Starting a small business can be both a daunting and exhilarating task, but it does not need to be a cause of anxiety. Doing anything for the first time is often accompanied by a fear of the unknown. Today, we have teamed up with consultant and champion of women’s forums in Florida, Teresa Wolande to dispel any fears you might have. As a retired insurance and international risk management professional, Teresa Wolande is now using her expertise to help other women.
One of the first steps to starting a business is to assess everything from why you are doing this to being honest about your readiness and skillset. Starting a business is a big deal, and being able to identify your motivations, skillset, and experience is crucial to getting started. Addressing the primary concern of “What am I willing to do to be successful?” will be fundamental to your growth. Teresa Wolande explains that starting a business will mean fewer social outings, less personal time, and 60 to 80-hour weeks. Starting and running a successful business is about getting your mind ready for the task ahead. Once you have mentally addressed all your motivations and concerns, it is time to move onto a business plan.
The second step is to build a business plan. This plan will include everything from market analysis, forecasting, target demographics, risks, strengths, weaknesses, brand awareness, and more. Working through the development of this plan will allow you to understand your operational and financial goals, providing crucial budget and marketing strategies. Teresa Wolande states that the main reason for doing a business plan is that it can help you avoid pouring your time and money into something that will not succeed. There are dozens of business plan templates online that will allow you to assess all the associated options and risks before you start your business. It is important to keep in mind that the market research you do when you write a business plan is going to have to be re-evaluated every couple of months, to ensure that you do not fall behind the industry and remain fresh and innovative.
Now comes the fun part: branding! Being able to build a brand vision is arguably the most exciting parts of starting a business. When you work through your business plan, you will likely develop a clear vision of who your target demographic is, and how your unique brand fits into that market. Being able to create a logo, website, and social media presence that adheres to this brand vision and voice will be crucial as you launch your products or services. Teresa Wolande explains that some of the decisions you make at this stage will be with you for the next couple of years, including your name, logo, tagline, website domain, and more — so do not rush through this part and make sure you ask other people for their impressions and constructive criticism before you finalize anything.
Finally, surround yourself with competent people. This may sound like a no brainer, but the people you put in place near the beginning of your businesses launch are going to either be assets or dead weight when your business starts to grow. Surrounding yourself with talented people will be the key to sustained growth and will allow you to establish your company culture right from the beginning. Try and find people who are passionate about their speciality, and allow them free reign to be creative, trusting them with the task you hired them to do.