"What are the steps to starting a business?"
We're glad you asked! We get this question a lot, and we're excited every time. It shows us that so many people have ambitions to become entrepreneurs. But not knowing where to start, means not starting at all.
Truth be told, there's no right way to set up a business. When it all comes down to it, all you have to do is take the first step. That being said, building a startup takes a lot of work - no matter if you want to start a small business from home, or want to be the next Google.
To help you get started, we've created this guide.
We included every step we can think of to bring you all the way from finding the right idea to scaling the business. There are, no doubt, more things we could have included, but if you go through each of the steps below, we promise you will have a business by the end. Or just browse through to find the advice you are looking for.
Buckle up! It's going to be a long and bumpy - but hopefully inspiring ride.
When you're done reading, you'll know
- How to find the right idea for your startup
- How to turn that idea into a business
- What rules, regulations, and administrative tasks to be aware of
- What to consider when you launch
- How to grow your startup
- 7. Business ideas for starting a business at home
And a lot more...
Ask yourself if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur
Let's start with a hard one... Do you have what it takes?
Becoming an entrepreneur is hard work. But being an entrepreneur is way harder. Getting where you want to go - and staying there - will require truckloads of blood, sweat and tears. No matter if you're going to start a makeup line or have a unicorn worthy idea for a tech startup, you will have to make sacrifices, do things you have no idea how to do and put in the hours - even when you don't feel like it.
Being an entrepreneur requires some specific skills - or at least having them will make things much easier. Luckily, skills can be learned, so even if you don't have them already, you can train your entrepreneurial muscles 💪
We've gathered five skills you need to be an entrepreneur:
- You act
- You embrace failure
- You care
- You have a high level of motivation and keep going even when you are not
- You take risks
If you want to know how to acquire these skills, dive into this course: Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
Find the right idea
If no one needs what you offer, you don't have a business.
So when you want to find the right business idea, look for a problem to solve - not a product to build. The most successful startups solve real-world problems. What's funny is that many entrepreneurs start with the solution, without really knowing what it is solving 🤷♂️
If you want a head start, you need to find a problem that enough people want to have solved. There are at least two things to be aware of when finding a problem that's worth solving:
- Quantity (how many has it?)
- Urgency (How much does it hurt?).
If you haven't already found the right idea for your business, here are some tips for you:
Listen to the people around you. Ask them what is important to them. Be genuinely curious about it. And every time someone mentions a problem, take notes. Go through your notebook from time to time. Your brain will start getting creative, and at some point, the right idea will begin to unfold.
Find something that frustrates you
Many successful businesses started because the founder had a problem in his or her own life that they couldn't find the right solution to. If you had a problem and would pay to have it fixed, chances are others would too.
Find a better solution
These days, it takes more than a 20th Century Thomas Edison to come up with something that has never been done before. No matter the problem you decide to solve, chances are, there's already a solution on the market for it.
But building a great business is not necessarily about offering a brand new solution. It's about making a better one. Perhaps you've thought of a new technological solution to make life easier for visually impaired people. Or you've found a creative, inexpensive way to import Balinese jewelry to Europe. Or you've modified your grandmothers' tomato sauce recipe and made it cleaner, healthier, and tastier than ever 🍅
Consider why your solution is right and how it's better than what's already out there. Then start testing if it's true.
The importance of creating an online presence is not to be missed. Looking at the UK market, 87 percent of UK households did their shopping online in 2020. Whether your business idea provides a service or a new product, your online presence should be part of the early stages of your business planning. Remember, setting up a new business for an online marketplace makes your business highly scalable and easier to test.
Validate your idea
There's a difference between a good idea that people theoretically would spend money on, and a great idea they will actually buy for real. And here's the catch. You won't know for sure until you put it up for sale.
Still, there are things you can do to check if your solution is one or the other. Here are three steps to follow:
- Test your hypothesis
Ask more people how the problem affects their lives – and really listen. Make sure you fully understand the extent and consequences of the problem. It's not that you have to find a big life-threatening problem. It can just as well be a luxury issue. But if you want to build a business out of it, it needs to be real - not only for one person but also for a group of people.
- Ask people about the solution
The best way to do that is to have something to show them. Depending on the solution, make a sketch, create a wireframe, a mockup or a prototype. Then show it to people who have the problem and ask them if and how they think it will help.
- Listen and adjust
You are building a solution to a problem. In that sense, all that matters is that the people who have that problem believe your solution will help them. So listen to their feedback, collect data, and adjust the plans before you start building the actual product or service.
Here's a full course that'll teach you how to validate your business idea
Finance your startup through bootstrapping
Now that you've made some initial validation of your business idea, it's time to start developing the first version of your solution. To do that, you will probably have to acquire some things like a computer, some equipment or an extra set of hands. To do that, you need money.
Unless you have a huge savings account or a rich uncle somewhere, chances are you will have to scrape dollars together by cutting down on a bunch of stuff in your life.
Financing your business by yourself is called bootstrapping, and for most entrepreneurs, it's a necessary "evil" before things start to take off 🥾 No matter how you will get the money to finance the rise of your startup, you should start making a plan. How much cash can you scrape together and from where? For bootstrapping, here are a few places you can look:
- Cut down on your private spending
- Keep your day job for a while
- Find a co-founder
- Keep your expenses on the low and spend your money wisely
If you're keen on bootstrapping, you will want to give this course a read: 5 ways to bootstrap your business
Create an overview of your idea and business model in a canvas
Now that you have a good business idea in place and have checked that you're not the only one who thinks so, it's time to start turning the idea into an actual business. To do that, you need to find a business model. How is your product going to generate cash? An excellent tool for this is a business canvas 🎨
Popularly speaking, the Canvas works as a very condensed version of a business plan. It will help you confirm that there your idea has business potential and help others understand why it is a good idea - potentially one worth investing in.
The original Business Model Canvas was created by Alexander Osterwalder and is a popular tool among many entrepreneurs. It focuses solely on developing your business model. In these early stages, we suggest you do a business canvas that outlines your entire idea - from problem and solution to market size, business model and team.
A short, one-page canvas provides you with a full overview of your business idea and works great to present it to anyone who needs convincing to come on board. Here's what we suggest goes into your startup canvas:
- The problem
- The solution
- Your unique value proposition
- An introduction to the market
- The business model
- A description of your target customers
- The marketing channels you want to use
- A short outline of your main competition
- An introduction to your team
We've developed a fully guided business canvas. Sign up for Cuttles and start filling it out today!
Find a business name
Now that you've taken the first steps to make your idea a real business, it's time to name the little devil. You may already have something in mind, otherwise here are a few tips for you:
Make it catchy, memorable and simple
Hard-to-spell names will confuse people and possibly lead them somewhere else, even when they are actively trying to find you.
Don't limit your business in the future
Pick a name that lets you scale, take on new markets or change directions without forcing you to change names and possibly lose the strongest part of your brand.
Do an internet search for the name
You don't necessarily have to drop the name just because someone else is already using it. But check up on copyrights and consider the challenges it can bring to use a name that another business uses too.
Buy the domain
Even if you're not going to use it yet, get your hands on the domain ASAP. These days there are a ton of industry-specific domain extensions to buy, like .com, .org, .co and .io. Buy the one you intend to use, and if possible, get the .com domain too. .com domains are popular and generally signals authority. If you don't buy it, someone else might, and that will potentially hurt your brand. If someone else already owns the domain you want, try to negotiate a deal to buy it from them.
Make your elevator pitch
It's not enough to put it in writing. Since you won't always have your canvas with you and don't want to miss an opportunity to introduce your idea to people, you need to have a short verbal presentation ready.
There's always a chance to meet someone who can change your business course for the better. Whether you are at a birthday party or standing in line at the supermarket, you should be ready to introduce your business. In those situations, you don't have time to prepare and you can't spend 30 minutes explaining all the details. So you need an elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a presentation you can do in the time it takes to ride an elevator. It should give just enough information for people to get curious and excited to know more. Keep it between 30-90 seconds (yup, that short!), and make sure to present only the most important and exciting points. Below are three questions to answer in your elevator pitch. Try to answer each of them in one to two sentences. That way, you will manage to keep it short enough.
- What is the problem?
- How will you solve it?
- What value will it bring the people who have the problem?
Research the market and the competition
When you first start building your startup, spending months planning, and strategizing isn't necessary. What you need to do is focus on building something great. But no matter what stage you are at, proper market research is essential. You will need it to know the potential of the business you are starting and if it's worth the effort. So coffee up and get to work! You can divide market research into four sections:
How is the industry doing? How big is it? Is it growing?
- Target market
Who are your customers? How many are there? What do they need?
What other solutions are out there? Why are they good? Where do they need improvement?
What value does your solution add to your customers' life? How much is it worth? If you need a starting point for your pricing thoughts, have another look at your competition. What is the price of their offering?
Evaluate the market with a SWOT analysis
Now that you know the market, it's time to find your place in it. For that, a SWOT analysis is a powerful tool. Use it to assess your own business and the state of the market. This will point you to the spot that's right for your business 🎯
A SWOT analysis investigates the Strengths and Weaknesses of your business (internal) and the Opportunities and Threats in the market (external).
If you have already set a team or one or two co-founders, the SWOT analysis works well as a group exercise. You'll get more perspectives and it encourages people to take responsibility for what you are building.
Start from the top and work your way from the S-to-the-W-to-the-O-to-the-T.
Form your business legally and get necessary permits and licenses
In most countries, forming your business administratively is a pretty straight-forward task, once you get started. Nonetheless, it's important - and for most entrepreneurs also mark the significant milestone of becoming a business owner officially 🥇
While the actual act of registering your business only takes a few clicks, there are also many thoughts to put into it. Depending on what country you're in, you can form different types of businesses, which need to meet different requirements.
Consider things such as:
- Personal liability
- Accounting and tax requirements
- Legal formalities
The more you formalize your business, the more requirements you will have to meet. On the other hand, your personal liability gets smaller - and you definitely want that!'
So, how to register your business? (Following the UK model)
Every country has a different method; the following example is for UK-based business-specific:
There are 3 ways to register a new company officially; sole traders, limited companies, or a partnership.
If you choose to set up your business as a sole trader, you are responsible for your company’s debts and taxes. Therefore, you must keep records of your sales and expenses, income tax, and hand in a Self Assessment every year.
Starting a limited company means that your company finances are separate from your personal finances. However, you are still obligated to keep records of your accounts, performance, and taxes. In this business form, you also are required to pay company taxes.
If you are starting a business with 2 people or more, you then share your business's responsibilities. Partnerships are not limited to people but can also include other companies.
For all the UK models, you will need to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Now, you have completed the official forms and have become an eligible business. Let's get to planning your success!
Set goals create a roadmap and track milestones
Goals give you direction, keep you motivated, and make sure you move forward. You'll need all three to make it in the long run, so you might as well start practicing right now.
But goals won't get you far alone. You need to break them down into actions, put them in a roadmap, and keep track of how far you've come.
When setting goals, a good thing to do is make them SMART. A goal should be Simple, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time Specific. Using this framework will help you set clear goals for what, when, and how to do different tasks.
The actions you break a goal down into are tasks you need to do to reach the goal. Put those tasks into a roadmap along with a time-specific deadline and before you know it, you'll not only have something to aim for but a plan to get there 🛣
Did you know Cuttles has a Roadmap feature that helps your team plan and prioritize your work to reach your goals?
Make a budget - and maintain it
If you spend too much on the wrong things, your startup will crash before you get started. If you spend too little on the right things, you will never go anywhere.
In other words, you need to spend money, but you need to do it wisely. That's why you should make a realistic budget for your startup and continuously maintain that budget to ensure your business is healthy.
You can start by doing a budget for the next year, or if you're up for it, try to forecast what will happen during the next two-three years.
Start by listing all your expenses and divide them into categories like Administration, Marketing, and Technology Stack. Then list your revenue sources and capital if you have received funding or put in some of your own money into your business. Now divide everything into months, and voila - there's your budget.
If you have a bit of skill in that area, you can create and maintain your budget in a spreadsheet. But if you want to make it even simpler and have things such as runway, break-even point, burn rate, earn rate, and total revenue calculated for you, then check out our Finance feature in Cuttles.
Find a co-founder
Having your business all to yourself means maximum freedom and maximum profit, right? In theory, perhaps that's true. But in reality, co-founded startups massively outperform solo-founded ones. So for most founders, getting a co-founder is a godsend 🤝
A great entrepreneur knows her strengths but is also very aware of her weaknesses and how to cover blind spots. The best way to do that is by finding the right co-founder. It can take time to find the right person, but it will be worth it. Make an explicit agreement and put it in writing. Who owns what? Who is responsible for what? What happens if someone wants to leave?
It's better to get these things straight when things are good and everyone is excited. We've heard way too many stories about businesses and relationships that end up suffering from poorly made partnership agreements. Don't let that happen to yours. Make the agreement and then get back to what's truly important.
We've made a course to help you find the right co-founder. Go ahead and check it out!
Write a startup business plan
There's a common misconception that a business plan has to be 30-50 pages long. This causes many business owners to push off the planning. But it doesn't have to be like that.
Just going through the planning process and taking a few notes will do wonders for your startup. Once you get further and you start looking for funding or getting in touch with advisors, you can add more details.
Making a business plan for your startup forces you to think about all the details, helps you set goals, plan actions and make smart decisions. It will also help your business grow faster and make it more likely to succeed.
Check out this course if you want to know what to put in your business plan: How to write a startup business plan
Oh, and by the way. We've developed a business plan template for startups that walks you through each of the sections you should go through. It's packed with guides that make it much simpler and much faster to get your planning done.
Create an investor pitch and a pitch deck
Startup investment comes in series. Pretty soon, you may need a little money. Later you will probably need a lot. Getting funded takes a lot of effort, and you will most likely have to pitch to many investors before you find someone ready to bet on you.
When you start looking for investors, you are going to need a pitch and a pitch deck. An investor pitch typically lasts about 15-20 minutes and your pitch deck should be kept at about 15-20 slides at max. Your startup pitch is meant to be informative, intriguing and show the potential of your business. In other words, it should get investors to open their wallets and throw some dollars your way 💸
You'll have to pick out the most important information, give precisely the right details and wrap everything into a story that gets people on board. To do that, you have to know what investors are looking for. Most of them hear a lot of pitches in a year and they will only invest in very few. So you, your business and your pitch need to stand out from the crowd.
Feel the build-up? If you want to know how to make your pitch that stands out and what investors are looking for, this is the course for you: How to create a startup pitch that gets you funded
Tools & resources to develop your idea and build your startup
Create your canvas. Write your business plan. Do your finances. Get startup schooled and present everything to anyone. It’s simpler, faster and more impactful than ever to start a business
Getting Things Done
With this book David Allen started a movement. GTD is the result of a life long urge to identify patterns and create models that work universally. In this book you will get Allen’s world famous approach to getting things done - in business and in life.
The Name App
Before you get too attached to the name of your idea, use The Name App to search and see if it has available domains and usernames on all platforms.
Start building your brand and marketing your solution
It's never too early to become a tiny bit exhibitionistic on behalf of your product. After all, you will pretty soon be releasing the answer to all your customers' prayers, right?
Nothing can kill the vibes of a launch like crickets. But that is what will happen if you wait to tell people about your solution until you are ready to launch. On the other hand, wouldn't it be great to have a book full of orders come launch day? You will be dancing all the way to the bank.
So when is it time to start building some buzz? Now!
There are a lot of things you can include in your prelaunch strategy. Depending on your business, your product and how much you dare to let your inner peacock loose, here are some things to throw yourself into:
- Start blogging
- Build a social media presence
- Write articles, guest blog posts and columns to establish yourself as an expert on your subject
- Be a guest on podcasts, in news (or niche) media or TV shows
- Make your own podcast
- Start networking
Yuck, networking! Are we really still on that? You bet your sweet patootie we are.
Being an entrepreneur is a lonely road, and insisting on doing everything alone will not only make it lonelier, but downright impossible. You will need people, their ideas, perspectives, thoughts and connections. So brush up your ice breakers and curious questions, dust off your elevator pitch and get out there.
And always remember: Ask not what your network can do for you, but what you can do for your network. What goes around comes back around.
Build a website
A website is your business and brand online, even before you launch it. Some people refer to the website as your online business card, but it is so much more than that 🃏
Potential investors, partners, employees and customers will check out your website - and they will judge you based on what they see. It is important because it provides a place for people to go, interact, and sign up to become early adopters of your product or service.
That being said, not having a website should never hold you back from marketing your business on other channels. So if it's not within your reach right now, don't worry about it; you can use different channels to build your presence. But when you are ready, build a website. Start with a simple landing page and develop a full site later. If you don't know how to build a website yourself, sites like SquareSpace and WordPress offer templates to make it easier.
If it's within your reach, get a website developer to help you out. A website isn't just text and pretty pictures. If you want it to work for your business, it should be well-designed, user-friendly, optimized for search engines and mobile devices - just to name a few.
Set up key metrics
Building a startup will sometimes feel like finding your way through a labyrinth blindfolded. A lot of the time you won't know where you're going or remember where you just came from, let alone where you're going. So you'll need as many signals and roadsigns as possible 🚦
Setting up - and tracking - metrics gives you just that. Roadsigns and signals. They give you a way to evaluate the steps you took in the past and let you adjust your path before taking the next steps. So before you launch anything, set up key metrics. It will do wonders, not just for the launch of your business but for your performance in the months to come. Valuable metrics to keep track of include:
- Website traffic
- Product trials
These are just a few of them. Depending on what you are launching and what goals you have for your business, there are a bunch of key metrics that can be useful to track
Find the right business partners
You can't build a business run by yourself. Other businesses and other people are essential to the success of your startup. You may need consultants to develop and maintain your app, a distributor to distribute your product in the right places or a supplier to deliver a particular gizmo for your production.
Finding the right partners and collaborators for your business is essential, and it's not necessarily an easy task. You need to find the ones that meet your needs in terms of price, quality, accountability and personality. Do your research and take the time to meet and speak with the people you'll be working with.
Once you find them, make sure to set up clear agreements and make written contracts 📝 Have a legal advisor look through them and make sure you and your partners are on the same page about everything before you start working together.
Set up a bookkeeping system
For a long time, running your own business means learning how to solve every single task in your business yourself. You may have started your startup because you wanted to do one specific thing, but you will be spending way more time doing something else.
Administrative tasks like bookkeeping will demand a big chunk of the time you would rather spend on developing your product or attending to your customers. Unless you're a bookkeeper, chances are this is just one of those tasks that will frustrate you. Luckily, there are people out there that get the kicks out of sorting your invoices and doing your taxes, so if you feel even the slightest bit annoyed, we suggest you outsource it.
If you don't have the money for that, at the very least, make sure you set up a simple system that makes it easier and less time-consuming for you to get it done 🧮
Find someone to assist you on legal matters
Speaking of administrative tasks, if it hasn't already, pretty soon legal tasks will be piling up on your desk, from contracts with suppliers and employees to policies about privacy and cookies to securing IP rights.
As a business owner, you automatically get a lot of legal responsibility. Disputes, legal issues and lawsuits can kill your startup in the blink of an eye, so even if you've decided to qualify for the Olympics of Bootstrapping, this is not the place to save money. Find an attorney to look through contracts and assist you when you need it.
Secure intellectual property
Now that you've found someone to help you with legal, ask that person to help you with IP rights. For a lot of businesses, intellectual property rights are crucial. If this applies to your startup or the product you're launching, make sure to start the application process. There are for main types of IP rights:
- Trade Secret.
Depending on what you need to protect the process of securing the rights can be shorter and simpler or longer and more complicated. The consequences of not having your IP rights in place can be more or less severe - and more or less expensive. For some businesses, there's no need for securing IP whatsoever.
You can do much of the research yourself and you may or may not need consult to get all the way there. But make sure you understand the rights you need and how to get them 🤓
Okay, last one of these, we promise. But since we're already on the subject of rules, rights and administrative tasks, let's talk about insurance. Depending on what type of business you run, how big it is and what product or service you offer, you will need different insurances.
Consider coverage for your office, stock and production units. You may also need liability insurance and insurance for your employees. Getting the right insurance to protect your business is a bit of a jungle, but having them can save you a lot of trouble and money. When it comes to insurance, it's better to be safe than to be sorry.
Tools & resources for prelaunch
An easy to use marketing platform, so you can focus on what really matters: Growing your business, stand out and save time all at once.
Leadpages helps small businesses connect with an audience, collect leads, and close sales. Easily build websites, landing pages, pop-ups, alert bars, and beyond.
Get to know your customers in detail with Google Analytics. From demographics and traffic sources to online behavior and needs.
Learn how to sell
Did you just get the chills? 🥶 For many entrepreneurs, the thought of selling is daunting. We all know we have to, but most of us have a hard time getting excited about it. But we need to learn.
Even if you are hiring someone to do it or found a co-founder who's a much better salesperson than you, being able to present to potential buyers is a must for any business owner.
We're not talking about going door to door or doing cold calls here. You can hire someone for that. But from time to time, you will find yourself in situations where you could potentially sell your product, and keeping your mouth shut means you'll miss out on opportunities that could have a significant effect on your bottom line.
So how do you get good at selling?
If you are excited about your solution and truly believe it will help others, then you are doing people a favor by selling it to them. This is the mindset you need to adopt 💭
That being said, the best way to sell something is first to find people who need what you have to offer. Selling is all about having a conversation. Ask people about their needs and find out if the problem you solve applies to them. If it does, tell them about your solution. And if they like what they hear, tell them how they can buy it.
Deliver the best customer experience out there
There's really no comparison to a great experience. Today, consumers expect the very best, no matter what you are selling and no matter at what price. It doesn't matter if they paid 10$ or €1.000. They will still want you to get up at 4 in the morning to solve a problem if they have one. And if that's not an option, then at the very least, they will expect a reply and a timeframe right away.
If you want to do right by your business, you'll have to do right by your customers. As much as you can, go out of your way to make them happy. Give them more than they need. Surprise them. And make sure what they buy from you is better than they expect. Those are some big shoes to fill, we know. But it's worth it.
Set up some high standard principles for customer service, build strong relationships and genuinely care about your customers. That way, they will not just stick with you; they will get their friends to join too 🥳
Make a launch plan
Remember the crickets? An unwelcome guest at any party, your launch party included.
A well thought out launch plan can help get rid of the problem and up the chances of the day becoming a major success. Like with so many other things, you can't foresee everything that'll happen when you press the button, but there are many things you can do.
It's time to poke your inner project manager and develop a strategy and a clear plan for your launch. Coordinate as much as you can, from press releases and interviews to sales and support. Make sure everyone knows who does what, set up launch goals - and buy the champagne, of course 🍾
If you want to know how to do a complete launch plan, give this course a read: You are ready. Now launch!
Consider how to pivot
A wise, wild-haired man once said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."
We're not saying you won't hit a home run on your first try. But in reality, most startups will pivot more than once before they get it right. In fact, startups that pivot once or twice have a 3.6 times better user growth than those who never pivot (or do it more than twice).
So pivoting is almost bound to happen. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to change the entire business idea. It might just mean you have to change your growth strategy or something in between.
Even though you don't have to pivot the very second something's not working, it's a good idea to consider the options. Mastering change is an art form in entrepreneurship - you'll have to do it repeatedly. Keep a close eye on those metrics you set up earlier, look for what is working and what is not, and be ready to pivot your startup when you need to - then you'll be well on your way to success.
Understand the What, Where and How of startup investment
You don't actually have to go on TV to get funding for your startup 🦈
Investment for a startup is raised in round. From early-stage seed capital to series A, B, C +, depending on what stage your startup is at and what you plan to do next.
The most common way to get investment is in return for ownership, meaning you will sell shares in return for cash. Ownership is usually sold at a fixed price or as convertible securities, which will eventually turn into equity.
There are a bunch of things to be aware of when you need investment, so educating yourself already is not a bad idea.
How much money do you need to realize the goals you set for your business? Do you need more than just money, like mentorships or access to network? How much equity are you willing to give away? In exchange for what?
Remember that the more ownership you sell, the less you will be in control of your business. Here are some of the most common sources to get funding for your startup:
- Business Angels
- Venture Capital Funds
- Incubators and Accelerators
If you want to know more about getting funded, especially as a seed startup, this course is what you need: "How to get seed capital (and avoid early startup death)
Equity isn't just your road to the Cave of Investment Wonders.
It's how you divide ownership between you and your co-founders and how many advisors prefer to be paid for sharing their expertise with you. Ownership is the most valuable currency your startup has, so make clear agreements with your co-owners, no matter how little they own.
Giving key employees a piece of the equity cake is also quite common, especially in the early days when you can't afford to pay them the salary they are worth 🍰
Sharing ownership (usually somewhere between 0.5-1.5%) with team members who are with you from the very beginning can provide them with a sense of ownership and back up their motivation to go the extra mile.
How much to give away to whom are among the questions you should be asking yourself before you start dividing ownership. Remember, giving away equity means giving away control. Don't be afraid to share, but be smart about it.
Know when to scale
When things go well and customers start to come, jumping on the scaling train can be tempting. After all, why shouldn't you want more customers, more employees, more revenue? 🚀
Scaling may seem like a no-brainer. But scaling too quickly can be life-threatening to your startup. It's not just about growing your customer base, your team and your income. It's about making sure the infrastructure of your business can handle the growth.
Before you decide to scale up, make sure nothing breaks with the pressure of increased demand. Scaling is not just about growing. It's also about daring to hit the growth breaks and get everything and everyone ready to take on a much bigger workload.
Things such as the effort you put into reaching your goals, the amount of business you turn away and the strength of your cash flow can help you know when to scale your startup. Deciding to do it is up to you!
Hire the right people
It's time to get some much-deserved help! Maybe you've already hired people to join your team. If you have, then you know that making good hires for your startup is hard. Really hard. If you haven't, these are probably some of the questions you are asking yourself:
Do I have enough tasks to fill a position? What skills do I need? What personality traits do I want? What happens if I make the wrong decision with a hire? Am I ready to give someone else responsibility for parts of my business?
Hiring the right people for your startup is a learning-by-doing process. To help you out, we've gathered some advice for you:
- Hire for positions that will add value to your bottom line
- Hire co-founder potential
- Skills can be learned - attitude can't
- Don't be afraid to hire someone who's out of your league
- Hire for diversity
- Spend time finding the right people - let the wrong people go fast
Entrepreneurial inspiration: 7 ideas for businesses you can start from home
With the current pandemic, many business owners are facing challenging times. Founding a company does not necessarily require a physical store or an office abroad. You can do it from the comfort of your home. We will conclude this article with a glance at what types of businesses thrive from your home office. Perhaps the list can inspire you to realize your business ideas?
What are the pros and cons of home-based businesses?
Before deciding whether your business idea should be scaled to the comfort of your home, consider the following:
You have a very flexible work schedule that might be ideal for parents with children at home.
Your business can become an exciting family venture for you and your spouse.
If your business is mainly online, you can scale it to your local area or an international audience.
The costs of running your business are much lower than those of a traditional company, where renting and warehousing fees are excluded.
Your home becomes your business. It can be challenging to balance your work life and your spare time with friends and family.
If you are setting up a business by yourself, it can become an isolated affair.
When your business grows, you might run out of space or find yourself in need of expanding to a more suitable location.
So you are still convinced to start your home business? Let's dive into the type of company that you'd want to develop from the comfort of your house.
1. Online Class education
Due to the many possibilities for connecting with audiences worldwide, the case of teaching exceptional knowledge online is growing vastly. You might possess a teachable skill unique to your audience. People are always hungry for knowledge, whether it is regarding computer programming or online yoga sessions. Find your niche audience and explore the opportunities!
2. Selling handmade products
You are probably familiar with online marketplaces like Etsy, where people not only can share their passion but also monetize it. Perhaps you prefer to keep the sales of your handmade products within your platforms. Either way, homemade products could be the next business opportunity for you.
3. Freelance worker
Offering your abilities and work through freelancing is not a new concept. However, with digital working platforms such as Upwork, you can get hired for specialized tasks, whether content writing, development, or a third job.
4. Specialty niche store
You've stumbled on a specialty product, or you are sensing a demand for new items in your network. Whether you are importing specialty foods or other specialized articles, importing products is relatively easy to do from your home. You can choose to set up a local shop or sell abroad on a website if there is good demand.
People are always looking to celebrate their lives. And for most of these events, there is food involved. Whether you are a professional cook/cater or just really good at cooking, catering could be your next startup.
6. Pet sitter and influencer
If you are an animal lover and know how to give the best belly rubs, a pet-startup could be your next business adventure. Images and videos of domestic cats and dogs make up some of the world's most viewed content. If you own a pet, you can start your social media presence and thereby promote your business.
7. 2nd hand sustainable store
Sustainability is the way to go right now. Consumers all over the world are looking for more sustainable and environmentally friendly products. Repurposing unwanted items in a new creative manner can be a viable business for you, whether it is resale clothes or books.
Finding the right business idea depends on your goal. Have you been dreaming about starting a business for a long time? Our list might have provided you with some ways to realize your ideas. Starting a business from home requires the same motivation as growing any company. By starting small in your home, you can cut potential costs and scale your business over time.
Are you ready to start your own company? Explore your business strategy with Cuttles, and grow your company from idea to success!
If you've made it all the way here, we applaud you! But your business won't start itself. It's time to get a move on. We're rooting for you.
Tools & Resources to launch and grow your startup
Looking for an app to help you organize your work, Notion is exactly what you’re looking for!
With Google Slides you can collaborate with your team to create, edit and present professionally looking slideshows.