So you’re thinking of starting a business, are you? It’s a very exciting time, especially at the beginning when you’re trying to figure out how to bring all of your ideas together into something that’ll make you money and fulfill you someway in your life. This could be to bring you creative freedom or more time with your family or the ability to travel and work from anywhere. Whatever your reason is, congratulations for deciding that entrepreneurship is something you are ready (or at least willing) to try.
Now, don’t get me wrong… mistakes happen. Bad investments are made, time is wasted, you’ll go in weird directions. Some of it is unavoidable but that’s also how you learn. Which brings me to this post: 5 Things to Do Before You Officially Launch Your Business.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned: the more intentional you are from the beginning, the more direct your path will be towards the success you deserve.
Ya ready?! Let’s jump in.
Step 1: Map out your business model, aka. know how you’re going to make money.
You don’t need to know exactly what those products or services look like yet, but you do need to know how you’re going to be bringing in the dough. But your business model does more than that too. It helps you get clear on who your target customers are, how you’re going to reach them, and what resources you’ll need to be able to offer them all that great value you have to add to their lives. If you’re looking to DIY this, you should check out the Business Model Canvas. It’s awesome.
Step 2: Market Research, aka. validate that your idea has legs.
Unless you’re opening up a waxing or dog-walking business, I don’t mean real legs, of course. I mean: get out there and tell people about your idea. Get their feedback, soak in their suggestions and keep checking back in with that business model from Step 1 to see how it can be improved. To get started with your market research, starting with friends and family is definitely easiest, but eventually you’ll need to get out there and talk to potential future customers/clients. Post on your Facebook or Instagram asking to talk or create a survey for your friends to share around (just be clear in your post about who exactly you need to talk to). Put yourself out there, listen to what people have to say, but remember to always trust your own intuition.
Step 3: Define Your Offers, aka. map it out.
Now that you’ve chatted with your future customers, it’s time to create those perfect products and services for them. Doing this before you launch may seem like a “Duh!” moment, but you’d be surprised. If you’re a service-based business, focussing on one or two “signature” offers that are very focussed on a specific individual tends to sell better than offering many to serve all. Not only that, but it’ll:
- keep you sane
- help you plan ahead
- automate a lot of your processes
because your signature offers don’t vary from client to client. If you’re a product-based business, similar rules apply. Of course you’ll have more specific items to offer and sell, but think about the product lines. Are they aligned with what your business stands for and with who you want to reach?
Point is: it’s easy to get carried away. So map it out before you launch, get clear and stay focused.
Step 4: Register Your Name, aka. claim your place in the market space.
As you’ve been working through what your business will look like, you’ve probably come up with a name by now. So it’s time. Registering your business and your business’ name is different in every country. In Canada, if you plan on going in as a sole proprietorship (you’re the only owner), and you plan on operating as anything other than your personal name, you need to register your business name with your province.
Incorporating is a little bit different, as is a partnership, but you can learn about the differences here. In the US, there are other forms of business structures like an LLC, which is basically a sole proprietorship, but your personal assets aren’t on the line.
Anyway, back to names! Once you have your name locked in, you should buy that domain name. While you don’t necessarily need a website before you launch (you can totally start getting clients or customers before you even have a website through Facebook groups, conferences, etc.), you will want one eventually. The sooner you claim yours, the less chance you have of losing it to someone else. You can grab your domain from sites like GoDaddy.com or if you purchase hosting through sites like Bluehost, you often get a free domain with it (recommended if you plan on building a site, not using a self-hosted builder like Wix. Shopify or Squarespace).
Step 5: Prepare Your Launch, aka. get the word out there.
Probably one of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is constantly having to push yourself out of your comfort zone. This means asking people for the sale, putting yourself out there, going on Live video, and more. As you get ready to tell the world about your new business idea, it goes a long way to be prepared. Here are some ways you can get ready to share your brilliant idea:
- Create list of people in your personal network to outreach to and ask for them to share it (or recommend anyone that they might know who you could help or service)
- Draft a few emotional Facebook posts, sharing your journey of how you go to where you are today, what led you to this new venture, etc.
- Research potential partnerships with influencers or industry experts to help share the word on launch day.
The biggest skill an entrepreneur develops as their business grows is creative problem solving and resourcefulness. Your first taste of this will be when you’re creating your launch plan and getting ready for the big, official day.
Now, these steps are a fraction of what needs to get done before you launch your business, but they’re definitely some of the most important. To truly get a business up and running, it takes intentional action, passion, commitment and resilience. If you’re about to get started, but aren’t totally sure where to start, grab your free copy of our Idea to Entrepreneur Roadmap.