Starting a business takes time, and that’s something newbie entrepreneurs don’t realize. In fact, in my newly updated book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, I give you a full year to get everything lined up in your new business endeavor so you’re set up for success. Here, let’s develop an easy plan so that every month of 2015 you’re focusing on something for your new business.
January: Create Your Life Plan
With the fresh start of a new year, you’ve got nothing but possibilities in front of you. It’s the ideal time to establish what you want to accomplish in the coming months with your new business — or, if you’re already operating, what you want to do even better this year, through your life plan. Decide what you want your business to look like, in terms of whether it’s just you or you have staff, whether you’ll work from home, and whether it’ll be a lifestyle business or something bigger.
February: Figure Out Your Finances
Starting a business can be expensive. Not only will you have business expenses, but you’ll also need to pay your personal bills until profits start rolling in. This month, set your sights on how you’ll cover the first year of expenses. Savings? Loan? Line of credit? Friends and family? Crowdfunding?
March: Do Your Skills Assessment
Now you get into the nitty gritty of operations. Dive into your market and find out everything there is to know about it running a business like yours. Get to know your competitors. Figure out What skills you have and what skills your need to run your business. Determine what will make your business unique and appealing.
April: Find Your Niche
This month is all about you moving away from having a general audience and moving toward having a very specific niche customer to market to. You’ll spend more time getting to know your customers here. What are they looking for? How can you fill a gap in the market?
May: Put Together a Business Plan
With everything you’ve learned in the past few months, draft a business plan that you can refer back to when you need guidance on what your company stands for, and what its objectives are. You’ll also need to solidify your financing plan now, and if you want to give crowdfunding a try, now’s the time.
June: Perfect Your Product
With the research you’ve done on your market, you should be able to make some tweaks to ensure that your product will be relevant in the marketplace. For your launch, keep your offerings relatively simple; you can always add new product lines later.
July: Get Your Marketing On
Even if you haven’t launched your business yet, it’s the perfect time to start your marketing. First, get your website together. Make sure it appeals to your target customer. Then set up your social media profiles and start building relationships online.
August: Find Your Space
If you need somewhere to work this month start shopping for real estate. You can look into co-working spaces, as needed space such as Regus, traditional office space or retail location. Find affordable space that, if you need it, attracts foot traffic. Stock up on inventory and office supplies so that you have everything you need to be successful, as well as software to make sure you can accept any form of payment.
September: Create Processes and Procedures
Delegation is going to be key to your long-term success. The more you’ve got nailed down before you launch, the easier it’ll be. To that end, create processes by writing down everything you do so that anyone else can read step-by-step instructions and be successful accomplishing a task.
October: Build Your Team
You’re going to need help in your new business endeavor, so look at your options: freelancers, staffing agency, interns, part-time, and full-time employees. Hire in the areas of your business where you can use the most assistance so that you can focus on running the company. Start by hiring one person at a time, then invest plenty of time in training them.
November: Set Up Systems for Customer Support
Customer service will be the lifeblood of your business, so dedicate this month to it. Train your staff on customer service on protocols for handling sales, returns, and even complaints. Find customer relationship management software that will make it easy to manage customer data for your team. Build a document of processes to make training a breeze.
December: Ready to Roll?
You’ve had plenty of time to prep everything, so you should be ready. But spend time reviewing all your hard work and taking care of any outstanding tasks before you officially launch your new business. When you do launch, make sure to make a splash by leveraging PR and social marketing along with a great kickoff event to tell the world you are open for business.
Yes, this is a lot of work, but with my step-by-step guide in Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd Edition just made the task a whole lot easier. The world is still waiting on a better mousetrap. You can do it, and I’m here to help.
“Month” courtesy of arztsamui / www.freedigitalphotos.net