You’ve decided to stop dreaming and start doing. Great choice. Starting your own brand or business isn’t easy, but you already know that. And you already know it takes more than an idea and hope to get things done. You might be stressed, you might even be freaking out. That’s good. It means you care. It takes planning, execution, a little luck and a lot of determination to win in the business world. That’s why we’ve compiled here a step-by-step guide for starting to build a business: beginning with what you’ll need and where to find it. Is this guide completely comprehensive? Hell no, every business is different and has unique sets of challenges but this will get you moving in a very good direction.

Take the Leap, But First…

Quick! Name a business…any business. Whatever business just popped into your head, most likely started first, with some sort of plan. And a relatively thorough one at that. Without mapping out the details of who, what, why and how you’re going to start and run a business, you’re setting yourself up for failure. We’re all about taking leaps, but let’s take a little look before we do so, shall we?

We know it’s not the most badass thing to do, but if you’re at all hesitant to create a business plan, we swear, putting your ideas in writing are a good idea (we’d even go so far as tattooing them…but that’s your choice). Overcome the fear reservation of building a business plan. Then, check out the 15 reasons from Entrepreneur on why you need a business plan. And when you’re ready, here’s a lot of talent who can help you build one that’s perfect for whatever your business may be.

Scope Out the Competition

You’ve psyched yourself up about your business idea. You’ve told your mom. You’ve pitched that sweet old man at the bus stop. You know you’ve got a winner. But aside from family and friends, how do you know you’ve got any chance at making this crazy idea the next Uber? Have you researched your competition? And who you should be marketing to in your industry? The importance of doing market research before you build a business cannot be overlooked…just ask the Pet Rock guy. Seriously. We knew him. And he got it.

Here’s some insight into why market research is so essential to building your brand or business and when you’re ready to get started, some experts who can help you conduct and analyze it.

Get a Logo that Doesn’t Suck

You’ve got big dreams. Billboards, blimps, red carpets. Your brand belongs on them all. But you’re not Nike, yet. You need a logo that can stand alone – and stand out. Something that says everything you want to convey about your business, in a unique, custom design that screams YOU. So how can you get there? Start with some inspiration. Here are some of the best examples of logo innovation we’ve seen.

And cost? Pfft. You don’t need a multi-million dollar budget to get a high-quality logo. You can crush the competition on a budget, make it stand out regardless of your market, and make sure it’s the right representation of your business. When you’ve done your research, get some quotes from the professionals in logo design and tagline services.

What’s Your Story?

Since you’ve got the epic logo design, and because you don’t quit, you’re going to take it a step further. In addition to a logo, a tagline and brand story will further ensure that your customers connect: what drives your brand? And why did you create it? Developing an authentic brand not only gives your customers insight into your mission, but it also gives them something to connect to, in addition to your product or service. Which builds trust in your brand and, drumroll…brand loyalty! If your personality shines through via slogans, taglines, and details like email signatures and product names, customers will be more likely to engage.

Here are some great tips for going beyond the logo, and telling your brand story through video, as well as sharing your personality using social media. Check out all the branding service options available on NIJIRI.

Get Help. It’s Out There.

No matter where you are in your career, get someone in your corner. And not just your mom, but someone who’s been there before. Unless your mom is a successful small business owner, in which case, hell yeah, Mom! But no matter who it is, make sure this guru can guide you away from pitfalls, and toward success. With an amazing community like NIJIRI, there’s no shortage of experienced buyers and sellers in your industry. Go ahead, reach out, with these effective tips on finding a mentor and utilizing them. And take it a step further with additional tips and career advice from the professionals.

Find a Digital Homebase

OK. You’ve solidified your brand and business- now it’s time to take it online. The first step to building your brand online is finding the right (and available) domain. And while “” may not be available, there are tons of ways to find other strong, relevant domain options for your brand. And what a surprise, NIJIRI has an amazing community who can lead the charge on your behalf. That perfect domain is waiting for you– we swear.

Build a Website, An Awesome Website

Where do you spend most of your time? We’re guessing, here, online. Us too. And many of the most important interactions you will ever have with your customers, no matter if you’re an online store or local pizza joint, happen online on your website. Your searchable brand, your home away from home, websites allow you to create an experience for customers that is truly you. And believe us, not all websites are created equal. Learn how to build a responsive, and well-themed website here and find an expert to build yours here.

Go Mobile

With 80% of internet users using smartphones to surf, the importance of building a quality mobile site is only growing. Just a web presence doesn’t cut it anymore. While the idea of a mobile site may seem intimidating, creating a mobile app isn’t as hard as you think, and it’s where potential customers are, so you gotta be there, too. The user experience, design and interface are all things to consider when converting your desktop site to mobile.

Be More Social

If you are reading this guide, then there’s just about a 100 percent chance that you’re on some form of social media – either personal or for your newly formed venture. But, even if you consider yourself a pro, things are constantly changing in the social media world. There are always way you can Tweet, Facebook, Snapchat, Woof and Instagram better, especially when it comes to your business.

Check out some great examples of social media marketing. There are companies who are out there doing incredible things on social (cough cough, like us), and you should take note. Then, Find more insights and expertise from the amazing social media marketing experts on NIJIRI.

Now that you’ve learned all you need to know about building your business or brand from scratch, it’s time to start doing. And if you’ve successfully accomplished all of the above, wow, that was really fast. We’re really impressed. That must mean you’re ready to start scaling up…