Recently, I have been working for someone to build a very cool business from scratch. I used the word cool because it’s really cool indeed (I’m going to skip the part where I mention the kind of business it is).

Asides that, I’m also building a consultancy business myself (details in my head to prevent intellectual theft) and because of these projects, I have been working all the while, burning the midnight oil (in this case, the midnight solar bulb in my room). I have learnt, unlearnt, relearnt and discovered many business secrets. Although I’m still discovering some more, but I thought to share them with my readers.

Many startups or small businesses fail within their first 3-5 years of operation, most times, these business owners go into it for money, some for prestige, and others…to show their previous bosses what they are capable of.

But whatever reasons you have for going into business, know that your business can never succeed if you lack the right skills, fail to do a solid plan and refuse to manage cash flow into and out of the business.

So how do you start a business without fear of writing your own pink slip?

1. Define Your Niche – A niche is any position of opportunity for which one is well-suited, such as a particular market in business. You must first ascertain where you will concentrate your efforts on, what kind of business it is and how to penetrate that industry. Without a niche, it will be difficult to get your business running properly

2. Carry Out Proper Market Research – Many new business owners are so excited about their cool business ideas that they rush out to open their doors expecting customers to come in. They become disappointed at the end when this doesn’t happen. Just because you are excited about your business doesn’t mean that other people are. So without careful planning, positioning and stable on going planning, your business will struggle.

3. Develop a Unique Positioning – This is that which makes you standout. It’s what makes people choose you rather than a competitor. Find out that unique thing about your business, develop it and use it everyday. Use it on your marketingaterials, let it headline your social media posts and stay true to it.

4. Market Your Business –

Make your marketing so useful people would pay you for it, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. If you’re not marketing, you won’t be known. Your marketing must appeal to the customers otherwise, you won’t make sales.

5. Build An Online Presence – 95% of the people are online. Out of that 95, you can be sure that your customers are part of them. You need to develop a strong presence online because Online promotion is a necessity for almost any business these days. You can promote your business on social media with little to no charge at all. So if you’re just starting out or you have a very low budget, putting your business online can be a game changer for you.

There are many other things to note before launching any business. I’ll advice that you do your research well, read a lot of books on business and get a coach or a mentor.

As much as planning properly is good, don’t get stuck in the analysis phase. Set out fast remember the secret of getting ahead is getting started.