Starting your own business can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. However, you should never start a business without doing some research first, and know a bit about what you will be doing. We interviewed a small business expert to assist us with this list of information to assist you in creating your business, to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Below are the seven steps you should do before starting your successful business.
Evaluate your situation
There are a few questions to ask yourself before starting your business to make sure that all of your business needs are met. These questions include, but are not limited to:
- Why are you starting your business, and what are your goals?
- What skills do you have, and how will they help you with your business?
- How much money do you have to invest into your business?
- Is this a full-time job, or a part-time gig?
- Are you going to provide a service or a product?
When thinking about the answers to these questions, you will know how much effort you can put into your business, how much time you can spend on it, who your competitors are, and how much help you will need. If you have an idea in mind, but aren’t sure about what kind of business to focus on (like a coffee shop, bakery, gold mailing, bookstore, clothing store), then there are a few places to get some realistic ideas for businesses. Such as:
- The yellow pages
- Trade shows
- Industry magazines
- The SBA (Small Business Association)
- The business section of any newspaper
- Analyze the Industry you are joining
Analyze the industry
You don’t want to open a bakery on the same street as six other bakeries, with nothing to set you apart from being an identical clone of them. Similarly, you also don’t want to start a business that doesn’t have a focus on a specific idea. So analyzing the area in which your business will be based is essential to knowing how badly your business will fail, or how amazingly well your business will flourish.
Write a Business Plan
There are two reasons to write out a business plan. One reason is for yourself, and the other reason is for if you need the help of a bank to finance your business. The bank will want to see a business plan to make sure that you know what you are doing, where the money they are lending you is going, and if you have a business that is going to pay them back. For yourself, a business plan is like an outline of what is to come and what you are expecting of yourself and your business. It is also your guideline on what kind of things you need to have – like do you need to allocate budget for travel expenses? Or are you going to need a scanner? Or do need to hire an IT Consultant or Accountant early on? Or is website a priority above anything else?
Legalize your business
There are a few steps that need to be taken, and a few steps that should be taken, when starting a business. First, you need to decide if you want your business to be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. Each has it’s own drawbacks and advantages, so deciding which one will work for you is important. Especially depending on how much time, liability, and money you want to put into your business.
Secondly, you will need the proper business licenses and permits. These can vary from state to state, city to city, and country to country. You will also want to find the correct insurance provider for our new found business, in the case of theft, property damage, and the like.
Last, and entirely up to you, the hiring of an accountant. This can be done by you if you’re good with numbers, or it can be done by someone you hire. But either way, they will be handling the numbers part of the business.
If you don’t have enough money to start your business, you will need financing help. This can come from friends, family, the bank, credit cards, a venture capital firm or an outside loan such as Fundation and OinkMoney. Either way, it is a good idea to keep three months worth of your family’s average living costs in the bank to have some form of security.
Stock the shelves
Before you can open your business, you need to make sure everything is accounted for. Do the phones work? Did you sign the lease for your business and get the keys? Do you have a staff ready to start their adventure? Is everything priced correctly and neatly displayed? If so, throw that grand opening party and set sail.
Don’t be afraid of mistakes
Running your own business can be fun, exciting, and one of the biggest adventures that you can take. Mistakes will be made along the way, and that’s okay because what can work for one business, may not work for yours. Just follow your business plan, advertise, and have fun with what you do.
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