Just about anyone can start a business. You don’t need a fancy degree, a boatload of money, or even experience in running a business. However, what you will need is a lot of drive and a good strong plan if you want to be successful. And, if you really have no idea how to get started, you may need a little professional assistance too. Below are tips to help you get started:
1.) Self-evaluation. Ask yourself why you want to start your own business. Do you want to be your own boss and fulfill a long time dream? It’s going to take a lot of drive to put in all the hard work and long hours it will take to get things up and running. Below are more questions to evaluate the situation.
- How much can you afford to spend or lose if the business fails?
- What type of business do you want to start?
- What kind of capital will you need?
- Will you use your own money?
- Will you need investors or a bank loan?
These questions will establish the groundwork for all you do going forward. It’s essential that you’re brutally honest with yourself now rather than down the line.
2.) What’s your business idea? What makes your business stand out from others in the same industry? Creating a product or service that keeps up with technology and remedies problems your customers may have experienced with other businesses like yours will help your company stand out from others.
3.) Do your research. Visit other businesses in your industry to get ideas and advice about what works and what doesn’t work. Make a list of questions to ask before visiting other businesses. For example: you may want to ask what vendors they use or their marketing tricks. The Small Business Association (SBA) may be able to answer some of your questions and help with financing too, or at least point you in the right direction.
4.) Your business plan. This is a description of how your business will evolve from start to finish. Below are a few examples of what your plan should include:
- The name of your business.
- Your entity.
- A description of your product or service.
- Describe what makes your business stand out from others in the same industry.
- Describe your marketing strategies.
- Describe where you will get financing and your plan for a slow economy.
5.) Financing your business. Will you use your own money, get a bank loan, or will you seek out investors, like family and friends? The Small Business Association (SBA) can be a lot of help steering you in the right direction for many options to get your business up and running.
6.) Legal aspects. Once again, you may need the assistance of a professional such as a CPA, lawyer, or the SBA. A list of other things you will need to include are:
- Business name and structure (LLC, Corp, etc.)
- Register your business and get your State and Federal ID as well as permits and Licenses you need. Do you need trademarks, copyright, or patents?
- Open a business bank account and maybe a line of credit for your business.
7.) Build your team. Start by having a clear idea of the type of employees you want (accounting, sales, etc.) Do you want to hire freelancers or employees? Create a protocol of who and what qualities you’re looking for in an employee before you begin to hire anyone.
You may want to hire using a probationary period (30-60 days) just in case someone isn’t a good fit. During this time you can train potential employees in the way you want things done. But, keep an open mind for new ideas. You may also want to decide what benefit package you can offer to entice the employees you want to attract to your business.
8.) Your location. You’ve heard the phrase “location, location, location”. If you decide on a brick and mortar business, location is important to the success of your business. You need a convenient location for your target customers with ample parking and ease of access to foot traffic. As you research your location, take into consideration the overhead costs such as the rent (lease) and utilities. You don’t want to get in over your head right from the start.
If you’re starting an online business, you won’t have to deal with some of the same expenses that a brick and mortar business has. However, you will still have the majority of the same issues when it comes to benefits, hiring, start-up expenses, and marketing expenses, etc., and your employees will work remotely.
9. Website. Whether a brick and mortar or online business, having a website and a social media presence for your customers to visit and order your products or services, and having good customer service, will only boost your revenue.
The above information is only a small portion of suggestions to get you started. At Summit CPA we offer multiple resources to assist you with your new business adventure. For more information, contact our office at (866) 497-9761 to schedule an appointment with our advisors.