How Do You Start a Small Business?

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annie spratt QckxruozjRg unsplash 3

There are many reasons that people start their own business. For some, defining their job description and becoming their own boss are attractive ideas while for others, the goal involves increasing earning potential and turning a passion into a profit.

Post-COVID, many employees who experienced a more independent work life during the pandemic want to find a way to combine generating an income with less restriction and supervision.

Regardless of your reasons for choosing to start a small business you might find self-employment to be a fulfilling way of making money. There’s a lot of satisfaction in creating and operating your own business but if you don’t lay the groundwork you can find starting a business to be nothing more than a Everygame casino bonus gamble.

What do you have to do to start the process of opening up a new business and how can you move your new business from the realm of a dream to that of a successful enterprise?

Groundwork

You can lay the groundwork for your new business even while you are employed elsewhere in order to ensure that when you get started, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. Start with the basics where you set out your vision for your business. What do you want to offer? How will you market? Who will your target audience be? Is there a demand for your proposed product or service? How will you fund your first few years as you build up your brand?

Do some basic market research to determine whether there’s a demand for your product/service. Look around to see what other similar brands are doing and consider what you can do to compete. Can you improve on the product or service? Will you be able to expand the audience that is interested in such a product/service – can you offer it faster? Cheaper? Online store?)

If the actual service or product is less important to you than is the idea of working for yourself, consider moving ahead slowly. Maybe look into opening a franchise of an established company or drop shipping which relieves you from the need to keep inventory and allows you to focus on sales – at least at first.

Business Plan

Regardless of how simple you think your business is, you should take the time to put your business plan down on paper. This is where you will conceptualize your goals, your finances, your target audience and your purpose in creating this business. You can find business plan templates online that help you get started by setting up a structured form that ensures that you won’t forget anything.

Market Research

If you plan to start a business based on your perception of what’s needed, good luck. It’s possible but not a great idea because you may miss important information. Market research may indicate that the market for your service or product is already saturated but by making some changes, you’ll gain new clients that other, similar products/services haven’t already reached.

The market research can help you understand your target customer better – their behaviors, needs and preferences. It can also give you invaluable data about your competitors and about the industry as a whole.

Market research is best accomplished by a market research firm that will target the right audience with focus groups, surveys, SEO research and public data. This is definitely one area that you can’t really do effectively on your own. It’s as much an investment in the business’s future success as is your marketing and customer service so don’t neglect this step!

Finances

There are costs to starting almost any business. Some businesses have minimal start-up costs (i.e.dropshipping) but if you’re serious about getting your business off the ground, you’ll need to invest in it. If you have your own money to invest, you can avoid the interest charges of borrowing but most new small businesses do need to borrow money to get off the ground. Some of the things that you will need to work out include

  1. How much money will it take to get the business off and running?
  2. Do you have some funds available? What percentage of the start-up funds will you need to borrow?
  3. Will you be leaving your current job in order to focus on your business? Do you have money to live on while you wait for the business to start seeing a profit?

Financial advisors suggest that you try to determine your break-even point through a break-even analysis. This will tell you what is the minimum that your business must take in so that you won’t lose money. In addition, it will give you a picture of the source of your profits so you can proceed accordingly.

Finally, it tells you how much you need to sell in order to stay above water. Now, you can move forward to secure your financing.

Legalities

You need to determine your legal business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC) because that affects how you register your business and pay your taxes. You need to obtain business licenses from the federal, state and local governments and register the business with the tax authorities. The procedures can be complicated and the help of a lawyer and/or accountant may be helpful.

Team

If you’ll be taking on employees, now is the time to find the right people for the right jobs.

Marketing

Marketing is the most important thing that you can do to move your business forward. You need to create and build a brand and get your name known. At the minimum, you’ll need a website, a logo and some type of social media presence. Either you or a team member should be tasked with keeping these digital assets up to date with content about the company and issues surrounding the business.

Create a marketing plan that takes your target audience into account. Some of the elements of a marketing campaign may include email bulletins, newsletters, SEO optimization, social media and print media. It’s suggested that you combine various marketing channels like your website, email newsletters, opt-in forms and social media.

If you’ve gotten this far, it’s certainly time to start considering the next stage – how to grow your business!

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