4 Keys Steps To Starting a Business According To Experts

If you’re looking to stack the odds in your favor, then consider the following strategies on how to start a small business, according to financial experts who’ve seen it all and know the most common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.

1. Define your value

You may have nothing but the best intentions for wanting to start your own business, but are you sure it’s one that’s poised to generate value (think revenue)? Sure, money isn’t everything, but it is an essential component to making your business take off and be sustainable, so make sure that your venture is one that has a reasonable chance of returning on your investment of blood, sweat, tears, and start-up capital. Back up your hopes with analytics that project a clear and realistic trajectory into the black at some point in time. Also be sure to define how your business idea and brand stand out from the competition, disrupt your industry, and contribute substantively to the world—because if they don’t, then what’s the point?

2. Plan (and plan some more)

Enthusiasm is a great thing to have when starting a new venture, but it will rarely sustain a business past initial takeoff. Get grounded and make sure you plan—both for the immediate future and for what lies ahead. Temper your entrepreneurial excitement with a solid business plan that legitimizes your goals with demonstrably achievable milestones. (If you’re going to court startup capital from outside sources, this is an absolute must.) Also, take the time to do some long-range projections for your business (try one- and five-year plans to start); these can always be revised as your business idea grows and evolves, but they will be a huge help in determining whether you’re on track for success or a collision course with failure.

3. Get help

No person is an island, and your business shouldn’t be one either. Savvy entrepreneurs know to leverage their networks to take full advantage of the knowledge, talent, and experience of people in their orbits in an effort to make their business ideas. Regardless of your industry, running a business takes a wide and varied set of skills, and unless you’re an indomitable entrepreneurial wizard and jack-of-all-trades, do yourself a favor and rely on the expertise of others to benefit your new venture. Don’t be afraid to pay for some outside advice and guidance if need be—consider it a sound investment.

4. Learn from mistakes

The truth is, almost no one gets everything exactly right when starting a business. But often, the difference between a successful business and a flop is an entrepreneur who learns from their mistakes. You can either self-assess regularly, take note of what went wrong, and make a swift course correction… or sit back, avoid self-assessment, and remain doomed to keep repeating failures. Consider the missteps that happen along the way as valuable learning moments, and use them to your advantage as you trudge forward.