5 Step Business Start

Starting a business is hard, let's be honest. There are literally hundreds of details that must be attended to throughout the process and it can be overwhelming. To simplify the process, we have identified 5 steps to starting your business that are logical and pretty easy to understand.

There are scores of books and guides along with thousands of pages on the Internet that discuss the process of starting a business. Many offer valuable insight into the process, but after 15 years of consulting with start up businesses, I've concluded that the vast majority of the information available often results in more confusion than help.

For that reason, my team and I created a simple, easy to implement and proven system that anyone, even if they are brand new, can understand and implement. It is called 5 Step Business Start®.

Our 5 Steps To Starting Your Business are designed with YOU in mind. Although the process may seem streamlined, I guarantee that everything you need to know and understand about launching a business successfully is integrated within the 5 Steps!

Our process is based on a logical progression from idea/concept to vetting the idea, researching the business niche, planning each stage of the start up process, staging the business and finally launching your business and serving your customers.

Step 1: "Define It"

The universal assumption when starting a business is "write a business plan". While creating a business plan is important, it is only one step in the process. What I have experienced working with new business owners is their first attempt to write the traditional business plan is more of an academic exercise instead of a description of what they actually plan to in their business.

In most instances prospective business owners are more concerned with following a defined structure; including volumes of content regardless of its relevance to their business idea; creating charts and graphs for esthetic purposes; and presenting a financial case to impress others. They do not connect the plan with what they actually plan to do.

As a result of this approach to planning, the majority of prospective business owners:

  • Don't understand what’s important to make their business work,
  • Or... how to use information in their plan to make decisions,
  • Or... understand what to do or in what order.

Being connected to what you plan to do, knowing how to make decisions and doing things in the right order are essential to a successful business start up.

Step #2 "Research It"

There are hundreds of good books on conducting industry and market research for business planning. I have read many of them as well as many current articles, watched videos and attended presentations on the topic. In many instances these resources inform the reader of what information to include in the plan, but they do not explain how to use the information or how it relates to your business idea.

As a result, the task of conducting research by new business owners is merely a “required textbook exercise” that ends up not having any connection with what the business owner plans or needs to do. This is contrary to the role of industry and market research when starting your business. Industry and market research should:

  • Guide your decision making
  • Inform you of what to do
  • Identify the opportunities that exist in the market
  • Help you strategize to beat the competition
  • Equip you with factual financial data that help you make realistic financial projections and decisions

Step #3 "Plan It"

The plan should provide you direction as to what activities, financial resources, expertise, and responsibilities are required to make the business work.

With this information, you will determine whether the business idea is feasible and whether you have the resources, time, and drive to put forth the effort to start the business.

In Step 3 you will develop the three elements of your business plan:

  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Plan

Step # 4 "Stage It:

At this point you have defined your idea in business terms, vetted the idea to determine “if it is what you think it is” by doing some research/fact finding, and made adjustments to the idea that reflects what you have learned from the research. Furthermore, you have documented your plan in three categories: marketing, operations, and financial management. You also have analyzed and critiqued the plan’s strategy and received objective feedback from knowledgeable advisers. The next step in starting your business is “Stage It.”
In this step, you will begin to put in place the required elements to establish the business. These elements include items such as:

  • Identify and secure finances
  • Identify a location
  • Create branding strategy
  • Secure marketing resources (business cards, website, brochures, etc.)
  • Establish legal structure
  • State and local registration
  • Trademarks and copyrights
  • Bank accounts, insurance

The most important item is identifying and securing the finances, so let’s start here.

Step #5 "Start It"

  1. Define It
  2. Research It
  3. Plan It
  4. Stage It
  5. Now, Start It!

Once you've completed the "5 Steps", your business idea will be focused and well defined.

Your research has made you more knowledgeable about the business niche you have chosen and it will provide you with the insight to make smart, informed decisions.

You have developed a plan that is guided by facts, comprised of strategies that leverage the advantages your business offers and constructed a financial picture that is based on realistic assumptions.

Finances, business location, licenses, equipment, etc. have been obtained. Now it’s time to do what a business does, serve its customers.

Before You Get Started

Watch the videos below for more insight into the business start-up process. Then scroll to the bottom and grab your free chapter from the 5 Step Business Start™ system.

Other Resources

How to Start a Business with basics, planning, and ideas.

Everything on how to start a business from loans, finance, marketing, and growing a small business.

How to Start a Business with a Partner - Small Business - WSJ.com

Business partners often start businesses together with little planning and few ground rules. Sooner or later, they discover the hard way that what's left unsaid or  ...

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