There's nothing like the thrill of starting your own business - or the fear! This is one of the biggest challenges you'll ever face in life.
How you navigate the do's and don'ts of starting a new business determines whether or not you will succeed or fail as an entrepreneur.
Between picking out a business name, getting your products/services ready for market, and establishing brand awareness, you have a lot to figure out. Luckily, you don't have to do it all alone!
Here's the simple 10-step guide you need to make sure you have all your bases covered when starting a business.
No matter how amazing or game-changing your business idea is, you have to make sure it's original. A little bit of research can tell you whether or not someone is already doing what you want to do, and how they're doing it.
This is also when you should be looking for information on patents and copyrights.
Even if no one has thought of your idea yet, you still have to research your target market and the industry you want to break into. The more you learn about consumer behaviors and market trends, the better prepared you will be to make your new business a success.
Doing so much research helps you start to piece together your business plan. It sparks ideas regarding things like where you should be located and how to price your products/services.
But, these are just a couple of things you need to have in your business plan. Additional details include:
All of these things will come up in discussions you'll be having with potential investors and partners. Not to mention, you need a business plan to register your business.
You're not officially a business owner until you've registered your business. This is a pretty straightforward step in starting a business.
You can do the entire process online and wait for the paperwork you need to come in the mail.
Once you've registered, you'll have an official tax ID for your business. Make sure that you keep taxes in mind as you go about all your business operations in the new year.
You don't want to end up mixing your personal and professional funds; this could cause a lot of unnecessary confusion when filing for your first set of taxes as a business owner.
The next step in starting a new business is to get all the permits and licenses required in your industry. It's critical that you get these in order before you launch your business.
More so, make sure you understand the regulations you have to abide by and when you have to renew your permits.
Permits and licenses cost money, and they're only two of the things you're going to put a lot of money into before you start to see returns.
As such, you need to have a clear funding strategy and budget in place. This is the only way to ensure that your business will become profitable. Although it is common to operate in the negatives for the first few months, it's your budget and strategic growth that will carry you out of debt and into success.
Make sure you prioritize your most important assets when creating your budget. If your goal is to open a restaurant or start a gym, for example, acquiring the right property will play a big role in everything else you do.
Even if you're running an online business, though, you still have to invest in logistics, lead generation, and product development. Whether you're offering tangible goods in-person with customers or providing them with an online-accessible service, make sure you have all the assets you need to execute things well.
Here's one asset you definitely need: a website! This is the "location" of your internet-based business, but it's also a must for any company that does have a physical place of operation.
Your website is how most consumers are going to find you and get to know you. It's one of the first places they're going to go before they actually go to your in-person business or start putting things in their e-cart.
You have to make sure your website well optimized, beautifully branded, and efficient. Otherwise, you'll struggle to see good results once you launch. Create your business site within a few minutes.
Speaking of branding, have you created your logo yet? Did you order your first set of business cards? Do you have a pitch ready to go for when you're at events or meet other entrepreneurs in passing?
These are all essential to your business. They help grow your brand's presence in your market and gain brand loyalty, too.
But, there's a difference between branding and marketing.
Branding is the story you create about your business; it's all about your company values and what you want users to feel when they interact with you. Marketing is how you share that story.
Unless you're prepared to be a one-man/woman show, you need to start hiring employees and seeking partners to manage your business. Even if you are going to run your business by yourself, you'll likely need to outsource some of the work.
This is part of your organizational structure. As you build your team, you get a better understanding of the systems and process that will go on in your business every day.
Each person's role should be complementary with another's in order to create a fully-functioning, efficient organization working toward a common goal.
The final thing to keep in mind when starting a new business is to ask for feedback. Identify a mentor early on in your new business preparations and keep them close.
Don't shy away from bringing up your ideas to friends and family and asking them what they think.
The more you seek out feedback from your trusted peers, the better you'll be able to identify your blind spots. You'll have a much more clear direction of where your business is headed with a bit of help from others.
Not sure how to write a business plan for your company? Having trouble figuring out the financial side of things?
Not to worry, our collection of startup books is readily available to help you work out the kinks of starting a new business.
Click here to explore all the resources waiting to help you launch your business.