It’s hard to believe 2021 is almost over—but here we are. And if you’ve been thinking about starting a small business for a while, then the upcoming year could be the perfect time. But I totally get that it can be hard to know where to start, so let’s walk through five important tips that will help you make that small-business dream a reality in 2022.
Define Your Why
The purpose behind your business will fuel you when times get tough (and they will). So, take plenty of time to get quiet, journal if that’s your thing, and reflect on why this business idea is important to you—and how it could help people out there in the marketplace. Trust me, once you have clarity on this, the rest of the steps get a whole lot easier.
Make a Business Plan
Now it’s time to start the planning stage. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when it comes to the details of your business plan:
- What product or service will you offer? In other words, what problem do you want to solve? Anything you sell or provide should make your customers’ lives better in some way.
- What schedule will you work? The great part about having your own small business is that you get to make your own hours. Just remember to be realistic based on the type of business you want.
- What will your budget be? I would never recommend someone go into debt or make any other risky financial moves to start their business. Make sure you think through all the costs ahead of time. And don’t expect to make a ton of money when you’re first getting off the ground.
- How much will you charge? Doing market research and considering the cost of your materials can help you figure out prices that are fair to both you and your customers.
- What will your policies be? Try to think through all the possible scenarios (like returns, order cancellations, etc.) and come up with some simple but firm rules you can post on your website.
Once you have the business basics planned out, get ready to make it official.
Take Care of the Formal Details
You’ll need to get a business license and choose what type of business you want to run (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, or S corporation). I know all of that can sound confusing, but if you’re looking to start a small business that you’ll run yourself, a sole proprietorship will most likely be the way to go.
You’ll also want to plan for taxes by understanding what’s expected of you as a small-business owner. The type of business you start and whether or not you have employees will be two huge factors in how and when you do your taxes. Talking to a tax professional can really help you with these not-so-fun details.
Create a Marketing Plan
Think about everything from how you want your brand to look and sound to how you’re going to tell people about your products or services. A few marketing basics that can help spread the word are a website, social media accounts, an email list, and in-person events and promos. Your marketing doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, it just needs to be authentic and clearly communicate what you want people to know.
Go for It
Once you have all the details in place, don’t spend too much time waiting for everything to be “just right” before you take the first step forward. It’s OK to start small, but you do have to start. And once you start, don’t give up! There will be ups and downs and rough spots along the way, and it won’t always be easy, but I promise it will be worth it to see the vision of your business come to life.
For more practical tips on starting your small business, check out this article. You’ve got this!