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5 Key Steps to Start Your Own Small Business

Author: Ethan Harris

Helping build any business is hard, but when a person starts his own, it is extremely difficult. Anyone who starts his own small business need to be savvy, intelligent and have a high tolerance for risk and conviction in his belief. In addition, any aspiring entrepreneur needs to follow a defined set of steps to be successful. Below are five steps every person should follow if wanting to start a small business and become a successful entrepreneur:

1. Do the Research

Regardless of whether a person wants to start a small business or a large one, the first step is to do the research. Doing the research means learning about different industries in an attempt to identify problems or pain points that can be solved. If someone has a background in finance, for example, but wants to start his own small business, the first step is to learn about unfamiliar industries. This provides a fresh perspective and allows him to identify problems that might go unnoticed by people too close to the industry itself. Research anything and everything. You never know where the next business idea may originate.

2. Build a Business Plan

Once a problem is identified, create a business plan in such a way that it adds value and solves the problem. For example, if a person has a background in finance, maybe he successfully identifies a problem in the health care sector or industry. It may be extremely hard for patients to book a doctor's appointment, and there has not been a solution from within the industry. Taking a fresh approach, the business plan to solve this problem is to create a Web application that streamlines the booking process. The business plan needs to specifically outline the problem and the proposed solution.

3. Talk to Customers

After identifying a problem in a specific industry and creating a business plan that can potentially solve it, validate the idea and business plan. It is possible to do this by picking up the phone and calling the types of potential customers who face the identified problem. With the health care example, speak with both doctors and patients and ask if a Web app for appointment bookings would be useful for both parties.

4. Implement the Idea

If the idea and business plan has been validated by speaking with customers in the industry, it is time to implement the idea and business plan. This is where a lot of small business owners falter, as there is a lot of perceived risk in taking a business from the planning stages to the implementation stage. If a small business owner has followed the previous three steps, however, the overall risk should be reduced due to the fact that the idea and business plan have already been validated by potential customers.

Next you must actually sell the product or service to the very same customers you spoke with to validate the idea. It is even possible to presell the business idea prior to building or creating anything, allowing a small business owner's customers to fund the operations.

5. Iterate as Time Goes on

The one constant when building any business is change. Every step can be followed to perfection and every idea can be fully validated, yet things still do not go according to plan. It is important for any small business owner to understand this possibility.

Step five is to iterate and pivot as time goes on; maybe the market opportunity for streamlined doctor appointment bookings is not as big as previously thought. Through the process of building the business, however, it is possible to gain further insight and iterate to take advantage of an even greater opportunity.

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