If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur, launching your own business, and following your dreams, then we want to help you get started. From coming up with a business idea to developing your brand and getting your business off the ground, today’s career guide shares 3 essential steps toward becoming a bonafide #GirlBoss.
Come up with a unique idea for a business
Whether you plan to be a service provider (like a life coach, social media expert, or a consultant) or you want to get into product distribution (as a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer), the first step to starting your own business is coming up with a unique idea.
Have you ever heard the quote “necessity is the mother of all invention”? Well, it basically means – if you have a problem, you often need to be resourceful to find a solution. Ask yourself – what makes your idea new or different? How does it solve a problem or fill a need?
A good example is the invention of Spanx – the women’s undergarment line that revolutionized the shapewear industry. The founder of Spanx cut-off a pair of pantyhose one day to make a body-shaping undergarment that could be worn under pants, skirts, and dresses. With just $5,000 of her personal savings, founder Sara Blakely launched Spanx at the age of 27, and in less than 15 years since starting her company, she’s now become a billionaire.
2. Determine what your brand is about
To market a company or a product nowadays, branding is one of the marketing terms you should think about. In addition to promoting your product or service, you’re also sharing your company’s vision, mission, and culture with your target customers. Aside from creating a great logo that becomes easily identifiable and exudes your company’s message, you should also think about the colors, tone, and vibe of your brand.
When we think of Michael Kors, we envision glamorous men and women jet-setting around the globe. When we hear the words, Kate Spade, we think of fun, colorful fashion that brings out the playful girl in all of us. That’s what good branding does – it sums up the essence of a company, making it instantly recognizable to the customer.
Branding extends from your logo and website into your store (if you’re going the brick-and-mortar route) and even into your social media and marketing materials. It’s helpful to hire a professional graphic designer or marketing agency if you’re inexperienced in these realms, as they can help guide you through the process more easily.
3. Set-up the basics of your operation
Running a business is a day-to-day process. To get started, it’s advisable to incorporate your business (to protect your personal assets from any liabilities that may arise). You can hire a lawyer or just use LegalZoom.com to easily get started. Whether you form a partnership, a C-Corporation or an LLC, do your research to determine which route is best for you. They can also help you file for trademarks and patents, which helps to protect your intellectual property.
It’s also recommended to set-up your bookkeeping system and get a separate bank account and credit card (for business purposes only). Systems like Quickbooks (which is an accounting software program) are great to use, as they can grow with you as your business expands. To start with, they offer affordable online bookkeeping (which is ideal if you’re just running a small business). If your company gets much larger, you can then upgrade to an Enterprise account, which enables you to have multiple users and do all types of reports.
You’ll also need to get business cards, letterhead, and other marketing materials. A great place to start (for very little investment) is Vistaprint.com. They even provide easy-to-use templates and helpful information.
No matter what you end up doing, if you’re passionate about your idea and dream of starting a company, then follow your heart and get going! Even if you’re not ready to leave your 9-to-5 job just yet, that’s totally fine. Just start your side hustle now and in no time, you’ll be on your way to having a full-time career doing what you love, as your own #GirlBoss. For more career tips and advice, check out the Career section on Inspirations & Celebrations.