The Solopreneur’s Guide 10 Necessary Actions for Launching Your Business
The Introspection, Research, and Planning phases of establishing your business are the warm up and stretching exercises to get you ready for taking action.
The Action phase is what will start building the muscle mass to your business. If you jump right in to taking Action before you complete the first three phases, you put your business at serious risk of being sidelined with an injury.
Here are 10 necessary steps to take when launching your business.
1. Complete your legal structure. Decide what legal structure (e.g. Sole Proprietor, Single Member Limited Liability Company) best protects you and your business while giving you the best tax advantages. Complete all necessary permits and licenses with city, county, state and federal government agencies.
2. Create a medical contingency plan. Heaven forbid that you are injured or fall ill for an extended period of time, but the worst time to figure out how you are going to cover health care costs and keep your business functioning is while you are dealing with an injury or and illness.
Hopefully you have medical coverage, but if not, don’t assume that you can’t afford it. There are a variety of self-employed and supplemental insurance programs. An excellent independent resource for information about health care programs and a provider of health care quotes, check out Health Insurance Resource Center.
Separate from helath care coverage is a plan for back up if you are laid up. This is a necessity as a solopreneur. You are your business. Do you have a method for informating your customers that you may not be available for an extended period of time? Do you have someone checking your emails and voice messages so you can respond accordingly? Is there someone that can take care of some of your responsibilities in the event that you cannot?
3. Set up your office. Make sure that you have open lines of communication. Get the necessary computer, phone, and office equipment to keep you organized, active and ready to communicate with your customers. If they have trouble reaching you the first time, they may not try to contact you again.
4. Put up motivators. What will trigger you back into action if you start to lose focus? Some ideas are count down clocks timed to the completion of a specific goal or task, mission statement, motivational pictures, motivational sayings, pictures of mentors or idols, pictures of family, pictures of goals – that dream house, favorite vacations spot, or desired car.
Make sure that you have a daily reminder of what you are working for and towards. I recommend that you put up your mission statement and say it at the beginning of each day as a morning mantra.
5. Establish your processes. There is only so much that you will be able to get done in a day – or should get done. You want to focus on your money making activities. Get your processes in place to maximize your productivity. Until you get in a rhythm, having established procedures for completing tasks minimizes wasting time and opportunities for business to fall through the cracks.
6. Create your products and services. Or collect products and services that others created that you can sell to your target market. Secure the applicable patents, trademarks / service marks, copyrights and NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) associated with your products.
7. Secure your outsourcing needs. Make sure that you have your projects and expectations well defined. Determine the best companies and freelancers to meet your needs. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Give yourself time to get the most out of your strengths by letting others take care of your weaknesses.
8. Activate your marketing campaign. What is included in a marketing campaign? Campaigns will vary based upon the type of business, its location, the products it produces and the market it serves.
Examples of items that you may include as part of your marketing campaign are:
- A web site
- Listings in phone books and business directories
- Joining industry association
- Establishing joint ventures (JVs) with complimentary companies
- Email blasts
- Direct mail pieces
- Ads (Internet, TV, radio, print materials)
- Business cards
9. Make your first sale. Getting over the hump of making the first sale is critical. It is a big emotional boost. It changes your status from hobbyist to solopreneur. Getting that first sale creates an energy that will propel you forward to reaching your goals.
10. Build your customer list. Be ready to build a customer list. Your list will give your business longevity. Dialogue with your customers. Excellence in sales comes from asking questions and taking an interest in your customers. Once you build a rapport with your customers, it is far easier and cheaper to get them to buy again than it is to get new customers.
Do only what is necessary to move to the next phase!
Waiting until every thing is perfect or right will only create opportunities for delays. Create momentum through continual action. You can and will fine tune your business and processes as you take action.
If you need help with these steps, contact me.