3 Key Steps to Starting a Successful Business

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Follow this guide to help you get started and stay the course

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Photo by Micah Baumeister on Unsplash

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Have a million dollar idea but don’t know where to start?

We fall into the trap of thinking it will take too long. And while Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your business, it’s not as hard as we think.

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Starting a business can be overwhelming. I can attest to that. I have founded five companies. Each has its own challenges and rewards, but there are some general threads I’ve learned that apply to any business, no matter what.

This is a basic formula I follow which helps me launch every time.

The fact that there are really only three steps to take can be laughed at by the hustle culture. It also shows that you are wasting your time doing unnecessary things.

Full disclosure: Every step takes work. I don’t want you to think that starting, operating and growing a business is a walk in the park. There are lots of ups and downs, but if you follow this guideline, you’ll be better off getting started and staying the course.

Be it an online course, eBook, 1:1 coaching program or a service done for you, you need to create an offer.

This proposal shouldn’t be your main passion or something you’ll do for the rest of your life. This is something you want to do now because it solves a problem you see people struggling with, and you want to get your business off the ground. You see a gap that needs to be filled, and you are the one to fill it.

For example, when I started in tech PR, I wasn’t obsessed with technology, but it was the dot-com boom, and startups wanted to get their name and product out in the press. I saw an opportunity where I could help companies grow, make money and make a living myself.

Then the bubble burst. I was out of a job, so I started my own tech PR company in 2002. People thought I was crazy for starting a communications company focused on a sector that had just crashed and burned.

Here’s the lesson: When markets are down, there is tremendous opportunity to service those markets. It has been destroyed. You can be a part of the rebuilding process. The body is always in need. start building

Now that you have the thing you’re building, it’s time to get the word out. You don’t have to finish it before marketing it. More on that later.

You can start with teasers and “coming soon” content on social media to drive interest and collect email addresses from potential buyers. This email collection initiative will also help you to build your email list.

I recommend you start 21 days before launch, but if you’re starting from scratch audience-wise, you can give it a long way. Don’t give it too long a runway though. People get bored and tune out easily.

Build slowly, increasing the frequency of posts and emails as you get closer to launch.

Ok, so you got the word out. People are taking interest and responding to “tell me more” to your CTAs or hints about your shiny new product or service. Now it’s time to sell the damn thing.

You can do this in one of two ways:

If it’s a sub $999 service, you can probably get away with setting up a landing page with a payment link. Connecting your PayPal is easy, especially if you create a PayPal.Me link and have a direct payment URL. I’ve seen some entrepreneurs get away with it at sub-$2,299 levels, but they usually have a large following and have established trust with their audience. sales call. This will be essential if you are selling a high-ticket item. People are not going to spend thousands of dollars on your new product without getting to know you first. You will need to get on the phone with your customer prospect and sell them your new product or service in person.

Abso-freakin-lutely!

I began marketing “Morning Manifesto,” the weekly planner and gratitude journal that I wrote and self-published before ever completing. It sold out before it could be sent to the printer. Mind you, I don’t have a huge audience.

I posted it on my social media pages, sent emails to my short list, and personally contacted friends and family members. I also created and included a Facebook event for my audience to invite their friends and connections to join. I turned it into a party that everyone wanted to attend.

You don’t have to have a perfectly baked cake to sell it. You can sell it, then bake it.

For example, if you’re creating an online course, all you need is a landing page with course information to start marketing it. This will help you gauge interest, and if people aren’t interested in buying it, you won’t be spinning your wheels and wasting precious time.

Once you have enough paying clients, complete the first module. Set this up as a drip feed and work on each subsequent module as your students progress. For example, work on week two while they are in week one, then “unlock” week two at the scheduled time. Build week three while they’re working week two.

It’s good to have these items listed below, but you don’t need them to launch. Believing in yourself will only make you feel overwhelmed and stuck.

Funnels – You don’t need anyone to sell you anything. I have generated over a million dollars in revenue without any funnel. Heck, they didn’t even exist when I started my PR company. It’s nice to have a bunch of products at different price points once you have them so you can upsell or down-sell, but you don’t need one to launch. Website – Not required to start building, marketing and selling. Set up a simple landing page with information, a “Tell me more” button, and a “Buy now” button, depending on the price point. Huge following – this is also not necessary. Take advantage of the audience you have and build from there. Flashy Headshots and Photos – Take some selfies and use stock photos instead. A huge portfolio of reels and videos – No, you don’t need this to sell your idea. If you feel you must, do some Facebook Live. Testimonials – No Testimonials? No problem! There are many things you can do to earn trust. When I started my PR company, I only had my previous employer as a reference. He didn’t stop me. I believed in myself, worked hard, proved myself, built good relations with media, got results and voila!

Keep in mind: These entrepreneurs have a team of people working for them, with everything they need to launch your idea. They have writers, social media people, camera people, a sales and marketing team, a production studio, a personal assistant, etc.

Don’t fall for the shiny object syndrome. They’ve been at this for years. You can definitely get there, but don’t let the fact that you don’t have it all stop you or scare you. You have something that will solve a problem. That’s really all you need to get started.

Just start creating, promoting, and selling your thing — whatever it is. Keep building on it with the next thing, and so on.

Don’t get influenced and intimidated by what others are doing. Your competition is not with other people. Your biggest competitor is your belief in yourself and your mindset.

The easier you make it in your mind to start your business, the easier it will be to turn your business idea into reality.



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