenue benchmarks.
4. Develop a Compelling Value Proposition
Another important step in building a foundation for your small business is developing a compelling value proposition, or a qualifying statement that clearly explains how you intend to serve and benefit your target market. Your value proposition is what will attract consumers to your business and set you apart from the competition.
5. Hire a Marketing Specialist
Most entrepreneurs believe that the key to success is hiring a sales team full of killer representatives. Before you can close sales, however, one must create demand for your product, which is where marketing comes into play. Before hiring a sales team, bring on a marketing specialist who will help you develop a solid marketing strategy that will attract prospects. Such a strategy will account for the most effective marketing vehicles to leverage—from email marketing to blogging to PR—as well as the messaging that will resonate most clearly with your demographic.
Launching a new business inevitably comes with a degree of risk. In fact, enjoying small business success overnight is rare. According to research, 60% of start-ups only survive up to three years, while roughly 35% make it to 10 years.
So how will you put yourself in the 35% who enjoy a favorable outcome?