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You may have been thinking about starting a business for some time now, but have no idea how to do so. Perhaps you procrastinate because it feels overwhelming. Luckily, you don’t have to do everything at once. Below are five tips to help ensure that you have all your ducks in a row, and your new small business is set up right.
Figure out the Finances
Finances can make or break your business. Your biggest hurdle once you have your business idea is deciding where you will find your financing. The barrier isn’t overcome once you have identified your startup funds. Even at the outset, you need to begin thinking about hiring a small business accountant or advisor and potentially a bookeeper. The right team will not only help you manage your finances once you get up and running, but they will also help you strategically plan for the future.
Write a Business Plan
You do not need an MBA to start a business or even write a business plan. In fact, before you undergo all the work of writing a full business plan, decide if your company will require investors or financing. If so, the comprehensive plan is the correct route. If not, you do not need to go any further than a one-page business plan. Once you flesh out your vision, mission, objectives and the means to achieve them, then it’s time to test your program and see what works and what doesn’t.
When you select a brand, you are telling your customers your values, goals and unique offerings in just a few words. You are stating what distinguishes your business in a sea of global competition. If that feels overwhelming, don’t be afraid to involve some professionals. Hiring the right branding team can make sure that everything about your company’s name, logo and even color scheme reflects the core values of your business.
Do Your Legal Homework
How should you structure for your business? Should you be an LLC, a Sole Proprietorship or a Corporation? This decision requires some homework and some strategy as you think about how to protect your business now and also give it room to grow in the future. The structure you select will also affect how you pay taxes, gather investors and apply for any required licenses or permits.
Test, Test, Test!
When your business is brand new, take the opportunity to test a few versions of your website and/or your product/service to see what fits your business best. If so, one cost-effective option is to create and manage your site yourself. Turnkey platforms like Wix or Squarespace are perfect for your trial phase. Once you have a firmer idea of the desired look and feel of your site and are comfortable with your product offerings, you may find that you need to hire a web designer who can take your site to the next level.
You can start your small business one step at a time. Once you have your business idea, decide how you will pursue and manage your funding. Next, write up a business plan. When you have the core values of your business, create a brand to capture them. Then, decide what business structure makes the most sense for your current situation and future direction. Finally, put it all to the test and don’t be afraid to make changes if you identify things that don’t work. Slowly but surely you can get your new business set up right.