So you’ve decided to take your career into your own hands by starting your own business.



Congratulations! With lots of hard work and devotion to making your customers happy, you’ll find your own path to success.



Along the way, you might get a little lost. Follow these six simple steps to starting your business in the right direction.



1. Define success in your own way.



Every day there’s a new article published along the lines of “Bedtime Routines of Successful Entrepreneurs” or “What Millionaire Self-Starters Eat for Breakfast.” It’s important to learn from people who are successful and know what they’re doing, but you could spend weeks upon weeks reading useless articles – instead of taking action and making progress.



Concentrate on reading only about topics that are really important, form your own opinions, and stay away from drivel-filled articles that tell you that you need to synchronize your bathroom schedule with Mark Zuckerburg or wear the same shoes as Guy Kawasaki to get ahead.



You don’t need to drastically change yourself to become a successful person. Stick to your principles and the reasons you decided on starting your own business in the first place. You’ll get there!



2. Find your unique value proposition.



When you open your doors to the public, you’ll need to set yourself apart from your competition. Your unique value proposition might be your ability to deliver quickly. It might be your expertise, exclusive products, or even your location. It shouldn’t be price.



Competing on price will label your products or services as cheap and low quality. It’ll also become difficult for you to turn a profit. You can be affordable, but you’ll need a really compelling reason for customers to choose you over competitors who have been on the market for years.



3. Get to know your target market.



Many new entrepreneurs make the mistake of creating a product, then reaching out to see if there is a demand for it. It’s impossible to know what will sell without talking to likely buyers. You might already know who you’d like to work with: single dads over 40, owners of more than 8 cats, or maybe even people who are just like you.



You’ll still need to conduct market research. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A simple questionnaire will help you find your target market’s real problems in their own words.



4. Register your LLC or corporation.



The easiest and cheapest way to make your business official is to become a sole proprietor and use the name of your business as a Doing Business As (DBA) name. However, it’s very worth taking the extra steps to form an LLC or corporation.



With a DBA, self-employment taxes will eat up a big portion of your small business’s hard-earned profits, money you could be using to invest in the growth of your business – not Uncle Sam. Sure, it’ll be a little more expensive and complicated at first, but you’ll save much more by forgoing those wallet-killing self-employment taxes.



5. Reach out for help.



You’re amazing, but you don’t know everything you’ll need to start your business. Launch your startup in the dark, and you’ll end up feeling very lost. You might be tempted to be secretive in the beginning in case of failure, but that’s fear talking – it will only hold you back.



Tell your friends, family and colleagues about how you’re starting your own business, and be open to feedback and opinions, even if you have to take them with a grain of salt. Get connected with a mentor program and join online groups relevant to your industry.



6. Find partners who can help.



Just like you can’t possibly know everything about starting your business, you can’t possibly do everything by yourself either – and you shouldn’t try! Find partners you trust to help manage the aspects of your business where you’re not an expert so you can focus on what really matters. We’d love to help you with your credit card payments! Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website and we’ll show you how we partner with businesses just like yours every day.



PS – Here and here are two articles to help you avoid common pitfalls many new businesses face.



PPS – Are you ready for the mobile revolution? Get prepared here.