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5 Tips I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business When I started my business six years ago, I didn't know where to start. Here's what I learned that can help other aspiring entrepreneurs.

By Ivan Popov Edited by Kara McIntyre

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At the very beginning of my entrepreneurial career, I remember wondering how to begin and what steps to take in order to kickstart my business. My niche was, and still is, software development and WordPress — while I had plenty of skills and knowledge in the field, I figured out I had to upgrade my business establishment education.

Now, six years into business ownership, I decided it's time for me to share some useful tips on starting a small-to-medium enterprise. I hope this enlightens an aspiring entrepreneur's path, making the whole process of running a business smoother and a lot less turbulent.

Related: If Running Your Business Feels Hard, You're Doing it Right. Here's Why

Establishing a business can be a lot trickier than you expect

Once we feel confident enough in our skills and expertise in any given business niche, it's quite normal for the entrepreneurial planning to hit in:

  • What if I manage to deliver dazzling services and products for the customers?
  • What if I succeed at establishing a company that will quickly create a name for itself in the industry?
  • How hard can it be exactly?

Those are all common questions the majority of aspiring entrepreneurs have at the very beginning of their exciting yet challenging business journey. My job here is not to discourage you by stating that owning a business is tricky — quite the opposite, actually. The tricky part of the process makes it even more enticing and worth your time and energy. It all comes to having the proper mindset and a good plan, to begin with.

We must have in mind that sometimes the excitement can blur our judgment for a moment and make us underestimate the business establishment process. And while I believe the trial-and-error approach to things is quite valuable since we learn from our mistakes, I also think that having the fundamentals in mind can help us improve from the get-go and kickstart our company in the best way possible.

I often hear a rather peculiar misconception: A small business is easier to be maintained than a big one. But that's not the case.

A business is a business, regardless of its employees or subdivisions count. You'd still have clients, interviews, projects, need for finding the perfect leadership style, meetings, workshops, workload distribution, etc. My advice would be not to fall victim to the idea that a small company does not require a lot of work — it does and, more often than not, it requires even more.

So, without further ado, let's discuss five smart business tips that would help you establish your enterprise successfully.

Related: 15 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

1. Craft your name, purpose and mission first

Come up with a great business identity first. You'd want to start working on your brand's credibility right from the start — that's important so that clients would soon link your company directly to professionalism and success.

But in order for you to do so, you need to be very clear about what your company represents. So take a moment (or months) and come up with a detailed vision of your future company. Does its name tell the potential customer what this business is all about? Or is it short, precise and easy to remember? What your business's message to the people would be? Have you thought about a logo? How would you communicate your brand's identity with your potential customers?

Those are all questions you absolutely need to find the answer to prior to starting your business. It's called business strategy.

2. Think in advance about your digital presence

Nowadays, almost every business establishes a place for itself online. Don't miss your chance to receive all those likes, shares and mentions. Besides, the majority of clients these days look up a business online first — buy a domain, find an expert to build your website and hire marketing professionals to come up with a great social media plan.

3. Pay attention to your initial investments

Don't forget that a business always requires investing: money, effort and energy. When we refer to the financial aspect of this, it's important for you to prepare in advance — engage in thorough research so you know the money you'll be needing, at least in the very beginning.

4. Avoid hiring just anybody

A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs fall into the trap of settling with unqualified employees at the beginning hoping they'll find experts in the future. I assume this to be a rather wrong business approach — your business will need professionals right from the start. Make sure you kickstart it with a dazzling team of employees who know what they're doing.

5. Get to know your competitors and be consistent

Unless you come up with a really peculiar business idea, chances are your niche would be quite crowded. In order for your business to hit it off, it needs to offer its customers uniqueness. The way to do so is to investigate and research the competitors.

Find something that will outline your business and make it stand out. Also, consistency equals credibility — avoid often changing your brand's tone of voice, logo, mission statement and overall online presence.

Related: 50 Tips for Starting Your Own Company

The bottom line

By all means, starting a business is a challenging yet exciting endeavor. But this shouldn't scare you. With proper planning and an excellent entrepreneurial mindset, anyone can skyrocket an enterprise.

I believe the above steps will surely help you down the road. Good luck and keep on going — the business world awaits your ideas.

Ivan Popov

CEO and Tech Lead of Vipe Studio

Ivan Popov serves as the CEO of Vipe Studio, which establishes and maintains WordPress-based websites for enterprises and SMEs. He is always curious about technology, web and software development, WordPress, sports, journalism, leadership, entrepreneurship and all things mental health.

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