How to start a small business in 2023
I’m a huge hustler and have been creating side hustles and small businesses for decades. I have had blogs (hello!)… tech startups and even an internationally successful children’s clothing line that I fully designed and manufactured all by myself!
Starting a small business… or even a side hustle for a start is not hard! And, its one of the most powerful things you can do to:
1. Boost your happiness in life … and
2. Bring in extra income for your family
I’m a massive believer in setting yourself up to make passive income… so this ones relevant here too. Your business can either be an active earner … or a passive one… I talk more about passive income in this article here.
But in general… you can either work daily in your biz… via providing services or goods.. or set yourself up with a passive income business or venture to set and forget.
Everyone needs to make an income to live day to day. And, sometimes creating that small business falls by the wayside, and you’re tired, overworked, or simply do not have the brain space to get started.
But, Im here to tell you something. Today is the day that you CAN start that small business. And live your dreams. However big… or small. You are worth it! and each day you make a start and move one step towards those goals… you’re making your own reality for your future. This is MASSIVE!
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Why start a small business?
Ok- I’m gonna get personal here. Starting a small business comes in many forms.
You might have had an idea for that special thing for years or its come to you in the shower! And it’s nagging at you that it’s something that you must do.
Or, you have a a skillset that you want to share.. or a hobby or interest that is kinda getting out of control (in that spare room or kitchen bench!) and you see potential to monetise your thing. Or at the very least share it with the world.
Lastly, if could be that you want to escape the rat race, quit the 9-5. You want to be the master of your own ship, and your own boss. You want to create your own thing and own your time. You want to LIVE LIFE ON YOUR TERMS. And that’s super powerful.
Feeling a sense of purpose and a sense of independence and mastery over your own destiny creates feelings of happiness. And while starting a business is NOT the easy route. It is a special one. It’s a journey that I thoroughly recommend and a journey that I’m here to help guide you through!
There are thousands of ideas for starting a small business and I’ll link below to a couple of great articles that give you a list of small business ideas that you can start from your kitchen table! … but I’m here to go into the nitty gritty reality of starting a small business, to give you some real tips and advice and help you on that journey.
- 30 Ideas for how to start a small business at home – pretty basic list – good starting point
- 60 Small business ideas for anyone who wants to run their own business – this ones got quite good ideas that are not too far fetched!
- 10 Profitable small business ideas to make money from home – simple and realistic list talking about he different types of products or services you can offer.. a good read.
I’ve also created this list of 18 Really Good! Passive Income Ideas which you might also find useful.
A lot of articles you read are simply click bait – they have lists of unattainable business ideas that basically EVERYONE is doing. And in order to succeed you’d have to either … find a very specific niche… or luck out to gain market share.
Sure, you could start a YouTube channel… and become famous and make lots of cash through your subscribers… or…. drop ship items.. (boring)… or … sell digital products…. LIKE EVERY ELSE. But Let’s try to help you follow your passion. Not give you false hope.
Let’s dive a little deeper below into some more useful advice about starting a small business and what to expect.
Develop your idea
This one sounds simple right? Well, it is and it isn’t.
You might have a shall of an idea that needs fleshing out or you have an idea but do not know how to bring it to market or make money with it.
First up. Start thinking about four things- these four things will form the basis of your Business Plan.
- Is there a need for your solution in the market
- How big or small is the market
- How much can I charge, and – will people pay?
- What is the competitive landscape for this idea
Your Business Plan is a roadmap of your idea, your brand, your marketing, the market within which you fit, your strategy to go to market, how you will make money, your targets and goals, financials and analytics (your results and cashflow) and finally, your mission and vision.
Theres plenty of business plan templates out there. Don’t be fooled though… your business plan doesn’t have to be HUGE – just precise and well thought out. Even a one pager will suffice for a start.
What to include in your business plan
- Summary of your product or service
- Your vision and mission
- Your brand
- Chosen market and market analysis
- How you will make money
- Go to market strategy
- Your goals and targets
- Financials and analytics
Is there a need for your solution?
First up… you have a great idea.. be it making kids wooly hats… selling a course …. or making widgets… ask yourself would people pay for this product, knowledge, or service.
Do your research. Look up Google. See how many other people are selling this particular good or service. A simply Google search for your keywords will turn up a plethora of information about your chosen niche.
Remember, just because other people ARE doing it too that doesn’t mean you should! It means there IS a market …. and if you 10x your product or service you can take market share.
Conversely – if you find no one is talking about your idea.. it might not be a bust. You just might be the innovator in that space… bearing in mind with no or little market appreciation for your solution, it will take longer to educate your desired audience or ideal customer.
Google Trends is also a great place to go to see what other people are searching for. You just might find that plenty of people are in fact looking for “beach tents for cats” … voila … you have found a problem that needs solving.
Find groups online – like on Facebook that discuss this particular idea. Or check out TikTok or Instagram trends. Gather all you market research on the idea to first make sure you’re actually solving a meaningful problem that people have.
There is no point in progressing if your new business idea is so very niche that theres no market or there is simply no demand for your product or service offering.
Understanding the viability of your brilliant idea is always the first step towards starting a small business. Find out if people want and need it. Find out if it’s a problem that needs a solution.
How big or small is the market?
You can go one of two ways here.
Super niche… but not much competition… so, the market you serve is not huge… but the product or service you offer is really smart and really niche. There is a market – and people will pay… and, because there’s not many others in your space – you might just clean up a certain segment easily!
A large market for your offering. However- a large market might also mean there are plenty of competitors. See further notes below on the competitive landscape.
The point is – overall… IS there a market… and, if so, how big?… and, how much of that pie can you get? And how can you get it? That’s your go to market strategy.
How much can I charge?
This one is pretty easy. First off- look at what other providers are charging in your space.
Then, make your offering 10x better in as many ways as you can. Customer service, shipping, bonus or free add ons (especially for digital products), quality, speed… think of 3 ways you can outsmart you competitions.
Can you source better fabric? Or a better quality material? Can you up-skill to provide a better service? Are you up to date with the latest training? Then, charge 10% more for your offering.
Never undersell yourself. Make your product or offering excellent – then back yourself.
Once you build a community and word gets around that you are the go to for your niche – You can and should charge accordingly.
What is the competitive landscape?
Look to Google, online forums, online groups, offline groups and events.
Who is in your niche? Who is doing great?… and not so great? Who is in your niche – but not a direct competitor that you can partner up with the help each other with community building and brand awareness?
What sort of funding or revenue do your competitors have? What sort of following? How can you break into that market? What can you do differently to stand out?
Build an awesome website
A website or online presence is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when launching a new business. If you’re just getting started, you’ll need a simple site with only a few pages that explain what you do and how people can contact you.
Once you’ve got a solid foundation, you can start building out more complex sites that allow customers to interact with your brand.
Or if you’re blogging to make money or going to be getting into digital products, I recommend setting up a WordPress site and using a kick-ass, cheap (like $2.95 per month cheap) host like Bluehost so you maintain autonomy and flexibility with monetisation.
Find some funding
If you’re looking to raise money to get you underway there’s plenty of great options.
There are a few ways to fund your business, and if you’re not bootstrapping (funding it yourself as you go) then crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two of the easiest.
Crowdfunding allows you to reach out directly to potential investors and ask them to invest in your project. This gives you access to capital without having to go through traditional banks.
Start Marketing Your Small Business
Once you’ve launched your product, (or even before is better to capture interest!) it’s time to start marketing.
Don’t wait until you have customers before you start promoting your product. In fact, you should start marketing as soon as possible. That means getting your website up and running, creating social media accounts, and building an email list.
Have a think about how you want to promote yourself. Will you use organic or paid search? Will you utilise social media?… Work on your SEO to get organic hits on the search engines… Will you start by providing excellent customer service? Or, maybe go to markets and be present offline at events?
You might emphasise your in person and personal service… and create a strong word of mouth presence.
At any rate. Use one or more of these and stick to it … make a plan!
You want to create community around your brand to build awareness, a following, and eventually excited and willing customers.
Customers who love you, and your brand and who are willing to talk to other people about your product or service. Building a community around your “thing” is one of the most powerful steps in creating your new small business.
Build your tribe! They will help you scale and grow!
A simple email list using a platform like Convertkit (for free!) is a great way to start building forms and capturing people’s emails and contact details.
Theres no one right or wrong way to start a small business. But, if I had one thing to leave you with and one thing only that one thing would be to START.
Start somewhere, start something.
Build an email list, start a Facebook group around your interest or passion, start a blog to get your thoughts straight and build a following, start obsessing and creating your business plan, start talking to one person about your idea or passion.
Start walking those tiny steps towards building your dream, and starting that business.
If you only do one small thing each and every single day- you will look back in 6 months time and realise just how far you’ve come!
Start something! You’ll thank you me later!