12 Steps You May Not Know You Need to Take In Order to Start a Business

They say anyone can start a business, but not everyone knows exactly what to do to get started. What’s one surprising or little known thing your average person may not realize they would need to do in order to start a business?

Startup team

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Set Clear Work-Life Boundaries

One thing you may not realize you need to do when starting a new business is to set clear boundaries between your work and personal life — especially when working from home with no physical divide between your “office” and living room. Not setting clear boundaries will make you less productive, and you may also risk burnout.

Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO

2. Write for Other Websites

You may not realize it, but starting a business often means writing on places that are not your website first. You’ll have a better shot at success if you establish yourself as an expert by writing on publications like Medium. Eventually, you should start seeking out guest posting opportunities. If you start building your audience, there’s a good chance your new site will see a surge of traffic.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

3. Make Yourself a Priority

You need to do this at the very start of your business and make it a habit throughout its growth. If you aren’t able to take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your business or your employees. This includes taking care of your health, but it also includes training, leadership classes and prioritizing the tasks that will help reach your goals.

Shu Saito, All Filters

4. Understand Your Customers’ Mindset

It may seem obvious, but many people fail to understand what they are selling, to whom they are selling and why their customer base would want this item. People make assumptions in these crucial areas more often than not. You must truly understand the mindset of your customers and the value you can bring them. This will inform the “how” and “why” of the way your business is run.

Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC

Mentoring session
photo credit: Gvahim / Flickr

5. Seek a Mentor

When starting a new business, it helps tremendously to have a mentor who can guide you through each step and give you advice on how to improve your current strategy. Mentors are full of valuable insights that can help you grow your business faster and appeal to the right customers so you start producing conversions and sales right away.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Test Your Idea

Testing your idea is so much easier than you think. You can do it in minutes. Start up an Instagram page and run an affordable ad with the best mockup of your product that you can. If you want clients, contact people with what you plan to offer. If they turn you down, press for details so you know what to improve before launch. Start by testing, then build your ability to deliver.

Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

7. Create a Brand Identity

One of the things you need to do when starting a business is to create a brand identity and a brand kit. Many new business owners just put together a logo and use colors without thinking. But you need to fix on a color palette, a logo, fonts and other elements if you want your business to look professional and cohesive across different platforms.

Blair Williams, MemberPress

8. Act and Write Like a Professional

You should know basic grammar and also how to be professional. People think entrepreneurship is just about ideas, marketing, skills and strategies, but people forget about acting and writing like a pro. Most of the time, an entrepreneur of a small business is working all around the business, so when correct grammar and professionalism are missing, you tend to question how legit the business is.

Daisy Jing, Banish

Startup team doing planning

9. Plan for the Worst

When starting a business, it’s important to plan for the worst-case scenario. This doesn’t mean you believe you’ll hit rock bottom and have no money in the bank, but just in case you do, you have a plan B. Many new business owners don’t want to think about the possibility of failure, but it’s absolutely necessary if you plan on keeping a realistic mindset.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

10. Ensure Your Family Is On the Same Page

Make sure your spouse or significant other is on the same page. Even if that person has their own employment, entrepreneurship is a joint venture. Starting your own business is not just another job. Success is going to come with stress, anxiety, risk and failure along the way, and your spouse or significant other needs to be on board. If not, you may be choosing between work and family, which is a lose-lose.

Liam Leonard, DML Capital

11. Experience Failure

I feel many high achievers struggle with the process of building a business from scratch because they approach problem-solving like school assignments. Failure is viewed as a liability instead of a stepping stone to success. When you hear the saying that “building a business is a struggle,” it’s because you’re trying many failed experiments until you find what clicks. Many quit early.

Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

12. Have Patience

You can have the best product or service in the world, but unless you’re incredibly lucky, you are not going to see success overnight. Get your business going, develop a plan and stick to it. Eventually, you should see success.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance