Thanks to the trajectory that 2020 has taken, you have probably been extremely motivated to learn how to create your own business.
And despite the hundreds or thousands of entrepreneurs out there telling you how they created their empire, the process is pretty straightforward.
Today, I’m going to cut through all noise and give you a point-blank, step-by-step guide on what it takes to develop a successful business.
This is for you if you’re an aspiring startup founder, digital coach, or you’re looking to become a 7-figure CEO.
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This is not for you if you’re not ready to take your side hustle seriously or if you’re not ready to market yourself alongside your business.
There are 10 steps outlined in this guide, which I understand may seem a bit overwhelming.
My suggestion? Tackle each of these steps one at a time— especially if you’re starting from scratch and you’re on your own. However, I’m going to tell you right now that the best thing you can do for your business is to:
- Ask for help
- Collect as much information as impossible
You’ll also find that some of these steps can be packaged into one. If you’re ready to catapult your business so that you can become an authority in your industry, there’s a way you can get through these steps quicker (but I’ll save that tip towards the end).
1. Outline your personal brand
Step one towards becoming the leader in your industry: your personal brand.
On LinkedIn and Facebook groups, I’ve been noticing an upsurge of people asking the question, “What is personal branding?”
I think the reason this phrase has become so commonplace is because people are beginning to see how successful influencers and thought leaders like Rachel Hollis are by just being themselves.
That’s what your personal brand is all about. In today’s world, it’s about who knows you, not who you know. If you want people to like, know, and trust your service company or product, it all starts with the CEO.
Like it or not, people want and need to see your face on social media and alongside your business before they’ll buy from you.
Don’t believe me? Well, according to Oberlo, “86% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support.”
So step one is to outline your personal brand. Figure out what it is you believe in, what you have to offer, and ultimately, what you want to be known for.
My entire blog is full of resources for getting started with your personal brand. But if you need consistent help, you can join my free Personal Branding Masterclass for exclusive guidance on getting your personal brand to stand out.
2. How to create your own business based on market research
This is one of my favorite parts of my job. For my Fast Track clients, a part of their brand strategy is analyzing what their competitors are doing.
This step helps us get a clearer picture of what is already being offered and how it’s being marketed. With that in mind, I’m able to give my personal brand clients a strategy to get ahead of the game. With this, we can determine what gaps need to be filled in your industry and what product or service your brand can offer to fit those needs.
One thing I make sure to include in this research is information on the CEO’s personal brand. If I Google another founder and nothing comes up, that’s good news for you.
Now we know that we can outline your personal brand to help get the word out about your business. So, instead of solely depending on one strategy to market your business, you now essentially have two channels driving consumers to your platforms.
3. Determine your business product or service
Now that you know what you have to offer and what your competition is already doing, you need to find the product or service that sets you apart.
Your business needs to speak to your consumer’s hierarchy of needs. That’s to say that your product or service needs to help them survive and thrive.
Are you helping them find shelter, food, or a relationship?
Or are you offering them something that will help them thrive? This can be anything from finding the right financial path to providing your consumer with a community that fits their needs.
If you can’t sell your product to your friends, family, or even yourself, then chances are nobody else is going to buy into it either. Use your sphere of influence to determine something that you, the expert, can offer to your industry to help your future customers find success.
4. Write a business plan
As I said earlier, some of these steps can be done in unison. Determining your product will naturally take you to the step of formulating a business plan. More often than not, you’ll want to do this in one sitting.
A business plan is made up of a few moving parts. Typically, it will have:
- Mission Statement
- Business summary or elevator pitch
- Market analysis
- Product or service description
- Marketing and sales path
- Funding requests
- Financial projections
Without a working business plan, you won’t have the guidance you need to move forward with your idea. Your business plan helps you map out your plan for success, which is a major motivator in actually getting your company started.
Keep in mind that while you are outlining this business plan, you should be actively promoting your personal brand.
That way, when it comes time to sell your product or service or your pitch to an investor, they can Google your name to see why they should trust you.
With a personal brand presence under your belt, customers and investors will be more inclined to buy into your idea because you have been actively giving advice (or entertainment) before you even launched your company.
5. Figure out your ideal client
The best way to determine your business product or service is by understanding who your ideal client is. Define what type of person is going to by from you, what struggles they have, and what guidance they need to thrive.
Your brand is going to act as the guidance your ideal client needs to succeed. That’s why it’s so important to get in front of your customer’s with a personal brand first before you ask them to buy.
Your brand gives consumers someone to relate with. By sharing your own experiences as a business owner (the good and the bad), you will build a loyal audience of potential buyers. Once they see your success, they will buy into the product or service you’re selling. If you believe in it, they’ll believe in it, too.
However, before you begin pitching your business, you need to establish your expertise. This is where social media, blogs, and free downloads or webinars come into play. Give your ideal client a sneak peek at what you have to offer by giving it to them for free. Then, slowly nurture that relationship until they’re ready to buy.
From there, your product or service will serve as the motivator to get them to take action, whether that’s hiring a CPA or buying the next high-end beauty product.
6. Build a website
I’m not sure why people don’t think it’s necessary to have a website in 2020. But I can’t tell you how many people have come to me asking for help with their brand and all they have is a messy Facebook account.
While it’s possible to sell yourself on social media, your audience needs to have a place where they can’t get distracted by the other information or guidance being offered to them (i.e. your competitors).
Your website should serve as your brand’s central hub for all things Your Brand. But should you showcase your business brand or your personal brand on your website? Here’s the best way to structure your website depending on your business:
Product-based company: Showcase UGC (user-generated content) and your product. If you don’t have any testimonials yet, use your personal brand to tell people why they should buy your product!
Your website should always have an About section which is the perfect place to display your origin story as an entrepreneur. From there, invite your potential buyers to follow you on social media, or to join your email list or Facebook group so they can get to know you and see you using your product.
Service-Based business: You should be on full display on your website if your a services based company. When you’re going to be working one-on-one with clients, your clients are going to want to make sure they trust and ultimately like the person they’re going to be working closely with.
And remember: The images, copy, and ease of your website all play a role in whether or not people like, know, and trust you. You only have about 0.05 seconds before users to form an opinion about your website and your business.
7. Set up your social media
Again, you can do this simultaneously while building your website, but no mistake— your website should come first.
There are a ton of nuances that come with making a name for yourself on social media. You need to have:
- Professional photography
- Branded graphics
- A hashtag strategy
- Video content
- Willingness to show up every day to engage with potential customers
Your social media is a major competent when you’re looking into how to create your own business. I bet you’ve spent hours, if not days, researching the different platforms and social media strategies you need to know.
This is when having a team or a partner will come in handy for your business. Instead of wasting hours and time trying to figure out how to present your brand on social media, you can outsource so that someone else does that for you.
If you’re not ready to take that step yet, here’s what you can do to set up your social media:
- Pick 3 platforms
- Write a content schedule
- Create branded templates
- Research hashtag strategies
- Be consistent
8. Market your business
Just like social media, there are plenty of ways to market your business. Social media just happens to be the free version that everyone takes advantage of.
From there, you can dig into paid advertising. You can utilize:
- Google ads
- Facebook/Instagram Ads
- Influencer marketing
- TV/YouTuber commercials
The list goes on.
One tip that can help you sort out the content and copy you use for your ads is to test it out organically on your social media channels. Come up with 3-5 marketing concepts and see which combination of graphics, video, and copy gets the most engagement. Then, pick a paid advertising stream and start collecting data.
Pro Tip: You must collect emails when you run social media ads so that you can determine your ROI. Offer a freebie or a discount code in exchange for your viewers’ email so that you can stay in constant contact with them until they’re ready to buy.
9. Get to know your customers
We’ve already talked bout determining your ideal client, but that’s a pretty broad generalization. Getting to know your customers comes when you start cultivating your community.
Your community can form on social media, in private Facebook Groups, or through your email system. By producing consistent content aline, your audience will be able to determine that you’re an expert in your industry. By engaging with them daily, you’ll begin to better understand who your customers are and what they want.
Make sure you take the time to give to your community more than you’re willing to take. Give your online community opportunities to ask you questions, voice their concerns, or share in your triumphs and frustrations.
As you get to know your customers, you’ll be able to slowly alter your business content, copy, and marketing strategies to more definitively pitch to your ideal client.
10. Scale your business with press and funding
The final stage of creating a successful business is to blast your name in the press and acquire funding.
If you’ve done a well enough job with your personal brand (i.e. you’ve established your social presence, have a community, and show up consistently), then the press is going to come to you.
You want press for your business because it’s the only way to get your business seen and heard outside of your current community. It also establishes you, the CEO, as a thought leader, which in time will present more opportunities for your career.
You can also scale your business through funding. Keep in mind that investors look closely at the founders of a company to determine whether they like, know, and trust them the same way your customers do. This is why your personal brand is the first and continuous method for building a successful company.