As you're looking to start a small business, you work tirelessly to identify pain points to ease and problems to solve. You develop a business plan around how you could service a specific type of customer. Eventually, the only thing left to do is launch — but how do you know you're truly ready?
To successfully start a small business, strive to reach these five important goals before your launch date:
1. Establish Your Mission and Purpose
Why does your company exist? Why do you provide the services or products you offer? You need to understand the purpose behind your actions and decisions if you want your company to succeed at the beginning (and beyond).
Your mission statement should go beyond "to provide great customer service." Consider using online resources — like this free lesson created by Simon Sinek — if you need guidance crafting a mission, purpose or vision statement that best suits your budding business.
2. Get the Right People on Your Team
The people you surround yourself (and your company) with have a major impact on whether your launch works or flops. Think about who would be on your dream team to support you.
If you can't hire full-time employees yet, consider looking for part-time workers, contractors or freelancers. You don't necessarily need to seek out people with the most experience or best schooling. Instead, look for people who are passionate about the work you do and the people you serve. Team members who strongly agree and identify with your mission statement will be the best fit.
3. Focus on the Early Advocates Who Love Your Brand
You don't need to line up a million potential customers who are excited about your business before you launch. Depending on the size of your business, you just need 10, 100 or 1,000 devoted fans (who may be your friends and family in the beginning). Make it your goal to focus in on this small group — nurture and delight them to earn their loyalty and keep them coming back. It's not too soon to firmly establish your business brand and start sharing it with your local and virtual communities. Your early advocates can help by talking about your company to everyone they know.
4. Create an Initial Marketing Plan
Work with other business owners to promote your launch and find ways to add value for potential customers. Can you offer opening day deals? First-week discounts? Do you want to collaborate with other brands to throw a fun launch party and invite people into your new space? Figuring out these things now helps you create the reputation you want to maintain once you officially launch. Once you've gotten over that initial push you can take your learnings to create a more in-depth and long-term marketing plan for your business.
5. Develop the Culture You Believe In
Once you have the mission established, and the team dedicated to fulfilling it, you want to keep the good vibes going by developing a clearly defined company culture. Culture can make or break a small business after launch (and once it starts growing exponentially), so don't skip this step. When designing the culture you want at your company, consider the following:
- What systems or processes can you set up that reflect your purpose and values?
- How can you foster better communication and transparency within your business?
- Do you want your team to help you develop your culture? If so, how will you solicit and act on their ideas and feedback?
If you can, check all these boxes. You will find yourself better prepared to launch your new venture. You will succeed at starting a small business and also running it.