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If you have an idea to start a business, is it just an idea or have you created an actual plan?It is easy to have an idea and a dream of a business, but it does require some thinking through!
Have you sat down yet and actually gone through everything that you can think of, or do you have a plan to in the near future?
If the answer is no, then you may need to do it now! Creating a business is not an easy ride. You are in for a lot of ups and downs, and it’s going to be more difficult some days than others.
But, if it’s what you want, and if you’re willing to dedicate yourself to it, we’ve put together some tips to help you and a starting a new business checklist.
In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the steps that you can take to create a strong business with a solid foundation.
Come Up With A Plan
Okay, first up on the checklist for starting your new business is that you’re going to need to come up with a plan to support your business idea. (Check out our list of business planners for entrepreneurs to help!)
We don’t mean just a quick idea of what you’re going to do, we mean that you need to have an actual plan for your business concept.
You need to know what you’re going to offer, where it fits on the market, and who your target customers and business audience is.
You also need to establish what your business is going to look like, and most importantly in this plan you need to know why people would choose you over the more established businesses on the market right now.
It can be super difficult to break into an industry that has lots of big players, but if this is what you want to do all the more reason to have a plan in place and be prepared.
One important part of creating this type of plan is to do some market research first.
Even if this is not your area of expertise or something that you’re good at, there are others you can hire to help you with this if needed.
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Write a Business Plan
You will need to take everything you’ve worked out in step one and actually write it down in an actual business plan. There are different types of business plans you can write.
There is even business planning software you can use to help write one. Business Plans that Win Money is a book you can use to help.
Another great reason to have a business plan is to help yourself get funding if needed. It can help with obtaining a business loan or investors if you go that route.
Here are the sections you need in your business plan:
An executive summary: Overview of your business plan and the outline.
A business description: Information about the business itself, the industry, your objectives and value proposition.
Market analysis: In depth view of the market you are in, your target audience, competitors and where you stand related to them.
Description: describe your services or products.
Financial projections: explain your profit goals, pricing strategy, sales plans and investor details if you have any.
Operational overview: how your business will work. Logistics, distribution and production plans. Detail your business operations and how everything will work.
Work Out The Finances
Starting a business requires money!
The finances are another important part of your starting a company checklist. You need to know how you going to fund it all.
Do you have the money available in your bank account so that you can just purchase everything yourself?
This is obviously the ideal scenario, but not everyone is in that boat. Being an entrepreneur means taking risks!
Most people do not have the means to fund an entire business on their own, which means that you’re going to need to work out a plan to get yourself some funding.
There are plenty of options available to you, which in some ways actually makes it a little more difficult.
You need to go through them all and work out which is going to suit you and your business needs more. There are of course some businesses that don’t require much as far as startup costs. That is the ideal scenario. A drop shipping business for instance can be inexpensive to start.
A lot of people choose to look for an investor, giving away part ownership of the company in exchange for the money that is needed.
You might need more than one, depending on how much they are willing to give you, or you might find someone who will fund the whole thing.
You could also look into small business loans from the bank, crowdfunding options, and many others. A business loan can help you get going quickly. The US Small Business Association is a great place to start for small businesses looking for loans and funding.
Again, it depends on your business, it depends on you, and the course that you think is going to be best for your company.
A Business Office Or Online?
A decision that you’re going to need to make pretty early on is whether you want to have a business office or whether you’re going to run this online.
It’s entirely up to you, but we know that some businesses can’t be run online and must be run in person.
But, if you have the option of working remotely, it’s worth considering. It saves you a lot of money because you don’t have to rent the office space, or pay utilities and other in-person overhead expenses. However, it does have its downsides as well.
Look at all of the pros and cons and work out what you think is going to work best for you.
Make sure that you completely understand everything before you make a choice, as you want to be as informed as you possibly can be.
If you decide to have a physical location, you will of course have to find space to lease!
Register Your Business
You will need to officially create and register your business. And figure out your business name! You will need a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS. It is needed for you to open a bank account or process payroll.
However, if you decide to be a sole proprietorship that does not have any employees, you will not need a FEIN.
Here are the business structures to choose from:
Sole proprietorship: The company and everything in it belongs to you and only you. It is the easiest type to set up, and if you don’t have employees you can just use your social security number for tax purposes and won’t need a FEIN or official business registration.
Partnerships: You own the business with another partner and share the responsibilities.
Limited Liability Companies and Partnerships (LLC and LLP): Instead of being the sole owner, you are a member of the company you have created, along with other members. If the company were to get sued, your personal assets wouldn’t be in danger the way they are in a sole proprietorship.
Corporation: A corporation creates a separate legal entity that owns the company and all the assets. This is the type of company you can create an IPO for and go public with stock shares.
Once you have registered your business, you can open a business bank account and get a business license and business insurance if needed. Even if your business is to buy houses and rent them on Airbnb you will still need to purchase a business license.
If you are selling physical products you may also have to get a sales tax permit. And don’t forget you will have to pay business taxes! These are different from personal taxes, small businesses actually have to pay taxes quarterly instead of anually.
Start Creating Your Website
Now that you’ve got an actual plan in place and it’s all coming together, you can start creating the business website.
A word of caution, if you aren’t a web designer and try to do this yourself it may present some challenges!
You can hire someone to help you, or if you are running an eCommerce business you can opt for an all-in-one solution like Shopify that makes it easy to build a clean website.
This is also a good time to create a business email account. And your social media channels.
It can be good when you are just starting your business to choose only 1 or 2 social media platforms to focus on. You want quality social media and trying to do all of them at once could be overwhelming.
Here are some important features you need in a business website:
- Ease-of-use and good UX design
- Fantastic customer experience
- Fast load times, speed and performance
- A great clean design and look
Start an eCommerce Store
Shopify: You can easily and affordably start your own online business!
Hire Your Team
Now it’s time to get some team members on board, or at least start advertising for them. Your team members are going to be the backbone of your business. so hiring employees is an important step of starting a business.
They are going to be the ones that you rely on to do the day to day things while you are busy doing everything else.
It’s important that you trust them, that they are willing to learn what they don’t know, and that you work well together.
A team should become like a family which means that you have to be selective. You can’t just hire someone because they are the first person you came across that looked half qualified.
It takes time to hire employees and build the right team!
Buy Business Insurance
If you have a physical location for you business or do end up needing to hire employees, you will need to purchase some type of business insurance.
General liability insurance is a start and will cover you if anyone were to get injured.
Here are some other types of business insurance:
- Professional liability: Gives you protection if you make an error or omission that costs your clients money. This would be needed more for services based businesses than products.
- Workers’ compensation: Covers lost wages and medical expenses for employees who get injured at work.
- Business interruption insurance: If your business has to close temporarily because of a natural disaster this will replace lost revenue.
- Property insurance: Covers your physical property from losses or damage, from equipment to office or warehouse space.
Get The Tech And Software You Need
Tech and software, as well as programs are now more important than ever. Your business is simply not going to survive without the correct technology because we live in a world that is dictated by it.
Thanks to the advancements that have happened over the last couple of decades, we are now living in a technological world. Even small businesses can leverage tools for help.
You can take advantage of this for your business! You need laptops, tablets, industry specific tech, bookkeeping and accounting software, antivirus software, and even things like Flutter pdf viewer to ensure your bases are covered.
Of course this is just a starting point to the helpful tools you can take advantage of now.
Invest in Marketing
Another step in the small business checklist is to market and advertise your business. You want to increase sales and revenue and this is one way to do it.
Marketing can include many tactics. Email marketing to past and current customers. Purchasing ads on social media platforms or google search. Or paying for help with search engine optimization to help your website rank.
Even though it cost money to market your brand and business, it can be worth it to help it grow.
Creating a business is never easy. There are many that come and go in this day and age.
But there are things you can do help yourself find success as a business owner and entrepreneur. Following this starting your own business checklist is a great place to start!
Take your time, plan things out and think ahead. Don’t rush through steps or ignore important details. If you take your time, plan things out and create a strategy you will be well on your way!
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