Creating a business from zero is one of the biggest challenges someone can have. The first step into this world is to get yourself prepared for a new and long journey. There are many ideas about leadership and businesses, but there are no standards and paths that are a surefire way to success. However, there are certain aspects that need to be assumed, clarified and tested when starting a business.

One of the main things that sets the best from the rest is proper preparation prior to embarking on the entrepreneurial journey. And that means also considering the possibility that your business might fail and you might lose thousands of dollars on the way. If you’re willing to consider the business a lesson as much as a means to prosperity, then you’re good to go.

Here are 10 actionable pieces of advice that apply for anyone who wishes to embark on an entrepreneurial journey.

A positive mindset

A good business idea should raise your level of motivation and make you want to become a better professional. It really helps if you’re passionate about what you’re doing because it minimizes the risk of burning out.

In addition to motivation, self-confidence is very important to prepare you for the rocky road that lies ahead. It helps you treat every little obstacle or failure like a lesson and that belief in yourself will lead you to find the needed solutions. When starting a business, you have to be mentally prepared for things not going as planned. Do not expect immediate results. Invest time and do all your best to accomplish your plan step by step.

Research comes first

If you are willing to start a business, it is essential to choose the right industry for you according to competition, profitability and long-term prognosis of the market. After selecting the most suitable, explore it and find insights that will help you set your business plan.

Analyze your competition

Study your competition, both offline and online and find specific information about how those businesses are working, look for detailed information about prices, products or services and customer service.

Test your competition’s services or products to find out their strengths and weaknesses.

Visit their websites, read articles and reviews related to them. Again, spot the strong spots and weak spots.

Subscribe to their newsletter to receive information about their products and services. See what could be improved.

Check out their physical locations for yourself and test their products or services if applicable.

Sign up for e-mail alerts about search terms on Google News which will track many news sources that you can study.

Shape your business idea

Think about the viability of your business idea, make your own vision and choose the values that suit your business. Ask for feedback and advice from your acquaintances and family to improve your ideas and strategy.

Choose a name for your business

Brainstorm ideas, gather information from all the people you discussed with and list all the ideas. Integrate all the data, make a final list of values and shape of your final business idea. Then, choose the best name for your business. Also, think about what your brand will communicate to your customers.

Set up your budget

Other essential aspects that you should take into consideration are your personal financial resources. Think about the amount of capital you’re willing to invest. Try to predict costs, then double that number and you have you cost budget. Don’t forget that you will face unpredicted costs along the way.

You may apply for a small business loan or look for an investor. In this case, you’ll need a good story and numbers to back your predicted success.

Find a mentor

Mentors have a strong background in business and a lot of experience and knowledge. Establish which are your primary needs and make a list with the type of mentors you are looking for. Try to identify people with relevant experience and approach them. It is also a good idea to look within your acquaintances, family, friends, and academic community.

Learn marketing fundamentals

Make a foundation of marketing strategies so you’ll be able to build your business from zero. You’ll have to clearly understand who your customers are, what are their needs and expectations and how to properly communicate and deliver value.

Test your business idea

Do some testing to see how your business would work. You can try surveys, polls and focus groups to gain more insights related to your business idea. You can also ask for feedback by using online survey tools to better know your customers. You can test your website conversion by investing a few dollars in AdWords and see how targeted traffic behaves on your site.

Be on the lookout for new talent

When you are taking part at events, going out somewhere or travelling, you have the possibility to meet new people. Be open, try to find out more about them, their values and passions as well as their professional status and dreams. Some of them could be great members for the team you’ll develop later.

When creating a team, it is important to look for people whose values are in line with those of your company. And one of the best solutions is to search for them within your own network of friends and acquaintances.

Author: Michael Schoeff, inventor of an innovative potty training system called the Pup Pee Poo Palace, has experienced considerable success in the pet industry due to his passion for pets and his ambition to innovate. Past experiences made him the man he is today and, like most entrepreneurs, he did not come across success overnight.

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