The Steps to Success: What Goes Into Starting an SME?

If you are a budding entrepreneur looking to start your first small business, this is the article for you. Starting your very own business can be both an exhilarating and challenging time in your life. With about two-thirds of businesses only surviving for 2 years and around half going bust before the 5-year mark, it is so important that new business owners take the necessary steps to ensure the longevity of their business. In today’s article, we have a look at 5 important steps new business owners need to take in order to start a successful SME. From small business grants to planning your budget, we look at what it takes to build a successful enterprise. Read on to find out more! 


1. Evaluate Your Business Plan

The first and most important step in starting a long-lasting SME is to fully assess your business plan. The only way you will be able to ensure that your business is one that will be successful and long lasting is by doing your market research. You can do this by researching the industry, looking into competitors and examining your target customer base with the help of surveys and questionnaires. It is incredibly important that you identify your business’ strengths, weaknesses and unique selling points during the infant stages of building your business. How feasible is your business? Do you qualify for a small business grant? Do you have enough capital? All these are questions you should be asking yourself when looking into starting your own SME. 


2. Plan Your Finances/Budget

The inescapable fact is that you are going to require a significant amount of capital or budget when starting an SME. This is why it is so important that you assess if you are able to meet these financial obligations and any future expenses that may come your way. It is recommended that you liaise with a financial planner or create a spreadsheet of all the expenses that you will incur when starting your SME. This may include costs of legal fees, equipment, staffing, market research, property leases, marketing and so on. The combined total of all these various aspects will be the initial investment that you will need to start your business. 


3. Ensure You Meet Legal Obligations

Part of running a business includes ensuring that you meet all legal obligations. This includes acquiring the necessary licenses, registrations, taxation and insurance that you will require to set up shop. Based on your business structure, tax registrations will differ. This is why we highly recommend doing your research and using tools such as the business license finder when you are in the midst of setting up your SME. Failing to acquire certain licenses may result in hefty penalties or even the closure of your business. 


4. Pick A Business Location

Location is everything. Unless you are looking to start an SME out of your own living room, finding the ideal business location is crucial when starting your own business. If you are starting a brick and mortar store, ensuring that you are situated in a location that attracts your target market is key. If you are running an online business, ensuring that you create a strong online presence with the aid of a website and social media profiles is the equivalent of finding the ideal location for a retail store. The location and presence of your business can be a make or break decision, so always take your time and choose wisely. 


5. Market Your Business

You may have the best business plan, incredible staff and top of the line product, but without marketing, your business is never going to succeed. Marketing is a crucial component of ensuring the success of your SME, so identifying your marketing strategies early on in the game is always recommended. Are you going to rely solely on digital marketing? Perhaps you’re looking into launching TV commercials or spreads in magazines. Depending on the type of business and your marketing style, options will differ. Regardless of your marketing strategy, coming up with a precise plan on how you are going to get your brand out there is essential. 


And there you have it – 5 of the most important factors to look into and prioritise for anyone looking to start a successful SME. We wish you all the best in your endeavours!