BYOB! Have you heard or seen that acronym before? Probably yes or possibly no. BYOB is the latest buzz word of generation X, it simply translate to “Be Your Own Boss! Becoming your own boss is not just the aspiration of the millennia’s, it is gradually becoming the national anthem and sing song of many, particularly after the massive loss of jobs, occasioned by the global lock-down as a result of the corona virus pandemic.
The pandemic has changed the way we work, see the world, live and commute, which has opened up a whole new line of businesses and opportunities, only to the discerning, as more and more people are beginning to run their own businesses from the comfort of their homes.
In this practical guide, we will be looking at how you can start your own small business in 2021 and beyond. We will not be limiting ourselves to just home businesses you can start, but rather, we will be looking at how you can start your own small business, not minding if you want it small or big, hence this practical in-depth guide, will span those businesses you can do at home, online or in a shop/office.
There is no doubt that starting your own business, if run successfully can bring about financial freedom, which if possible would become the aspiration of everyone, but it must be stated that starting your own small business is not a walk in the park, hence if it were, everyone would have started their own businesses and become their own bosses.
Running a successful business will require time, skill, resources, strategy and raw gut, and not everyone are lion-hearted enough to push through the jungle of the business world. Many people have been able to do it and they are people who have the right information and mindset.
It is in line with providing you with the right information and realigning the mindset that will enable you start your own small business that we wrote this guide. We are confident that if you can glean up enough information and find the courage to implement and execute them, then in no time you will eventually become your own boss, and if you are your own boss already, you will equally pick up one or two tips that will make you scale up your business, and in the process become one of those big names, you have always admired.
Before we go into the step by step process of how you can start your own small business, we will firstly bring to your attention some of the business ideas you can take advantage of and get your business up and running in no time, your business of choice will however depend on your skills, talent, resources, passion, capital and your determination for success.
HOT SMALL BUSINESS IDEAS YOU CAN START
- Window cleaning
- Personal chef
- House staging
- Personal trainer
- Tattoo artist
- Dance instructor
- Personal shopper
- Tour guide
- Event/Party planner
- Massage therapist
- Sports instructor
- Makeup artist
- Gardening company
- Pool cleaning
- Virtual store
- Voice over artist
- Motivational speaker
- Disk jockey (DJ)
- Dog walking
- Private Solicitor (Lawyer)
- House sitting
- PR (public relations) services
- IT support
- Market research service
- Business consultant
- Security firm
- Laundry service
- Chocolate/cake/baking retailer
- Training company
- Design agency
- Holiday rentals
- Debt collector
- Snack/coffee stall
- Business development
- Equipment rental
- Market stall
- Antique dealer
- User testing
- Transcription service
- Affiliate marketer
- Buy and sell domains
- Ticket reseller
- eBook writer
- Sell stock photography & video
- Make and flip apps
- Buy and sell on eBay
- Print-on-demand business
- Buy an existing eCommerce business
- Subscription box business
This list is by no way exhaustive, but from the list you will be able to make a choice of the type of business you can start, which may not necessarily require billions of dollars to start. All you simply have to do is to move beyond the threshold of excuses and get started with your own small business, and everything else will fall into place as you would not be expected to figure out everything from the beginning.
Now that we have agreed that you have made up your mind on the type of small business you want to start, not minding if it is your own idea or you got one from the above list, it is now time for us to look at the in-depth step by step process you will take to start your own small business.
- KNOW YOUR WHY
Starting and running a successful business is an onerous and arduous task, hence should not be one you will casually walk into, as if you do so, you will run out of steam in no time. So you have to know the reason why you want to start the business. Are you starting because you simply want to be called boss? Are you starting because you want to proffer a solution or meet a need? Are you starting because you can no longer stand your present boss or you simply want to impress your wife, parents, friends etc.? Or you simply want wealth, women, power and fame?
I guess by now you are understanding the drift, as having a strong why will be what will sustain you when the lions in the business jungle begins to roar, which will surely happen.
After you have ascertain your WHY, you will then have to take a critical look at your strengths, weaknesses, skills and resources. Thinking about this will help you understand what you can do and cannot do. For example if your weakness is short attention span, you will not want to start an accounting firm or a business that has to do with calculating figures.
The bottom line is your strength and passion will carry you far more farther than if you don’t have passion and you are starting a business in an area of your weakness.
- CHOOSE YOUR NICHE/RESEARCH THE MARKET
Beyond knowing your why, you should choose a niche you want to start your small business in. for instance, choosing the business idea of online services is too broad, so it will be required that you narrow it down to specifics. Will you become a freelance writer, virtual assistant, translator or drop-shipping business owner? They are all online services, but you should decide the specific area you want to provide services, as this will depend on your skills, talent, resources available to you, your target audience and the competition in that niche.
You can start by looking at the no of people who are having a particular problem and see if you can solve that problem, using your skills and resources in a way that will make it profitable. As it will not make any business sense to expend your time and resources in a venture that will never become profitable no matter how hard you will work on it.
It is very important to research the market after you have chosen a niche, so as to enable you understand the demographics and buying power. The question should be, is there a market for the business, product or service and is it big enough to support your goals? Is there a direct demand for your goods or will you have to educate customers about the need for your product or service? Can your business model work given the current market and potential customers? Is it going to cost a significant amount to set up your business? Who will your customers be? What income category do they belong to? Will they be able to afford your products/service? Do they have the large no that can give you steady patronage?
After answering these questions, you should then try to think into the future, and project what the world will look like in 5 or 10 years. Thinking about the future will allow you to think about new markets and niches that may open due to innovations and new technologies.
- REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS
You should make everything about your business professional, not minding if it is a small business or not. It is expected of you to get your business registered, as this will not only save you from future embarrassment from the authorities, it will also make you appear reputable in the eyes of your future clients/prospects.
You should contact the company house of your state or country and get your company registered. Depending on the country where you are operating from, requirements for each type of business might be different. You may have the option of registering your company as either a sole proprietor or a limited liability company. You should seek legal advice on the best business structure that will best fit your small business niche. We will recommend that you register for a limited liability company, as this have more advantage in terms of personal loss of your assets if the business go downhill.
- GET REQUIRED PERMITS/LICENSES/INSURANCE
Beyond registering your business, some states or countries may require certain businesses to have permits and licenses. For instance, some businesses in the food and cosmetic sector are highly regulated, which then require them to get approval before they commence operations. Some state also require that some small businesses take sales tax, which then also require that the businesses get registered with the chamber of commerce or other relevant agencies so they can have all necessary and required permit and licenses.
Also very important is the registration with the revenue board for tax purposes, as you will not want the authorities to close down your business to be closed down for failing to remit taxes. Also register and obtain Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Registering for insurance is a non-negotiable for your business, even if you will be the only staff at the beginning. Running a small business comes with many uncertainties, and it is very imperative that you get an insurance cover, as this might save you from future damages or possible closure of your business. You should seek the advice of an insurance broker to know the type of insurance cover your business needs.
- WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Your business plan is the compass and road map for your business, without it your business will simply be groping in the dark. The business plan will help you spell out the objectives of your small business and how you intend to achieve the objectives.
The business plan writing process is a great exercise that will help you sort out your thoughts, and this will allow you to plan your business in a structured way, not just for yourself, but other third parties like banks, investors or partners so they can understand what you are trying to achieve and how.
Every business plan will slightly look different, depending on the type of business and if also the business is seeking for external partners or investors. However, every business plan have some basic elements which are as follows:
- Executive summary
An executive summary is an introduction to your plan, its content, and an overview of everything in your business plan. It provides the reader with a short, concise and clear overview of what your business is and what you are trying to do.
- Contents page
- Business model and products/services
- Customer, market and competition
- Marketing and sales
- Finances and projections
- Business plan summary
It should be noted that a business plan is not a static document, hence it will be updated from time to time, so you should always update your business plan as circumstances changes.
- OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT
There is always a very high temptation to want to run use your personal account as the business account. It is advisable to open a business account specifically for your business, as there are many advantages that comes with doing so. For instance, you may qualify for a business credit card when you start having positive cash flow and you will also not have issues with remitting your taxes, which would have been very difficult in a situation where you cannot differentiate between your personal finance and that of the business.
You must also decide what type of business account or accounts to set up. If you have the wrong type of account, it can significantly affect the cost of business banking. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a business account:
You must make some findings with regards to the type of business account you want to open. You should be able to find out about the followings for instance. Do they charge fees based on different transactions, or if is it a flat monthly fee or if there are no charges? If transaction fees are applied, what charges are applied to each type of transaction? Do they provide transaction fee free accounts for certain types of transactions such as online or retail? Do they offer free business banking and accounts for a period?
You can simply call your local bank and pose these questions to them and make your decision accordingly.
- SOURCE FOR FUNDING
The common similarity between a small business and a large corporation is that they are all always looking for more capital, the ease and the route with which they get the capital, however may be different, but sourcing for funds for a business is the most tedious and enjoyable process for businesses who know how to go about it.
The type and size of your business will determine how much funding you will need, as not all businesses requires the same amount of funding and equipment to start and run. So we will be looking at the various channels through which you can raise funds for your small business, as the amount you will require will be dependent on the type of business, size, country of operation, and the daily operational costs of the business.
Types of funding you can use to start your small business are as follows:
- Personal savings
Some of the world’s most successful companies in most cases are self -funded at the beginning. If you don’t have a pile of cash stashed out somewhere and depending on how big your operations are or will be, chances are that you may require more funds externally.
- Friends & family
You may likely be in a position to receive some form of funding from friends and family. It is however advised that you only seek for an amount they will be willing to lose and also document everything with regards to the loan, so you don’t lose trust if the business does not go as planned.
- Business grants
Business grants are the sweetest form of money for your small business, as grants are basically free money, which you don’t have to pay back. However, the grant application requirements are very strict and not all types of business are eligible for grants. So do a simply search online or check with the small business association in your state or country to find out the various grants opportunities and the ones you qualify for. It is also advised that you seek for professional grant writers to help you write the application if you know you cannot meet up with the grant application requirements.
- Business competitions
Depending on your type of business, there are business competitions that takes place from time to time. Find out about any of them and register, who knows, you might just be able to win some money for your small business.
- Angel investors
An angel investor will be willing to invest into your business to own a percentage of it, if your type of business meets his investment interests. So give it a try.
- Venture capital
Venture capitalists are professional investors who invest significant sums of money into many companies with the aim of making a return on their overall portfolio.
There are many crowdfunding platforms where you can get a large number of people to invest in your business. You can achieve this by either offering equity or product, it all depends on your type of business and what works best for you and the crowdfunding platform.
- Business Loans
You can approach your local bank or other lending organisations and apply for a loan for your small business. Bank loans however requires collateral and the approval for the loan will be subject to the type of business, your credit history and every other criteria set up by the bank.
- Business credit cards
You may be qualified for a business credit card and use it to finance your business. It is very important to find out the terms and conditions of the credit card before applying and accepting it.
– Equipment loan
You may be able to access equipment loan for your business depending on the type of business. The good thing about equipment loan is that the equipment will serve as collateral for the loan, so depending on the type of your business, you may likely qualify to get one. So give it a try.
- DEVELOP YOUR SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
Your business no matter how small or big will need customers to patronise you and nobody will patronise you if they don’t know about your business. Marketing is therefore a very important aspect of your business, as no business, no matter how beautifully set up will make any sales if the products or services are not marketed.
It will not be out of place to say then that sales and marketing are the heartbeat of any business. Because of the competitive nature of business, it is important that you become intentional and innovative with your marketing strategy and efforts.
You can adopt the following marketing strategies and channels to present and win customers for your offers:
- Price positioning
- Understanding your unique selling point
- Selling online
- Selling via a retail shop
- Selling wholesale
- Selling through an agent or affiliate
- Selecting marketing channels
- Email marketing
- Online advertising
- Social media marketing
- Content creation
- Posting a letter
- Build a sales process
- Building sales assets
- Building a sales pipeline
- Create a customer service team
We promised that we will deliver massive value, and from all indications, we have through this practical guide revealed to you the hot business ideas you can start and also step by step process you will take to achieve it, even down to how you can raise funds to start your small business.
But no matter how concise and detailed this guide is, until you are willing to take action, everything will remain the same. So are you willing to take that all important step today? Do you have want it takes to become your own boss and join the millennia’s to shout BYOB? Prove it.
What are your thoughts with regards to this guide and do you have any business idea you want us to write about? Let us know in the comment section.