A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Start A Small Business
Every business starts as an idea. But it’s your hard work that turns it from a vision to a real-life venture. Before you open the doors to your storefront, there are a few steps you need to take. This guide takes the time, headache, and worry out of the research process. It has everything you should know before going out and starting a small business. Let’s explore the nine steps, each of which will lead you a bit closer to making the dream of becoming a business owner a reality.
Step 1: Conducting Market Research
First up: time to look into your idea. Market Research will help you to realize that selling electric blankets in tropical Hawaii isn’t likely to be a huge success. It’s the act of researching your future customers and competitors to help you avoid costly mistakes. Every business comes with risks, but some can be avoided by researching. So spend some time and money looking into your market. To understand how to conduct research, check out What Is Market Research And Why Is It Important For Businesses.
Step 2: Creating A Business Plan
After your research, pull out a pen and paper to start writing your business plan. A good business plan will set you up for success. The Small Business Association (SBA) tells us that there are two types of business plans—traditional and lean startup. A traditional business plan will be longer and include formal documents. A lean startup plan is shorter and can be done in as little as an hour. Both business plan strategies are a step towards success. Learn which plan is best for your business in Why Is A Business Plan Important And How Do I Write One.
Step 3: Setting Business Goals
Your business plan may be your boat, but your goals are your destination. And if you want to enjoy the island of success, you need clear goals in mind. You should always set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Based) goals that lead to better objectives and tasks. It’s the best way to achieve what you want in your business. Dive in and learn more about goals in How To Grow A Small Business By Setting Goals and Objectives.
Step 4: Understanding Business Costs
Now to make your goals and plan a reality, you have to spend some money (usually). Between establishment costs, staffing your business, and office space, the costs can add up. I think we can all agree it’d be nice if money grew on trees. You can expect to put up a good chunk of cash in the first few months. Business costs will vary widely depending on the business, and you should have an idea of the cost before you look into funding. Learn more in What Costs Are Involved In Starting A Business.
Step 5: Choosing A Business Structure
Just like your costs will vary in those first few months, the business structure you choose depends on a few different factors. Not everyone can fit into the same pair of jeans, so it makes sense all businesses can’t fit into the same structure. Each business structure comes with its own benefits. You’ll want to choose wisely before you commit to one. It’s not something you’ll want to deal with changing later because it can be fairly difficult. Research the different structures in Understanding And Designing The Perfect Business Structure.
Step 6: Getting Small Business Loans
Unless you’re Midas with the golden touch, securing a small business loan may be your best option to get more funding. Thankfully, there are plenty of funding options for small businesses. Nowadays, you’re luckier than ever because you can choose between traditional funding and non-traditional funding. If you want to get an angel investor, secure a venture capital firm, or empty your savings, those all may be options. All funding is explored in 12 Types Of Small Business Loans And Funding For Startups.
Step 7: Acquiring Business Licenses
Just like you need a license to drive a car, you need a license to open your business. This is where you take your plan, goals, and funding to become an accredited company. Depending on where you live, where you’re operating, and the kind of business you open, you may need more than one. Licenses limit your liability and let the government know how much money you’ve made. There are a lot of licenses, but you won’t need them all. Getting The Right Business Licenses For Your Company will help determine which ones you need.
Step 8: Choosing Pricing Strategies
How is it that McDonald’s can sell a $2 burger and your local brewery sells a $15 burger? Both burgers will satisfy your hunger, but why such different price points? It all lies in pricing strategies. To make some money, you need to determine your pricing strategy for the service or products you sell. Use the right one and it’ll make your business grow faster and stronger. To learn about the 12 strategies and make sure you’re choosing the right one, read What Is The Best Pricing Strategy For My Small Business.
Step 9: Branding Your Small Business
What makes Disney, Apple, and Nike? They’re more than their logos, they’re a brand. Starting a business means coming up with your own brand. This includes everything from your mission statement to your typography. Once you’ve decided what makes your brand, you need to set strict brand guidelines that will be present in everything you do. Now is the time to figure out what makes your company. This can be explained in A Guide To Small Business Branding For Entrepreneurs.
Things To Keep In Mind When Starting A Small Business
Starting a business is more than just throwing together a few steps and hoping for the best. Planning and going through each step will help your business start off on the right foot. Once you’ve got everything under your belt, don’t forget to create your free Yelp business page! Two things are monumental for business owners—getting the first sale and getting your first repeat customer. We can’t wait to help you out with both!