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So, you want to start a business?

Congratulations, my friend.

Truly, congratulations.

The world needs people like you.

No, it’s not just flattery, I mean it.

The world is full of problems, and we need people who can solve them.

Because that’s what an entrepreneur does: they get paid to solve big problems.

So, how do you start a business?

Let’s take it step by step.

Whether you’re aiming to start a small local business or dreaming of launching a tech startup that becomes a multinational, there are essential steps every aspiring entrepreneur needs to consider.

How do I know?

Well, I’m familiar with these steps.

They’re the same steps I took when I opened my old real estate agency in Italy and later when I started this blog.

The steps are always the same for anyone; what changes is, of course, how they’re applied.

But I’ll help you with that through this blog, and I’ll do it completely free of charge.

How Businesses Begin: Tracing the Process’s Origins

Before we dive into the heart of the matter, there’s a concept I want to talk to you about right away because I know some might be a bit scared: Relax, you don’t have to come up with the idea of the century to make money with a business.

Despite what you’ve always been led to believe, that you need a groundbreaking and never-before-seen idea to make money with a new business today, you should know that it actually works the other way around.

You don’t need to invent the next Facebook, especially because, as I’ll show you, it’s practically impossible.

You can make money with the simplest activities.

Take Wayfair, for example.

It’s an e-commerce that sells home goods.

What could be more ordinary, saturated, and unremarkable than home goods?

Yet our Wayfair rakes in billions of dollars in annual revenue.

And it all started back in 2002 as a simple online store run by its two owners and co-founders, Niraj Shah and Steve Conine.

This means that with a good differentiating idea, you can start highly profitable businesses in practically any niche by selling the most ordinary products for which there’s a market of people willing to buy them.

The key is to start the business following the model of successful companies, a model also followed by Wayfair, which I’ll outline in this blog post.

The steps I’m about to share aren’t made up by me or some self-proclaimed marketing guru; they’re advice from one of the most important books in the business world, titled “The Lean Startup” written by Eric Ries, a significant American entrepreneur from Silicon Valley.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries book cover

Even though “The Lean Startup” mainly focuses on tech startups, its principles are applicable to a wide range of businesses, regardless of the industry.

Ries provides concrete examples and case studies illustrating how companies of all sizes can apply lean principles to become more innovative, efficient, and competitive.

Your only task will be to adapt the examples provided to your business model.

For completeness of information, I’ve simply added some steps based on my direct entrepreneurial experience in the field.

So you can trust me: follow the steps in this post exactly in the order I propose, and you’ll effectively launch your entrepreneurial idea.

The Key Business Concept Emphasized by Successful Entrepreneurs

I’m well aware that upon reading this paragraph, someone might exclaim, “Wow, what a revelation! It’s like discovering hot water!”

Feel free to think that way; it’s perfectly fine.

However, the purpose of this blog is to share all the most vital and reliably effective information.

If the greatest entrepreneurs repeat this concept continuously in their biographies, even if it seems obvious at first glance, there must be a reason.

What’s this concept?

No sales or marketing technique can sell a product that the market isn’t interested in buying.

This concept is the first idea you need to grasp to start your entrepreneurial journey.

Always remember it, and you’ll thrive longer in the tough business world.

I repeat it: No sales or marketing technique can sell a product that the market isn’t interested in buying.

If you want to sell a product or service that has no market – for one reason or another – you can study the greatest sales and marketing techniques the human mind can conceive, but the result will be the same: If there’s no market, you won’t sell anything.

Unfortunately, this seemingly simple and obvious concept is actually the reason for the failure of a staggering number of companies.

That’s why the greatest entrepreneurs keep emphasizing it repeatedly.

It’s like a beautiful villa with a pool designed with the latest innovations in the real estate sector and equipped with all the comforts of this world… and building it in the middle of an industrial area with a pollution rate beyond human tolerance levels, stuff that when you open the door in the morning, your clothes automatically turn black.

A modern villa with a swimming pool nestled within an industrial area.
A modern villa with a swimming pool situated amidst the pollution of an industrial area.
Source: ChatGPT.

You understand yourself that as wonderful as this villa may be, no one would buy it, right?

Consider that this example, which might seem silly, actually represents most of the emails I receive from the readers of this blog:

  • READER: “Alessandro, I want to sell this product/service!”
  • ME: “Excellent! Have you checked if there’s a market segment that wants it and would be willing to pay to buy it?”
  • READER: “Uh, I don’t know… But it’s a new and really extraordinary product, and you’ll see people will love it!”

Can you guess how it went?

Right: no one bought it.

So, before delving into marketing techniques, sales, the psychology related to business, and everything that follows, we need to make sure that your product or service has a group of people who want to buy it.

Without a target market and potential customers, starting a business will just be a waste of money.

I can assure you from experience that seeing your entrepreneurial dreams shatter can be very damaging, even mentally, and it can be hard to recover from.

Creating a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

The process to start a business, as I’ve explained before, follows specific steps.

I’ve already written comprehensive blog posts for each of these steps, so I’ll list them below.

Follow the lessons in the order I present them on this page (VERY important).

The reading will be free, and you can do it anytime.

Here’s the step-by-step process to start a business:

The Business Plan

Many entrepreneurs get so excited about their business idea that they dive in headfirst without organizing themselves, adjusting their course as they go and inevitably making mistakes.

Then there are those entrepreneurs who become paralyzed by intense analysis of everything related to their business.

They’re the ones who never get started – the classic perfectionists.

Oh, I know them well because I’m one of them.

Growing up, I’ve improved, but I’m the type who wants things to be perfect before starting.

And since perfection isn’t a concept that an ordinary mortal like me can embrace, I never begin.

What helped me abandon perfection in life?

Writing down the things I need to do in my to-do list.

What helped me abandon perfectionism in work?

The business plan.

The business plan is a document that represents the to-do list of our business.

It’s the document you’ll need to take to the bank to try to get a loan (along with the marketing plan), so make sure to build it clearly and comprehensively.

How to write it and what to write?

I’ve prepared a blog post on the topic that will guide you through the business plan in detail. It also includes a free Word file for you to download, fill in with your information, and use: What Is a Business Plan.”

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