3 Tips for Starting A Business

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been the clear boost it has given to entrepreneurship.

Across the globe, and especially in North America, the number of new businesses skyrocketed.

People used their sudden time away from work to reflect on their professional and personal lives, and make big decisions about where they wanted to go next.

Many of them decided this was the time to take the risk they’d likely considered for many years: starting their own business.

In the United States, there was a 24 percent increase of startups, with the trend continuing — and in some places accelerating — through 2021 as well.

The other main driver of the trend has been the digitalization of commerce, as more spending moved online with the closure of brick-and-mortar stores and the unprecedented growth of eCommerce.

As world economies reopen and the rollout of vaccines moves from developed nations to their needy neighbors, there’s likely to be plenty of optimism and a long-awaited return to something resembling economic normalcy.

This combination of factors suggests that 2021 could be one of the best years in a long time for starting a business — and ultimately making it successful.

If you’re one of the people still considering starting your own business, here are a few things to understand.

Start with your current skills:

Entrepreneurs don’t just have an idea and then run with it.

Lots of people have great ideas. The difference is in execution. You need an idea that you can actually pull off. Maybe you have an original and brilliant idea for a device that addresses pollution in the ocean, but if you aren’t an engineer, who is going to build it?

You want to find an idea for your business that leverages the skills you already have, allowing you to start out doing most of the work yourself and avoiding potentially costly mistakes that kill your business before it gets off the ground.

“If you’ve spent your entire career in the insurance industry, it’s much smarter to start your first business around something insurance-related than to create a bakery when you don’t know anyone in the food industry,” said Thomas Kane, a Chicago-based private wealth manager.

Set goals that make sense:

One of the best things you can do when getting started is make a list.

You want the list to have three to five goals for each part of your timeline. That means goals for the first six months, for the first year, for the first five years and even the first 10 years. The goals should be ambitious but also somewhat realistic. At the very least, you want a mixture of both.

The reality is that business leaders must stay organized and goal-oriented to be successful. Ideally, the goals should build upon each other to reach even larger goals — like potentially selling the company once it becomes valuable.

“Build with the end in mind—that is, acquisition,” said Viveka Von Rosen of Vengreso to Fast Company. “I built my first lifestyle company on gut instinct and luck. And while it survived six figures in the black for 10 years, I never broke seven figures. When we formed Vengreso, we did so with an acquisition in mind, which allowed us to scale to seven figures (and more than 30 employees) in two years. Every decision we make answers the question, “Does this make us more acquirable?”

Establish your own brand:

Branding has likely never been as important or as complicated as it is in today’s business world.

It requires a lot of work across many different mediums. Even just the branding online now involves many different social media platforms, each with their own unique etiquette and advertising requirements.

But the advantages of a smart and well-executed brand are impossible to ignore. With the right branding, you’ll find connections to more potential customers, investors and business partners.

“Brand-guide creation is the first place to start,” Jessica Wong wrote for Entrepreneur. “One of the best things you can do to create and maintain a consistent brand identity is to create a brand book. Here at Valux we help businesses establish robust brands with a comprehensive brand-building process covering everything from digital marketing to public relations and integrated sales.”

These might feel like a lot to take in, but don’t get discouraged. The reality is that this is a perfect time to start a new business. If you plan ahead and work hard, there’s no telling how far your new business can go.

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