If you grew up in Eastern Kentucky, you know starting your own business is something special. We all have at least one family member or neighbor who opened their own store, ran a booth at the local street festival, or provided services to other businesses.
If someone asked you to describe what they did, would you call them entrepreneurs?
If you start your own business, you can call yourself an entrepreneur, too.
It doesn’t matter how large or small your business is. It doesn’t matter where it’s located or what it sells. It doesn’t matter if you’re operating out of a physical location or only online. You’re an entrepreneur, and you’re the backbone of Eastern Kentucky.
Entrepreneurs create new opportunities for jobs, innovation, and connection.
SOAR holds entrepreneurs in the highest regard for their grit, commitment, and ability to navigate through life’s toughest challenges. It’s not an easy path to take, and it’s full of unforeseen challenges and tough decisions.
Going after a big idea requires faith, determination, and the right tools in your toolbox. Equipping yourself with the right processes, resources, and partners at the get-go will be your best shot at success.
If you’re interested in becoming an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be bold. But you’ll also need to set the foundation for enduring success by taking the time to make a plan.
Before you start your business, make sure you take the time to plan it well by following three helpful steps.
Step 1: Prepare thoroughly
If you’ve always wanted to start your own business, you’re in the right place.
And by the way, if you already run your own business, you’ll want to pay attention because this applies to you, too. It’s never too late to go through these steps to ensure the long-term success of your company.
95% of the more than 30,000 new products entrepreneurs launch each year end up failing.
But don’t let that hold you back. You’re much more likely to be successful if you take the time to plan your business effectively. Planning your business is an exciting time. This is your moment to brainstorm and develop your ideas from a concept into something real.
You also should use this process as an opportunity to poke as many holes as possible into your plan.
Challenge yourself, address your uncertainties, and come up with an answer to every question entrepreneurs should ask themselves so you can make the best decisions.
Embracing the unknown shouldn’t deter you.
This is where it all comes together. The thorough process of planning your business will help you gain the confidence you need to get your idea off the ground.
Follow each of these steps to get started.
- Determine product-market fit to ensure there’s demand for what you want to sell.
- Identify your Ideal Client Profile (ICP), or the types of people who will benefit the most from your business’ products/services.
- Create your value proposition, a one-sentence summary of what your business will do for your customers.
- Analyze the competition so you can be sure to differentiate yourself from what’s already available to your customers.
- Establish legal and accounting functions, and whether you’ll do it yourself or hire a professional.
- Build your business plan so you have a roadmap to follow.
- Secure pre-seed funding and loans if you aren’t planning on bootstrapping it.
- Understand and prepare for risks and create a game plan to address each.
- Build your brand elements to establish trust and consistency with your customers.
Completing each of these steps will help you ensure your business idea is viable.
There’s a lot more that goes into executing each step of the planning process. Be sure to get your hands on the full checklist to ensure you do it right.
Step 2: Find community partners to help
Entrepreneurship is much less intimidating when you have a support system in place. Starting your own business is hard work. It’s easy to get intimidated and give up. You’ll be glad to have partners cheering you on and providing helpful resources.
As you begin your entrepreneurship journey, you’ll want to get connected with seasoned professionals who live and work in Eastern Kentucky.
It can’t be overstated how important it is to work with partners who understand where you come from. They’ll know what it means for you to be starting out as an entrepreneur and will help guide you through the challenging moments. And they’ll be there to celebrate your hard-earned success.
Get to know your local entrepreneurship partners:
- The SOAR Innovation team is a free local resource for small businesses. They’ve been entrepreneurs themselves, and can walk you through each step of the process.
- Co.Starters is a small business acceleration program that will help you build your business. The program brings together other entrepreneurs in Eastern Kentucky for 10–12 weeks of gaining knowledge, building relationships, and learning tools to build your business.
- Eastern Kentucky’s community partners serve entrepreneurs in your area by providing advice, best practices, and other resources to help get you started.
When you ask for help, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many jump in to help you.
Eastern Kentucky is full of helpful and talented people if you just look for them. And most of those people are eager and willing to help budding entrepreneurs like you get their ideas off the ground right here in our region.
Step 3: Get your free planning playbook
Becoming an entrepreneur is challenging.
But now’s not the time to give up. By taking your first steps, you’re already beginning to contribute to the rich history of business ownership in Eastern Kentucky. It’s time to make your family and neighbors proud of all that you can achieve.
The Complete Guide to Entrepreneurship in Eastern Kentucky: Planning Your Business is a free resource designed to help.
You can use this guide to execute the essentials of business planning.
Inside this free resource, you’ll find practical checklists, links to digital tools, and information about local professionals right here in Eastern Kentucky who can help you with all your business planning needs.
Download the guide today and start planning to turn your big ideas into a reality.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with.