Starting a business can be an exhilarating idea. What could be better than being your own boss and creating your own work schedule? Have you seen those pictures of an entrepreneur lounging on the beach with a drink in one hand and a laptop on their knees? You probably have! However, that’s not always realistic to what it’s like being an entrepreneur, especially when just starting your business.
Creating a business can be challenging and yet stimulating at the same time. It’s challenging because there are many steps to follow to ensure your business is started in the right way. And the process is exciting because this business will be your own.
We’ve put together some steps to help set up your new business correctly from the start! Some of these steps apply to all businesses, while others may not apply to your business. So, follow those tips that apply to your circumstances.
- Be Inspired & Let Your Passion Shine
It’s almost impossible to start a business without inspiration. It can help to read stories about famous entrepreneurs such as Arianna Huffington, Steve Jobs, and Milton Hershey. Learning about the excitement and struggles others have gone through can help you find the courage to move forward with your dream. Remember that failure is a part of every entrepreneur’s story. Failure is a temporary setback or a course change. It’s essential to learn from these situations and use what you’ve learned moving forward.
Along with inspiration, it’s also important to be passionate about your new business. Being excited about your new company helps others to catch the spark of interest and excitement, too! This can be essential if you’re looking for investors and financial assistance to get your business off the ground. Nothing is worse than telling people about your business with a monotone voice and bland presentation!
- Educate Yourself
You don’t have to have a college degree to start a business. However, it’s necessary to ensure you have the knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a business owner. You can do this through:
- Reading books on business, marketing, autobiographies about famous entrepreneurs
- Watching TED talks on business & marketing topics
- Listen to your target audience (what do they want/need in a product or service)
- Learn about accounting for your business (or hire a bookkeeper/accountant)
- Take some online business courses
There are a number of ways to educate yourself on starting a business. The key is to start with the basics and then branch out into other topics that pertain to your business. Where you feel a lack of knowledge, take time to learn about this aspect. Everything you learn is beneficial and may help you and your business.
- Generate a Business Idea
How do you go about generating an idea? The goal is to create a list of as many ideas as you can. When you feel the list is done, go through each idea and rip it to shreds. That means starting out with the thought that your idea is terrible. Why is that? What flaws are in your idea? Once you spot the weaknesses, see if you can find ways to overcome them. If not, move on to your next idea.
When you find an idea that seems to work after the shredding process, check for the strengths in your idea. Are there enough to make this idea work? If so, go for it!
- Develop Your Idea
Next, it’s time to brainstorm your idea to work out any flaws and develop benefits.
- Determine Your Target Market
Now you have an idea for your business, who will your customers be? If you can’t answer that question, it’s time to research who your target market (customers) is and where to find them.
- Create a Business Plan
Some entrepreneurs feel a little uncomfortable about creating a business plan. However, it’s essential to the success of your business. A business plan is a document you write that outlines your business goals, financial goals, and how you’ll achieve these.
The business plan should be detailed and become a road map for your business to follow for the next 3 to 5 years. And if you’re looking for financial backers, a detailed business plan can also be shared with lenders, potential investors, and partners.
- Decide on the Legal Structure for your Business
There are different legal structures that can be used to set up your business. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re not sure which is right for you, it’s best to consult with an accountant.
- See Resources & Financial Aid
Do you know how to fund your business? Have you saved money to start your business? Do you need a line of credit?
Now’s the right time to begin looking at your financial options and begin putting your business finances in order. Some areas also offer small-business development resources through business development centres. They may also be able to steer you to financial resources and aid that’s available where you live.
- Register Your Business
This is a simple, but necessary step to establishing your business.
- Get a Tax ID
Now’s also the time to get your business tax ID so you can take care of tax responsibilities.
- File for Local and Federal Taxes (location dependent)
It’s also necessary to ensure your business is set up to pay taxes
- Obtain Permits & Licenses
Does your business need to apply for permits or licenses? If you’re not sure, it’s time to find out and then obtain those that are necessary.
- Establish Your Business Location
Will you rent or buy an office? Have you considered working in a coworking space or a serviced office? Will you work from an office at home?
It’s time to decide where your business will be located. Your choice may depend on whether you’re running the business alone or if you need to hire employees. So, choose a location that’s best suited for your business.
- Create & Launch a Website
Creating an online presence is essential to your business, even if your customers don’t have to make orders through your site. Your business website is where potential customers can learn about you, your business, and the products or services.
- Learn from Customers
Once your business is up and running, accept both positive and negative feedback from your customers. Use this to help improve your products and services. The goal is to improve what you offer to be a better fit for your target market.
- Assess Your Progress
Now that your business has been going for a time, review your business plan and assess your progress. It may be necessary to tweak your business and get it back on the right track.
Summing It Up
These are the steps to get your business off to the right start! Being an entrepreneur is both exciting and challenging! But what an adventure and a great feeling to own your business and be your own boss!