We have curated contributions from entrepreneurs and industry leaders on their experience starting their businesses.
When starting my business, it was great to have a mentors and supporters, but one of the most important people to have on my side was another new business owner. We went through the same steps of creating our business plan side by side, rebranding, creating marketing plans from scratch and so much more. We were not even in the same industry, but we both developed our businesses on a similar timeline, so we could share resources and ideas with each other through each stage.
I started my current company 12 years ago with a simple need to sleep better. All I wanted to do was satisfy a personal need for a good night's
sleep without heavy drugs or possibility of an addiction or dependence. Our first product was an all-natural sleep aid I had researched and developed. So for me, for us, all you need to start a business is a need that isn't getting met by current market options.
Many people skimp on branding, but it's incredibly important to get it right and find a designer and/or branding expert that knows what they're doing. Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself when creating your branding include 1) Who is my target audience? 2) What do you want your branding identity to communicate? 3) What are your brand goals?
The one thing you really need to start a business is resilience. This is more important than the right idea, connections, team, funding, etc. Those
things are all important, but they won't be enough without the ability to get back up again after you've been knocked down. Every single business will face tough times at one time or another, but how you handle them can be the difference between going under and thriving.
The good news is that resilience is not a static trait. You can train yourself to have more or less of it. Although it might seem cliche things like meditating, eating right, exercising and taking a break will all increase your resilience. Whereas things like stress, poor diet, overwork, etc can reduce it. And if you're not sure if you have enough of it or not ask yourself this one simple question. Do I want to start a business during one of the worst financial crises of the last century? If the answer is yes, then you probably have what it takes.
You need to be able to describe the unique value proposition of your company in less than 60 seconds. My suggestion is to make a short video of yourself talking about what you do and why potential customers should do business with you. Show it to people without describing your business first. See if they can articulate your message back to you after seeing the video. If the answer is yes, you have passed the test.
Many companies believe that a brand identity is just a logo. This is far from the truth, and it involves many elements such as your corporate colours, typography and more - all of which have an impact on how easy you make it for your customers to recognize your brand amongst the competition.
As a start-up, having a well-crafted brand identity not only helps with brand recognition, it gives a sense of quality and trust that your customers will value when making their decision to select your services and/or products. It also helps differentiate you from other brands. For example, if all automotive companies had a car as their logo - and used red colours for their colour palette – it would be difficult to distinguish each brand from within the mix. In conclusion, start-ups should focus on building a brand versus a company in-order to succeed in the long-term.
An idea you're deeply passionate about. This seems obvious, but culture has put major pressure on people (especially college students) to create the next unicorn business. But at what cost? Starting a business is hard and you have to be completely obsessed with it even on the worst days in order to push through. There will be a ton of no’s. There will always be believers and non-believers. You have to be your company’s #1 believer. On a similar vein, if you’re not absolutely head over heels in love with your idea, move on. The vast majority of businesses fail. Things will get hard, there will be many moments where quitting looks like the best option. If you’re not passionate about your idea, the business won’t go anywhere. Not to mention, no one else will feel passionate about it either!
The one thing you need to start your business is a purpose that is bigger than yourself. And I'm not talking about making money. I'm talking about making a positive impact on our planet. Denzel Washing famously said Don't just aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference. And he's 100% right with that. What our planet needs is not yet another company selling products in an attempt to enrich the owner. What we all need are people dedicated to solving actual problems and making our planet a better place.
The beauty: Having a purpose which is bigger than your own wallet drives you to get out of bed in the morning and to stand tall when times get tough. It makes you a more efficient leader, a more successful founder and a better human in general. So when thinking about starting a business, make sure to ask yourself: How does my business benefit others and our planet? What will I proudly tell my grandchildren that I have achieved in this life? It makes all the difference. To you, your employees and your customers.
One thing I think many people forget about (I know I did) is: How are you going to securely transfer files with clients and vendors? When I started
working with clients, I realized I had forgotten this all- important piece of the remote work puzzle. At first, the question seems simple. After all, cloud drive storage is both prevalent and cheap. But most cloud storage solutions are meant for personal or intra-company use. They don't scale well when you have to bring in people from outside of the company. You need a system that:
(1) Allows adding and removing users from any email address not just within your company)
(2) Keeping completely separate workspaces
(3) Is end to end encrypted to ensure client privacy
(4) (Optional but highly useful) Integrates with your existing workstream tools and makes syncing files painless. In our case, this means tools like
Microsoft Office and our translation suite, SDL Trados.
The most important thing that you need to start a business is the drive to succeed (determination). Starting a business is tough. It is not always rainbows and butterflies. Struggles with cash flows and customer acquisition are not uncommon when you are starting up. But the successful entrepreneurs are confident in their idea and abilities to deliver. Determined to succeed, shrewd entrepreneurs do not let their spirit wane amid trouble. Instead, they continue to move forward to make progress in the right direction.
I believe you have to have the drive to succeed to start a business. And I couldn't emphasize how important it is to keep that drive alive for as long as possible.
From a marketing perspective, before you start a business it's best to first establish your Brand’s Personality then Determine your Audience. This
will will help you effectively market and brand your business. Just like you, your brand has a personality, and, like you, your brand will attract a certain type of individual. Next, get crystal clear as to who you are talking to and who your target is. If you don’t you will waste both time and money chasing people who aren’t really sure if they want to work with you and this is the fastest way to get ‘burnt out”. Once you've done both, you can now proceed to to design your logo, choose your colors etc as well as market and promote your business the right way.
We all dream about becoming financially free, but many people are struggling to make that happen. Therefore, I've created my brand with a purpose to educate people about how to make, save, and invest money online and enhance their financial situation so that they can live their best life! What you actually need to start a business is the will to sacrifice and put in some efforts to make it happen! A lot of people just quit too early! Set goals, be strategic with your steps and approaches because building a successful fruitful business requires constant efforts and patience, and if you have the faith and the will, you'll definitely succeed and hit your goals. And always remember, dreams without actions will just remain dreams!
As an accountant whose clientele is predominantly comprised of small businesses, I am in a unique position to evaluate what people need to start
a business. While this is a long ranging debate, the one quality that I have found to be universal among successful business people is someone who is constantly alert to opportunities and identifies them as they arise. Most importantly, once an opportunity has been identified , they take the initiative to act upon it when it makes sense to do so. This doesn't mean that they hound everyone at a party with their great business idea or send out unwanted solicitations to people in their network. Rather it is a finely honed sense which develops over time and with experience, and becomes part of their business intuition. This is someone who is able to notice a trend in its early stages or identify a business prospect or leverage an existing client who is looking to scale their organization and then takes the necessary actions to benefit their business. While there are a number of us who can, in the comfort of our armchairs, identify opportunities, we are often reluctant to act for fear of failure or embarrassment. A successful business owner is able to overcome fear this and do what is necessary to turn the opportunity into a tangible result.
There are the conventional things you need to start a business such as a name, a website, etc. To really start a business you need to have grit.
Contrary to what you see on TV and the movies, startups can be hard and have lots of ups and downs. To be able to start a business it will require you to dig deep and have grit.
One important consideration when starting a business is building a sales funnel. Businesses are realising the potential and capability of sales funnels. A sales funnel is probably more important than a website and allows you to quickly generate leads and sales, both of which are critical for a new business. The great thing about sales funnels is that any entrepreneur can learn how to build them without any tech experience. Most funnel building software provide multiple templates that can be quickly customized into functional and automated sales funnels. A landing page is designed to collect customer information by integrating an email autoresponder service. This allows a new business to build a list that can be primed for email marketing. The rest of the funnel takes a lead through a process in which offers are presented in a manner that is likely to turn them into buying customers. There is a psychology behind sales funnels which a website will find very difficult to duplicate. They are inherently more likely to grow and scale a business much quicker than a traditional website.
My name is Diane Eisenstein, and I am a professional organizer at The Tidy Abode.
Vinay Amin is the CEO and Founder of Eu Natural.
I’m the CEO of Inspire360 and I’m passionate about providing an all-in-one platform that helps the top wellness and fitness companies/experts deliver their education to larger audiences. After being a founder, CEO, and executive at some of the most notable companies in the wellness and fitness industry for over 14 years (with 3 acquisitions), I’m now focused on working with companies and experts within the industry to useInspire360’s specialized learning management system to deliver beautifully branded online courses, certifications, workshops, and subscriptions. We’ve delivered over 1.5 million courses/certifications and enjoy helping our clients maximize their exposure with unprecedented distribution channels.
Ian Wright is the founder of British Business Energy an energy comparison and information website that helps small businesses save money and reduce their energy usage. It was one of the first websites to publish clear pricing information online, which most other websites avoided doing. The goal was to help make prices more transparent so businesses could get a better energy deal. Prior to founding British Business Energy, he worked in the solar, payment and travel industries.
When he's not working on saving small businesses money he likes to spend time with his two young kids, go running, and drink huge quantities of coffee. He's also an avid map fan and has even published a book abut some cool ones called: Brilliant Maps: An Atlas for Curious Minds. He can't wait to be able to travel again so he can show his kids the world.
Marc Prosser is a senior executive with experience growing a company from a start-up to a category leader. After joining a small financial technology start-up as the firm’s Chief Marketing Officer the company became the number one retail forex broker (FDM) in the United States.
Nilesh Gohil is the Founder and CEO of BILDE, a brand identity agency located in Ontario, Canada. With over 15 years of experience in creating brand identity systems – for start-ups to enterprises – he is also certified with the Canadian Marketing Association in integrated branding.
Liz builds companies that tackle taboo topics. She founded her first social venture at age 15 focused on dating abuse and domestic violence education in schools. The org has been running (on its own) for nearly half her life. After graduating with a BBA from Parsons the New School for Design, she ran Special Projects for DoSomething.org, one of the largest global orgs for teens and social change. Then, she joined the founding team of Crisis Text Line as the Director of Communications. She oversaw brand, PR, marketing, strategic partnerships and business development--- growing the org to 12,000 volunteers, 76 million messages, in 3 countries. After 7 years, she left Crisis Text Line to launch Lantern, a venture backed Public Benefit Corporation on a mission to change the way we talk about and manage end of life and death.
Liz earned a Masters of Science in Strategic Communications from Columbia University in 2019. She is an active volunteer and Board member for Experience Camps, a one-week free summer camp for children who've lost a loved one. She is also co-author of XYZ Factor: The DoSomething.org Guide to Creating a Culture of Impact published in Feb. 2015, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and committee member for the Dying Well Initiative of the Global Wellness Summit. In her free time, she is on a global search for the spiciest food.
Chris has worked and lived on five different continents to date. He earned his first online dollars location independently in 2006, long before the term digital nomad had been coined. In 2018 he started Click A Tree, an initiative to make sustainability dead-simple. Click A Tree allows both individuals and companies to plant trees by clicking their mouse from the comfort of their screen. Sustainability won't get much easier than this.
Jay Allen is the Publisher of Unseen Japan and the owner of UJ Media Services . Jay has worked in the IT industry for 25+ years for companies such as Kodak, Amazon, and Microsoft, among others. A software developer by training, Jay has spent the past seven years on large-scale technical training for Fortune 500 IT companies, supporting mass unattended training online and large-scale, in-person training events such as AWS re:Invent.
Now a copywriter, WordPress publishing expert, and Japanese to English translator, Jay leads UJ Media Services, which focuses on end-to-end Web site creation and management, Japanese translation, and Japan business consulting. Jay loves using his diverse skill set and unbounded energy to help businesses promote their products and services by uniting content with technology. Jay and his wife split their time between Seattle, WA and Tokyo, Japan, and spent their free time cooking delicious food and trying new Japanese sakes.
Ayesha Ambreen is a creative content strategist, graphic designer, and writer. Best known for creating visual content ideas and brand campaigns, Ayesha’s work has been featured on blogs such as Smashing Magazine, CreativePro, 99Designs, Icons8, Lifehacker, and more. When she is not writing, she loves spending her time drawing snap arts and reading books.
I am Carla Williams Johnson and my company Carli Communications offers advertising and marketing advice to entrepreneurs and business owners who are interested in building a business in the ‘real world’. I consider myself an advocate for business men and women who were desirous of promoting themselves by offering sound, unbiased advice, focusing mainly on methods to identify ideal clients, online and offline approaches to boosting visibility and the creation of practical marketing campaigns designed to increase revenue.
I'm an internet marketer who've been teaching people to start and grow their online business. I'm a digital marketing and dropshipping expert who has raised multiple successful online businesses. I've recently established the EcomDimes blog to help people worry less about money, and have written about Logo.com's affiliate program on my Ecom Dimes blog explaining how you can make money from logo design referrals.
At EcomDimes, we are committed to delivering real value to our readers by writing unique and evergreen content.
My name is Ronika Khanna and I am the founder of Montreal Financial, which provides accounting, tax and financial advisory services to small businesses, startups and freelancers. After having worked as an accounting professional for several companies in Montreal and Bermuda, including PwC and ING, I found that my job satisfaction as an employee working for someone else, despite being paid well, was diminishing,. This led me on the journey to starting my own business which would allow me to interact directly with my client base and ultimately, help them solve their problems. When I left my job, I did not have any clients or prospects, however I did have a financial cushion and a strong motivation to succeed. I also knew that as a CPA, I would likely be able to find another job if my attempts failed. Luckily, after putting in a great deal of effort and learning a lot from my mistakes, I was able to build a successful business.
Devin Miller here, Patent & Trademark lawyer and the Founder, CEO and Managing Partner of Miller IP Law. As a patent and trademark law firm, we never charge clients for questions and work on a flat fee rate. We help small businesses and startups protect their ideas, products and brands.
I am the author of 'The Smart & Common Sense Investor', a roadmap for both the novice and amateur investor, to learn the principles behind building personal wealth from long term investment. I am also an entrepreneur and the founder of several businesses. My company Author Lead Machine helps authors, writers, bloggers and online course creators generate readers and sales by transforming their social media profiles.
I provide training for entrepreneurs and businesses on how to use sales funnels to boost traffic, sales and profits. I help business owners with the skills and strategies to create, build and grow profitable online businesses through sales funnels, social media & email marketing, business automation, copywriting and email marketing. I also invest in early stage businesses primarily through crowdfunding platforms. My blog smartlongterminvestor.com is where I write about and promote various business and entrepreneurial tools and products.