First Steps to Start a Small Business – Start a Business From Scratch 2021

If you’ve wondered how to how to start a business and what the first Steps to Start a Small Business are…

Lisa shows you how to start a business with no money or very little money and how to grow your business organically.

By the end of this video, you’ll have the first Steps to Start a Small successful business in 2021 and get back to the workbench.

If you’ve wondered how to how to start a business from scratch and the first steps to start a small business, then stick around.

Starting a business isn’t that hard, but it does take stamina to keep it running -and I can speak from experience.

Today I’m going to show you how to start a business with no money or very little money and what not to do when starting a business.

Double win!

By the end of this video, you’ll have the first essential Steps to Start a Small successful business in 2021 and get back to the workbench.

Hi. I’m Lisa Stewart. Founder of Build-Your-Own Small Business & BYOMoney Message.

If you’re a STEAM entrepreneur and you want to learn to grow your business, build products that sell, and connect with your customers, start now by subscribing and whacking the bell like a kitten for notifications, so you don’t miss anything!

I’m known for providing a sensible approach to helping entrepreneurs build an innovative business.

As I outline the first steps to start a small business, you might recognize that my approach includes bootstrapping techniques that won’t break the bank.
So, if you’ve got a product to sell or a service idea, you’ll want to apply these five essential steps to start and grow your business.

If you’ve heard me before, you’ll know that I use the word product as a shorthand for both real-products that you can hold in your hand and services. I believe both are products. So if you hear me say the word product (without referencing service), I’m talking to you, too.

Okay, let’s get started.

Step 1 – Product/Service

Identify your product or service idea to sell to your customers.
* Will it be one product or a suite of products?
* Will it be a stand-alone or add-on service?
If you’re not sure, consider this process that I use when building products and services for my product-based business:

Develop, Test, and Iterate one key product feature to create your minimum viable product (MVP). This MVP is the product’s most basic form without the bells and whistles.

In your product’s most basic form, you should be able to answer:
* What does it do?
* Who is it for?
Develop the MVP, test it yourself and have a couple of potential customers test it.

Resist featuritis.
Don’t add anything more than what is required for your product to work. Cuz honestly, impact is far more important than effort.

Next is Iterate. Now is the time to make tweaks to the final product —but only glaringly obvious ones. If you’re considering customer input, check other customers to see if they have the same issues.

Make sure the suggestions you’re considering are from the majority of customers. If 2 out of 10 customers feel you should change your product or service design, they may be outliers. Outliers may not be enough to warrant a significant change to the product’s functionality.

Finally, is this a stand-alone product or service?
Does it require a sibling to form a suite of products?
Sometimes the product line builds itself -as in my line of CalligraphyCats: originals to print to notecards. After I designed the originals, I wanted to accomplish 2 things:

1. Anchor my original price point against a reproduction, and
2. Have a second product for the purchaser to gift to a friend.

I had customers say to me at a show, “I want to buy an original for myself, but I certainly don’t want to buy one for my friend.” My suggestion was to buy herself the original and a reprint for her friend. Win-win.

My notecards served as another price point for those who wanted smaller versions of the illustrations. They’d use them to
* send individually
* send the entire packs as gifts, or
* to hang as an arrangement on their wall.

It was delightful to hear how customers were using my art in their lives.
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes a product line builds itself. In this case, I had originals, notecards, and prints developed in that order.

Perhaps you have one solid product that sells as in the case of my client TakenBarstools -they have one product: a barstool they sell to restaurants and cafes. They’re able to apply custom colors the pedestals for their customers to achieve the look the interior design team has envisioned.

If you’re starting as a service-based business, you can use your experience -your intellectual property- to begin building your business. You can do this with no money or little money start.

What not to do:
Now that you’ve identified your product, developed, tested, iterated into one solid product to sell… let me tell you what not to do.

Don’t run out and have a thousand of these made. You want to establish demand.
It’s okay if you start making your product by hand for the first dozen.
It’s okay if you run out.
It’s okay if you have a lead time.
Once you establish demand, you can think about the next level.

Until then, let’s talk about…

Step 2 – Brand & Branding

Brand is simply who you are, what you do, and who you serve.

Before you can move forward with the sexy stuff like messaging and visuals, you’ve got to know your audience.

Who are they and what is their current circumstance?

In my BYO Money Message course, I teach clients how to craft a brand message blueprint that makes them money. The fundamental driver of that message blueprint is understanding who they’re talking to -and I cover this at length.

It doesn’t matter how good you are if people don’t understand what you do and why they should work with you.
Initially, many small business owners refuse to believe they can’t sell to everyone. The problem with this is that it isn’t cost-effective to try and sell to everyone. The language you use to attract and resonate with your customers is specific.

Think about the language you use with your grandparents versus your friends. Its’ completely different. For example, would you shout,
“Yo nana! You wanna split a joint with your home girl!”

Unless you’ve got a real hip grandma, I doubt that invitation is gonna fly.

See how this tone and language differs?
I hope this starts to become clear when it comes to understanding how vital it is to use the right language is to connect with your audience.

After you get your messaging and your nana straightened out, move onto your visuals and design guidelines. The work you put into your brand messaging blueprint will help to inform your visual atmosphere.

Once you’ve got those nailed, it’s time to think of a name for your business -if you haven’t already. Also consider whether it’s time to get a trademark for your product line.

If you’re in the process of brainstorming a name for your product line —you can and probably should— research both the trademark and your city database to see if your perfect business name is taken.

Please note, they don’t have to match. I have a separate S Corp name and d/b/a as another and I have the CalligrapyPets as a trademark thru USPTO.

What not to do:
Everyone thinks that creating a logo is sexy. It is. I create logos for a living and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not your priority. Honestly, your customers don’t care if you have a logo. Concentrate on finding an audience and developing what they want first.

As I mentioned earlier, I offer a build-your-own course named BYO Money Message as well as other brand packages for business owners. I’ll provide a link in the description.

Step 3 – Build

Now that you’ve got a brand blueprint, you’ll want to build your products that align with your messaging.

Based on your brand blueprint, decide if your product will be
* limited production run,
* bespoke
* custom, or
* mass-produced.

Are you sourcing in-house, outsourcing, or a combination of the two?
Sourcing includes materials, supplies, tools, machinery, and assembly.
All of these line items need to be addressed when designing your final product.

What not to do:

Don’t mix and match the quality of your materials.

Does it make sense to use a base metal clasps with precious metals? Probably not. That will confuse your customer and make you look cheap. I’m sure that’s not what you want for your brand.

If you’re benefiting from at least one tip I’m sharing today, please give me a thumbs up and watch it through to the end – it helps others to see it.

Step 4 – Market/Sell

How are you going to market and sell your product or service?

What this means is how people find you and how you give them a reason to buy your product.

Essentially, it’s show me the money! This is the fastest route to exchanging goods for cash.
What are your plans for marketing your product?

* Where will you serve your customers?
* Will it be traditional or guerrilla marketing?
* Will it be offline or online?
* Will it be thru direct mail, email, social media, or paid advertising?

Finally, how can your customers buy your goods?

Can they buy them from you directly in person at
* a trade show,
* festival,
* specialty market,
* gallery?

Or do they have to buy them online thru a marketplace or on your own website?

Province, pandemics, and politics all influence how you’re able to exchange merch for moolah. It’s unique to each one of us.
I know it’s a lot but all of these things help build your business.

What not to do:
Spread yourself too thin. You don’t have to do all of these at once. You can start with one or two.

If you’re starting a new business or you’ve been established for a while, grab your copy of the small business brand tool kit to get started. The free small business brand tool kit is a system that I start my clients with that contains all the essentials for creating, launching, and growing a successful business.

The last puzzle piece of building your business is:

Step 5 – Cover Your Assets

While this isn’t the sexy part, it is the protection part.

To start, establish legal entities with a
* business bank account,
* a merchant payment processor,
* CPA,
* business insurance, and
* city or state operator’s license.

Two things I want to underscore are:

Number 1: I’ve been known to say this several times: Get a CPA.

You don’t have to get one tomorrow, but do get one in the next few months.
They are your best defense when it comes to Uncle Sam. Hands down. They are the insurance card in my back pocket. The IRS tends to audit small business owners without a CPA.

I’ve received a number of notices from the IRS and immediately, I get anxiety-ridden. My heart starts beating a million miles an hour, my palms get sweaty, I can’t speak. Then I remember I have my CPA to handle the headache.

Do you enjoy sweaty palms and anxiety? No. Then get yourself a CPA.

In the grand scheme of things, they’re not expensive.

Number 2: One of my favorite payment processors is SquareUp. SquareUp has so many hidden advantages. From taking single payments via your phone, invoicing, subscriptions for your services, and a free marketplace for your products.

For those of you in strict service-based businesses, you can create your services as products, too.

What not to do:

Please don’t forget to copyright and trademark your work. This is your IP. Consider building a business to sell. Investors who buy businesses buy process and intellectual property – those are your assets you want to build into the value of your brand.

Now that you’ve got your first steps to starting a small business continue with the series “Starting a new business?” right here.

Remember, great things take time. I can’t wait to see you in the next video. #KeepBuilding

Thank you!

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Free Small Business Brand Tool Kit System

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The Free Small Business Brand Tool Kit System contains all the essentials for creating, launching, and growing a successful business.


Lisa Stewart

Your Mentor

I help STEAM entrepreneurs build and market products that sell from their workbench. It’s my goal to transform them into confident makers and sell without monologuing like a supervillain. I do this using my ARC Effect via online courses, training, and private coaching.


Have you started your business but you’re flustered by very few sales and you’re scared of wasting times on the wrong steps? Let me be your guide! I’ll show you the right steps to design a great customer experience for your audience to grow a profitable business.

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