If you are considering starting your own business, there are 30 things that you need to think through before moving forward. Starting your own business can be both the most challenging and rewarding things you’ll ever do. Although the process can be easier than you might imagine, you still need to take the time to take the necessary steps to have a solid business foundation. You don’t want to just jump into business without considering the pros and cons.
#1 Find your passion
Business owners are more successful if they follow their passion. If you are not sure what that is then seek out inspiration. This will help keep your drive as a business owner especially when starting out or during difficult times.
#2 Educate yourself about your business idea
This is not about going back to college to obtain a degree. However, you do need your research and understand the benefits as well as the risks of your business idea. You need to be realistic when research both the pros and cons so you can later create a business plan that includes things that can go wrong.
#3 Create your actual business idea
This may be the most difficult part of your process. You need to come up with a business idea that has the potential to launch a full-fledged business. Your idea needs to be unique enough to engage client base. Discuss your idea with friends and family. Ask them what they feel could be issues that may arise with your plan. Be open to the negative aspects so you can refine your idea or prepare for those issues.
#4 Create a business plan
Now that you have created a business idea and thought through the potential flaws and key advantages, it’s time to actually develop a business plan. You will need to research similar businesses and pros and cons to those businesses. You need to look at the business top to bottom to create a full-fledged business plan.
#5 Determine your business’s target market
Realize that not everyone will be in your target market. Determine the specific customer for your business. Find potential clients. You need to consider individuals and businesses that might buy from your business. Attempt securing at least one potential client before investingin your business.
#6 Create a financial model and secure capital
Determine all of the expenses to run your business, what you will charge your customers (income), and what profit or loss you will have. You will need to create a realistic picture and be aware that you could be running at a loss when you open your doors. You may need to withdraw savings, borrow from friends, seek investors or set up a line of credit with a bank
Make sure that you have enough money to keep running your business while building your customer base.
#7 Create an operations model
You need to determine everything to run, operate and maintain your business day to day. You need an establish guidelines for every aspect of your business.
#8 Create a staffing plan
You will need to decide what positions you will need to have in order to run the company. You also need to establish what type of people and personalities you will need to hire in specific roles to get started.
#9 Create a marketing plan
This is an extremely important step. Your marketing plan will dictate whether or not your business will grow. Sales, marketing and growth plans will drive your business to grow and succeed.
#11 Understand the risks
You need to consider all of the risks before you commit to your business plan and turn it into an actual business. You need to determine how much you stand to lose if the company goes fails especially if you are quitting your full time job to run your own business.
#12 Find local resources and aid
Join a small-business development center, a local chamber of commerce, and find local resources to help your business succeed.
#13 Determine a legal structure for your business
All businesses need to have legal structure. Every legal structure has it’s pros and cons. You need to research all of your options and determine which legal structure will work best for your business.
# 14 Establish your tax id
If you are a sole proprietor or partnership, you can use your social security number and register your business name. If you incorporate or establish an LLC, you will need to secure an EIN.
#15 File for state and local taxes
This is a critical step. Neglecting this can later become very costly.
#16 Secure all necessary permits and/or licenses
Your business may require additional legal state or local registrations. If you are unsure of all of your local requirements, contact your city or county office to ask what specific licenses or permits you need to obtain in order to be in compliance. Often these steps are free or minimal, but penalties for missing this step can be overwhelming for a new business.
#17 Secure your business locations
You should research several areas and office locations before you establish your operational headquarters and or store front. This is an important decision for your business. Location matters. If you select an area too expensive in a thriving area, you could run out of money before your business has a chance to take off. However, if you select an inexpensive, failing area, you may not be able to drive customers to your location. Find a middle ground so that you can afford a good location that you can build a customer base.
#18 Establish your brand
Know what makes your business unique and develop a brand around it. Branding can be the key to your marketing success.
#19 Test your product or service
Offer samples or free services to some potential clients. Create usability or focus groups to get their input after offering your product or service. Be willing to hear the constructive criticism and make necessary adjustments to offer the best product or service when you open your doors.
#20 Secure key vendors and/or contractors
Research and find contractors, vendors and suppliers to help your business succeed. You need to secure good, reliable key people that will keep your business thriving.
#21 Understand employer responsibilities
Before hiring your first employees, determine what you absolutely have to do as employer and what benefits, conditions and withholdings you will offer. Create some guidelines, an employee handbook, and rules for your employees and business.
#22 Hire your first employees
Hire the minimum you need to get your business started. Select the right employees that will help you build your business.
#23 Start selling your products or services
You need to market and sell your products. Network your business by meeting people everywhere you go. You should start to see everyone as an opportunity to have new client, employee or vendor. You should offer promotions and/or discounts when you first open to drive in potential clients.
#24 Create a website and digital marketing campaign
You need to create a website to have an online presence. Digital marketing is cheap, easy, and effective. SEO, content marketing, and social media often help establish a client base.
#25 Reevaluate your business after you open
No business starts off with a perfect business plan. Reevaluate your plan. Seek areas of improvement and implement necessary adjustments. This should include your marketing plan, sales structure, products and/or services, and your business’s infrastructure.
#26 Focus on securing at least one dependable, long-term client
You should prioritize securing one or more long-term client that you can count on.
#27 Ensure your cash flow remains positive
Nothing kills a business quicker than lack of cash. Your business needs to become profitable in order for your doors to remain open. Don’t neglect the importance of cash on hand.
#28 Continue researching and understanding your business
Successful business owners need to stay ahead of their industry. Reach out to competitors, attend conferences, know and understand changes in your industry and be willing to change and adjust with the market.
#29 Train and hire employees when necessary
You need to constantly be aware of the importance of your staff. Your staff can make or break your business. Rehire or retrain when necessary. When you grow, expand and properly train your team.
#30 Become a leader in your industry
Establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Understand your industry, stay on top of changes within your industry and be visible in your community as an expert in your industry. Seek opportunities to speak, write and/or host webinars regarding your business.
Starting your own business can be both demanding and rewarding. Even after you become successful, you will need to constantly revisit your business plan and adjust it based on your situation and changes in the industry. In order to continue success and growth, you need to always be aware of what is going on so you can make changes and continue a solid business foundation.