Beginning entrepreneurs often live in an up-and-down world of passion and excitement, then fear and stress. Starting a small business right is a difficult, time-consuming process full of mistakes and successes. It’s normal and expected that you don’t know exactly what you are doing yet.
But getting your small business off the ground is important to your future and you can’t do it alone. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, though – lots of people have done it before you, and the advice of successful entrepreneurs is almost always the same.
Smart business sense is not innate – it is learned through the wisdom and errors of those who have been where you are standing. In fact, an almost guaranteed recipe for disaster is to try to get your business off the ground without researching what has worked and failed for others.
Here are ten tried and true steps that you should follow when you are launching your small business.
10 Steps to Getting Your Small Business Launched
- Know and push your niche. A buzz-word in marketing today is “niche,” or your specialty area in a wide arena of choices. Find a niche that you offer that others in your same field do not have, and market that specific attribute strongly.
While marketing does not have to be expensive, it does have to be carefully designed. Working smarter, not harder, is key in beginning a small business marketing plan.
- Consider your budget carefully. In the beginning, your business is likely not going to bring in enough of an income to cover all of your overhead and expenses. Your beginning funds will have to carry you through this initial period of lack. Because of this, you need to budget carefully and take every expenditure into consideration before you make a purchase.
Many small businesses begin operating on unsecured business loans, like those found at https://www.unsecuredfinanceaustralia.com.au/. Don’t make the mistake of being too proud to take out a loan. It’s actually a smart financial move if you can find a business loan with reasonable terms and pay it off once your business starts bringing in an income.
- Think twice, and then a third time, before buying for your business. Equipment may be necessary in your small business, but shopping around is crucial. You may be able to get that same exact product from another company for less or purchase it gently used at a huge discount.
Avoid impulse buying. Instead, go to your computer and see if you can find the same thing somewhere else cheaper. Then wait another day and see if you feel like it is still worth spending the money on.
- Create a business plan. A business plan is not just a way to set up your budget. It includes the definition of your business and the products and services that you offer, what your goals are, and your standard operating procedures. It also includes a layout of what your marketing approach is going to be.
This business plan will be expected if you approach a loan or venture capitalist for any sort of financing.
- Use your business plan to create your identity. Based off of your plan, take the products and services that you provide and come up with a logo. You will then use this logo to create your business cards, stationery, website, etc. People will begin to associate your logo with your business (think: Nike).
- Find an accountant and an attorney. You will need both of these to ensure you are hitting all of the required tax and legal laws. Your accountant can tell you whether you should plan to incorporate your business or file as an LLC and what the differences are.
Be sure that you are comfortable with both of these professionals as they will be your go-to people for advice often in the beginning years. You will need their help when it comes time to set up your tax identification numbers, get your licenses, and obtain your permits. They will also help you with your federal tax identification number, determine taxes and payroll for you and your employees, and give you advice as legalities and laws change.
- Consider your insurance options. Your accountant and attorney can help you here, as well, but you can begin researching the requirements for your industry yourself. You can also find an insurance agent that will help you to obtain necessities like unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation coverage, and any other types of policies that are required or recommended.
- Obtain a bank account for your business. Keep your personal finances and your business ones separate. Opening a bank account is slightly different in that the bank will request information such as the date you formed your company, what kind of business it is, the names of the owners, the address, and sometimes more details.
- Develop your workspace. Who will your employees be? Where will they work? What will the office atmosphere look like? These are the kinds of questions you can start delving into next.
Come up with a checklist to ensure that each room you are designing, if you have a brick and mortar business, has the basic equipment that it needs to perform the duties required. Computer, computer chair, phone, phone line, wireless, even pens and paper are the bare minimum for most places, but you will need to feel out your business needs yourself.
- Develop and launch your product. You may have needed to find a developer or a manufacturer to create your product, or you may be the creator yourself as a proprietor. Whatever it takes to launch your business, once you have completed these ten steps, you are ready to officially call yourself a small business owner!
Your Roadmap to Success: You’re Ready to Launch!
It may seem overwhelming when you look at the whole picture at once, but remember that each step will provide you with more information and understanding that will lead you to the next one.
You can’t climb the mountain in one fell swoop, but if you do it piece by piece, eventually you will find your way to the top. The same idea goes with getting your small business off of the ground, and following this roadmap to success will get you there!