The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that business creation has been on a general incline in the last decade. For instance, there were 792,000 new companies established in 2009 and, in 2014, the last year that the BLS has full numbers, 888,000 businesses were formed.
While these growing numbers are great news for the economy, it’s important to realize that the number of businesses that die every year is large too. For instance, 785,000 closed their doors during the last 12 months recorded.
So, how do you establish a business that is able to avoid falling into this latter category? Simply follow these five steps.
1. Research Your Market
The first step to establishing a successful business is to research your market to ensure there’s a need for your product or service. This involves identifying your target market, assessing their spending habits and preferences, and past buying trends.
Your research should also include your competition. Figure out who they are and what advantage they may have over you, as well as what advantages you may have over them. Look at what they offer, their customer service process, and other areas where you can potentially differentiate yourself.
2. Establish a Clear, Consistent Brand Identity
The next step is to establish a clear brand, one that, when people hear your name, they know exactly what you stand for. And they also know exactly what you don’t. This should be communicated via your mission and vision statements as well as in all of your marketing material.
Brand consistency is important to. To help with this, create a brand guide that outlines brand specifics, such as your iconography, colors, and style. Share it with staff so everyone is on the same page.
3. Pick Your Business Name, Logo, and Slogan
Once you know your market and have a clear, consistent idea of brand, you’re ready to pick a business name, logo, and slogan. These are often the first things that expose people to your company, making them critical to providing a good first impression.
One way to select these items is to brainstorm with your employees or team. Another option is to use online generators to help. For instance, if you don’t yet have a business name, you could use a business name generator to help you come up with ideas. Be creative and see where the process takes you.
4. Create Effective Policies and Procedures
The fourth step to establishing a successful business is to create effective policies and procedures. These are the plans that guide your business as it grows, taking it from where it is now to where you want it to be.
Areas to focus on when creating these road maps include those related to marketing, accounting, and employee relations. Outline the steps that need to be taken in each of these areas, as well as how you’ll measure whether you’re getting the desired results.
5. Review Your Business Regularly
The final step involves reviewing your business regularly to ensure that you’re on the right path. Some companies do this annually, whereas others do it more often, whether quarterly or semi-annually.
The idea is to keep a finger on the pulse of your business. And if you’re unsure how often you should revisit your objectives and results to do this, you can always calendar to do it often, spacing out the time later if you determine that its unnecessary to keep that schedule.
Establishing a successful business takes time, and it also takes following a series of steps. But it all becomes worth it when your company is able to survive, long past the time when others are dying.