5 Crucial Steps for Launching a Business This Year

Find an unmet niche in your industry and implement a strong business map to successfully launch your new business.

Establishing your own business can be one of the most exciting parts of your career. Starting your own business offers many opportunities and allows an entrepreneur to choose his or her own hours and spend more quality time with family. You may have more fun at work and even be able to choose the people you work with at your startup. I started my first company when I was 23 and I recently started another one in the online invoicing space called Sighted.com.

Launching a new business takes a lot of time, energy and courage. If you skip steps, you could set yourself up for failure. Start your 2017 off right with these five crucial steps every new business needs to be prosperous.

1. Know your industry and what’s missing.

Starting your own business is about more than just knowing an industry. As an entrepreneur, you should make it your mission to find a gap in the market that no other company has thought about. For example, eXp World Holdings Inc. achieved this by being the first to take its real estate company to the cloud. Other companies are now following the lead of eXp World Holdings.

2. Make your business digital.

We live in a world in which consumers can purchase virtually everything online. Consumers are used to acquiring products and services instantly. Many brick and mortar stores across the United States suffered due to their lack of online presence, so make sure that your service or product is accessible on the web. Building a website and launching mobile applications are essential tasks for any new business to remain connected to consumers. You do not have to hire an expert, there are lots of great DIY tools like Weebly for websites or Buildfire for making apps.

3. Use collaborative communication tools.

Choosing the right team to embark on a startup journey is important. Knowing how to efficiently communicate with them is crucial. Email is still many businesses’ go-to way of communicating both internally and externally. However, by using instant messaging applications like Slack, employees are able to cut down their email time to as little as one hour a day. Using other collaborative tools such as dynamic CRM, allows for efficient internal communications and smooth sales processes through a single platform.

4. Stay up-to-date with digital marketing trends.

2017 will be another year where digital marketing plays a key role for organizations worldwide. Reaching target audiences digitally has changed every year. IBM predicts the coming year to be no different. A key takeaway is personalization. Personal recognition, more valuable content, creating buyer personas and spur of the moment social posting are just some of the predictions for 2017.

5. Create a business map.

A business map is different from a business plan. A business plan is essential to establishing your own business as you’ll need it to pitch your idea to stakeholders. A business map however, is a document that will guide you from creation to completion of your startup. Your business map features should include a clear description of your vision and mission statement, a list of your expectations (from your partners, the market, your customers, etc.), the risks and rewards involved in your business idea, a brief financial overview and a description of how your business will operate day-to-day.

Organization and embracing digital methods of running a business are key to success. By staying up-to-date with predicted change and your customer’s needs, establishing your own business will present itself as less of a challenge than ever before.

This article was originally published at Entrepreneur.com.