12 Minute read
Step-by-Step Guide to Start and Grow a Successful Business
Mar 27, 2021
So you decided to start you're own business/side hustle to earn some money on the side and potentially grow it into something life-changing.
How to start a business from scratch?
How to grow a business? and
How to actually make money with my business?
Those are the questions we will cover in this guide, and if you passed some of the steps we cover in the guide, you can skip to a section here:
Starting from scratch
If you are not yet sure of what your business should be, and what you should focus on, check out our "12 Business Ideas for New Entrepreneurs article" where we give tons of business ideas that can help you decide on what your path should be.
But if you already have an idea of what you want to do, before you go any further, there are a few things you need in order to set yourself up to have a profitable business that actually makes you money:
- A good, useful product/service that solves an issue others have, or makes it more fun and entertaining.
- Love/Passion for the business or half-passion (which we'll explain later on in the article)
- Some free time (2-5hrs a day would be ideal as a start)
Without all of those factors combined, your chance of success is lower than 0.01%.
Most businesses today fail, and that's the hard reality of the game, and if you don't have a good product, time, passion, and patience, you're chances of success become extremely slim, and you stand at a huge disadvantage versus your competition.
So focusing on getting those factors in line before anything else is crucial for the success of your business.
How to make a good product?
To make a good product, you first need to have a goal in mind:
"What problem is this product going to solve?".
So, if you see that there's a problem that people wish to solve and you see a solution, that can be a great way to make a useful product that will help others and make you money.
If you've ever watched the show called "Shark Tank" you'll know that investors fight over good, high-quality, innovative, and competitive companies that have the potential to take over and dominate the market.
Most of those products came from simple solutions to the problems others are facing, and if people can relate to it, they will buy it.
Tip: Follow and keep up-to-date with the latest trends and the product ideas will come to you.
A great way to follow trends and stay up-to-date with things that are relevant is Exploding Topics. Check them out here 🚀
Another big part of making a successful and profitable business is time.
Time is the most precious thing we all have. No one wants to be wasting their time on things that have no value to them or the people they love, so being productive and using the time you have effectively makes all the difference when starting and growing a business.
How to organize your time towards success?
Organizing is hard.
How many times have you told yourself "Tomorrow I'm going to take 2 hours out of my day and be productive (Study, Fold those clothes you've been avoiding for days, go to the gym, etc.)"?
You do it for a day, maybe 2 days, a week, and then you feel yourself slowly dropping back to where you were before.
The truth of the matter is that we all have those moments.
Organizing your life is hard work, but sticking to your plans and goals is what separates winners from losers.
A great way to organize your daily routine and workflow is through a planner.
A planner can help you focus on things that actually matter and allow you to get your business to the next level.
For that purpose we suggest checking out Any.do
Once you managed to organize your time, try to make 2-5hrs for your business every day. Sticking to the schedule will allow you to never burn out your energy and stay consistent.
Another way to stay consistent is to do what you love.
We can all agree that pursuing your passion and doing what you love is the best thing in life, but what if you don't have a clear passion that drives your forward?
How to make your business your passion?
Most people are not living the perfect life, where they love everything they do and pursue their passion and dreams, but a lot of them find "half-passion" in their jobs and things they do. How?
Half-passion is a term we like to use to describe working on things you don't love to accomplish things you love.
In other words, if your passion is for example traveling the world, you need to do a lot of things you might not like before you can make your passion a reality, like getting a job you don't like or enjoy, saving money instead of spending it, etc.
None of those things are what you love, but they will become your half-passion because they lead to your real passion which in this case is Traveling the world.
So, not everything you do has to be your passion, but the essence of getting to your passion through those things will be the fire that keeps you going.
But what if it's taking too long?
99.9% of the time the success stories you hear online are lucky people who managed to catch a break.
Catching a break is what we all want, and a big problem with it is that almost all of those people who managed to catch a break only credit their hard work, passion, dedication, etc. but never mention how lucky they are to catch a break.
That makes others feel like they are not doing enough and that their efforts are not as valuable when in reality, we all need tons of luck in order to be successful.
That might sound discouraging because luck is not something we can control and manipulate, but acknowledging that luck plays a big role in success can help you be more patient.
Luck is crucial for success, but it's nothing without hard work and patience
Working hard (smart) should always be your goal, but don't think you're not doing enough just because you're not successful right this moment. Be patient.
#1 Reason for impatience is trying to prove something to others
Do it for yourself! Don't focus on what others think, what your friends or parents think. If you take your time, and focus on what makes you happy, others will feel your energy and you will be 100x more likely to succeed in everything you do.
Growing the Business
In order for a business to grow it needs to be making money.
But, when you're at the start of your business journey, your business is obviously not making any money, so what should you do?
The sources of your income are your customers, and in order to get customers, you need to focus on getting their attention. Now, since your business is not yet making any money that you can invest into paid advertising, you either need to invest your own money or focus on social media marketing.
Social Media marketing is free but can take a long time before making any real difference, but in the long run, it can be a huge benefit to your business.
What social media should I focus on?
When deciding on which social media to go with, always keep in mind a few things first:
- Can I make the content that the users on the platform want?
- Are my ideal customers using this platform?
- Can users on this platform convert to paying customers?
- Is the goal of the platform aligned with the goal of my business?
Many businesses (Branding Expert included) focus on many social media platforms at the same time in order to get the most out of social media traffic, but focusing on too many social media can easily stretch you out too thin and waste your time because when you try being everything to everybody, you usually end up being no one to nobody.
Mastering a hand full of social media platforms or even just 1 platform can be a much better option, especially at the start of your journey.
HUGE TIP: Always do what's trending!
That tip might be obvious to those
who know how to grow their social media, but a lot of people take too long to notice that what's new always gets the most attention, and those who capitalize on that always make the most profit.
A great place to start posting your content is Instagram. Instagram is a HUGE platform that awards high-quality attractive pictures, so if you plan on using Instagram, make sure to focus on your design and photography skills in order to stand out and be successful.
Tip: To grow your Instagram following make sure to check out Dollar Eighty
Dollar Eighty is a Growth strategy tool that became popular through a well-known Entrepreneur Gary Vee. Basically, it allows you to engage on posts, gain followers, and get traffic to your profile. We highly recommend it for people who have under 20k followers.
Collecting feedback from your customers is a free way to make great progress but in the beginning, you most likely don't have any customers, so the best way to get feedback for your work can be:
- Asking a relative or a friend for their thought and opinions
- Role-playing/putting yourself in your potential customer's shoes
- Asking your social media followers
- Research (a lot of it!)
All of that feedback can help you a ton when you still don't have any real customers, so don't be shy, ask around!
We all look differently at things so any kind of feedback is crucial in order to improve from different perspectives.
Also, DON'T be discouraged by "negative" feedback!
Positive feedback is awesome, and it makes you feel appreciated for the hard work you put into your business and it looks great on your testimonials page, but if you really want to push your business to the next level, you NEED criticism.
Many people ignore "negative" feedback thinking that people who write it are "haters, they have no idea what they're talking about, etc."
And yes, there are definitely people who want to discourage you, but developing "thick skin" for those things can help you tremendously in the long-run. So don't ignore negative feedback, rather filter out mean & unconstructive feedback, and pay close attention to constructive and honest criticism.
Improve the quality of your services
Customers are the most important factor of a successful business, and to acquire them, you need to focus on over-delivering.
What do we mean by that?
Over-delivering is giving more to someone than you expect in return, which leads to that person feeling satisfied, appreciated, loved, etc.
So, to increase the quality of your services, you need to give more. That doesn't mean you shouldn't stand up for yourself and your colleagues, and think about the ROI of your business, but rather think of those customers as long-term clients, someone who will come back, again and again, to purchase your products and use your services.
If your customers see your passion and dedication to making your services better for them, they will keep using your services and spread the word to others.
Another great way to improve the quality of your service is to read user feedback from your competitors.
Often, you'll find that your competitors don't focus on what their users say, which gives you the opportunity to fill those gaps and acquire those users that are looking for those services/products.
How to get more traffic from social media?
Social Media is free, and with great content, timing, and luck, you can grow your audience very effectively, but we all know that growing your social media for 99% of people takes a loooong time...
So, to combat waiting months and years for your social to grow you can use paid advertising.
Most know the power of paid advertising, but for those who don't, paid advertising is a way of reaching more people by paying for your desired outcome like clicks, views, follows, etc.
Paying for growth is a great tool, but it's definitely one of those things that take skill, patience, and a lot of testing.
The best place for advertising thus far is Facebook & Instagram.
If you're planning on advertising on Facebook or Instagram, check out this tutorial that will give you everything you need in order to get started with Paid Advertising:
Another amazing way to get more traffic on social media (especially on Instagram) is through hashtags.
To reach a wider audience using hashtags, check out this article where we show you exactly how you can grow your Instagram account step-by-step: "How you can grow your Instagram with hashtags? - Flick Review"
Monetizing and making Money
There are plenty of ways to make money and it all comes down to the type of business you have.
The most effective way of selling your products is through your website.
If you don't already have a website, you should check out Webflow.
Webflow is an amazing platform for creating Modern Websites that convert visitors into paying customers.
Once you have a website set up, you will have tons of money-making opportunities like:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sponsored posts
- Direct Sales
How to do Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is one of the most effective ways of making money online.
Many sites make most of their income only through Affiliate Marketing.
dollarsprout.com is a great example of this.
So what is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is done by referring to a product/service and getting a % commission fo