The First Things To Do When Starting A Business - Answers From Real Entrepreneurs
Starting a business can take many forms, and not every way is best for every entrepreneur/industry/situation. We've gathered together an ever-growing list of entrepreneurs, and they have agreed to share how they first started their business into what it is today.
Learn On Someone Else's Dime
Alexis Yarrington - Happy Home Dogs
"Learn on someone else's dime. Jumping into a new industry that you know nothing about can be terrifying. And for good reason. You know NOTHING!
"Getting a job somewhere that specializes in what you're looking to do really helps you learn what your future competitors are doing, what results they are having, what you do & don't like about the process, and what customers in your niche are expecting.
"This is a HUGE advantage, and keeps you from selling yourself short."
Make a List of Everyone You Know
Dave Ashworth - Quantify Group
"The first things I did when starting my business was make a list of everyone I knew. I needed to get the word out and I felt that people that knew me would help in that journey. I made a list and started reaching out to everyone."
Registered a Copyright
Dave Combs - Combs Music
"One of the first things I did upon recording Rachel's Song was to register the recording with BMI and with the US Copyright Office."
Purchase Domain Name and Secure Social Media
Dave Coke - Rampart Outfitters
"The very first thing that I did was purchase the domain name for my business. The next thing was securing my official accounts on social media, and getting my logo and coloring set up. I wanted the logo to speak for itself and display the true meaning of what a "Rampart" truly is, a defense and barrier. This took some time and a lot of work from my design artist but with open communication we were able to come up with the perfect logo and color scheme to grow the Rampart Outfitters brand. It seemed odd at the time to have all of these accounts and website domains secured before I even had a logo or design finalized, but I knew that for my business to continue to grow become marketable I would need to have all these frame work items in order to maintain legitimacy from the start."
Dug My Well Before I Needed To Drink
Karley Cunningham - Big Bold Brands
"The first thing I did when I started my business was 'digging my well before I needed to drink from it.' Meaning, I started my business as a side hustle and worked on building my network and enough clients before I fully dove in full time."
I Took A Day To Test Out The Idea
Andrew Kamphey - Better Sheets
"The first thing I made BetterSheets was 8 videos. I spent the first day making 8 videos, to know if I could make them. I then built the landing page in Carrd and launched on Gumroad. I put it out in the world to see if anyone cared it took 3 days for the sale. (Launched late Friday, first sale Monday)."
Did My Research
Kirk Allgeyer - Austin & Monica Digital Design
"The first thing I did when starting my business was researching. I went online to find out how to start a business, which services were available to help me start or protect it and what my obligations would be to maintain it until I could begin selling my first product."
I Joined a 3-month in-person business class
"The first thing I did when I started my business was join a 3-month in-person business class that taught me the basics of finances, business self-reliance, meeting customer needs, and customer retention. This class was so vital to my foundational understanding of business. I met some amazing people there too who have become great friends and supporters of my business."
Do a Gut-Check
Timothy Kelley - Teleray.com
"The first thing I did is gut-check myself to see if I was really ready to make the leap. This is by looking at and accepting the worst-case scenarios. Could I lose my house? was on the table. This is not an exercise to evaluate failure, but more to evaluate what you can and can't handle. If the thought of hitting lows is too much because you will have some downtimes. After you become comfortable with the understanding that this path is not for the weak or those who need complete stability, you can then form the business, arrange capital, plan your execution and begin. Statting without going through this step is a mistake. You need to look at every possible pitfall from financing to family. support is not just financial, but emotional and professional."
Natalie Cook - Copper 8 Strategies
"The first thing I did when I started my business was to try to get paid for doing what I offered. This was my consulting way of "minimum viable product". Once I had some work under my belt I was able to focus in on my key offerings, develop processes around them and scale my business."
Joshua Alexander - Ping Away
"Since our product is new to the market, the first thing we wanted to do was get protection. We were going back and forth on what step 1 should be; whether we should start the patent process or build a working prototype. Ultimately we decided to go with the former, with the prototype process being easier once we could have that safety net."
Take an Online Course
Leslie Trager - Evolve Beyond Trauma
"The first thing I did when I started my business was form an LLC. I wanted to make sure my life savings wasn't on the line as I started my business. The second thing I did was complete a six month on-line course in how to start a virtual business. I learned to be successful, I needed to hire out for the tasks that were hard for me to do. It was not worth my time to struggle over them."
Create A Moat
Elizabeth Davison - Space For Arts
"Space for Arts is a trusted brand within our photo, video, TV and film production community. Our B2B marketplace is powered by a patent pending workflow SaaS solution automating pen & paper workflows for both studio spaces and the production teams who book space in this media vertical. We further create a competitive moat by taking a deep dive and understanding our customer journey. Our B2B marketplace is created by production professionals for production professionals."