Planning on starting a new business? If you’re not sure, there are plenty of good reasons why you might want to. Among those perks includes financial independence, job flexibility, and the freedom to make your own decisions. As great as all of that sounds, however, starting and running a business can be a headache. In many cases, new owners can expect to work long hours only to make little profits in return. While there are exceptions to this, most new businesses typically won’t achieve success overnight or maybe even a year. And even if things do start picking up for your business, there’s no guarantee that it will even last 2 years. But don’t be discouraged. Businesses today have more access to the tools and resources that they need to succeed than ever before. If you don’t know where to start, however, here’s a few steps that you can follow below. 

Research

The first thing that you should do before you plan on opening a business is to do research. By now, you may know what type of business you’d like to have but not the industry that it’s in. This, of course, means knowing who your competitors and target demographic are and understanding the market environment of your industry. Take time to research your most successful competitors to see what strategies work for them. By now, you should also reflect on how practical your business idea is by answering questions like: Is there a demand for your product or service? How do they compare with that of your competitors? What can you do to make your business stand out? Owners should also go through a validation process with their ideas to get a better understanding of their customers. When it comes to researching, there’s no shortage of what you can do.

Business Plan

A business plan is a written guide of what you want to accomplish in your business. It covers important topics like figuring out how you’re going to finance your business to defining what its purpose is. The information you received from doing your research can help significantly when it comes to creating a well-written business plan. There are many different types of business plans that owners can choose from based on what their objectives are. A traditional plan, for example, is helpful if you’re seeking financing from investors. Operational business plans are useful for setting up deadlines and outlining employee responsibilities. No matter what plan you choose, always remember to include an exit strategy somewhere in it. Exit strategies play a key role in the strategic direction of a business when an owner decides to sell it. More information on how to write a business plan can be found here.

Location

It should go without saying that figuring out where you want your business to be located is important. You may decide to work from home or in a private office or even a retail location. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to starting a business in any one of these locations. Knowing the equipment you’ll be using and the overall setup cost can help you decide which setting works for you. Being that retail locations are the most expensive option, you may want to consider whether to buy or lease space. Here are ten considerations that you should make when it comes to choosing an location.

Legal Structure

Every new owner must decide on what type of entity they would want their business to fall under. The legal structure of a business can determine how it files its taxes, ownership liability and other related matters. The most common legal structures that businesses usually fall in are sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and LLCs. Two other lesser known ones that fall under the corporations include S-corporations and C-corporations. Each type has its own risks and benefits but deciding on which one works best for you requires a thorough analysis. Be sure to get the right registration needed from the government before you decide to open your business. This includes getting the proper licenses and obtaining an EIN in the process. While the decision is still all yours, having a partner to help split the workload is a more favorable option.

Building Your Team

After you’ve had your business setup, now is the time to start recruiting people to your business. When it comes to team building, who you choose to join your business should matter just as much as its bottom line. First, you must identify what you’re looking for in an ideal employee and the positions that need to be filled. Next, you may want to decide how you’d want your new team to work together. Finding ways to strengthen your employee’s interpersonal skills can have an impact on the productivity level of your business. If you need help finding new workers, there are many strategies that you can use to assist you.  Even if you’re working alone, a wise entrepreneur always has a support group available to help them when needed. This can include business coaches/mentors, accountants, and even family or friends. This can help your business succeed in the long run.

Finance

Financing is typically one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business. While many owners turn to business lenders for help, the main source of funding has to come from you first. Before you decide to start acquiring capital, you’ll need to create a budget plan. Make a spreadsheet listing important capital costs like equipment and building expenses and for recurring costs like rent and inventory. This would help you determine what your initial investment would be and how much it’ll cost to run your business. Bootstrapping or applying for financing  from SBA’s, grants, crowdfunding and angel investors are other options available when you’re seeking capital. If you have poor credit, you can apply for a MCA from lenders like us at Smart Business Funding.

Marketing

After your business is up and running, the next step is to start promoting it. There are many ways you can market your business which is why there is no one best overall strategy. The most important thing you should think about when it comes to marketing your business is brand building. This means creating an image for your company that would resonate with your ideal customers. You can build a website, pass flyers or create billboards as a start. If you don’t have the budget for this, there’s always social media which is both free and insanely popular. You can share content, post offers, upload images and actually engage with people online. You can even create ads on popular sites like FacebookInstagram, and Google though at a cost. Other strategies include blogging, sending emails, listing sites and much more. For help on creating a marketing plan, click here.

Trial/Error Phase

Now that your business is taking off, the next and final step is to test to see what’s working. If you can, promote your business by providing services at community events to draw more people to your business. You can use this opportunity to get other people’s opinions about your business through surveys and free sample offers. Measure the amount of traffic coming into your website by using tools data management tools like Google Analytics. Other important areas you should be focusing on at this stage includes customer satisfaction, performance reviews, your finances and so on. Through this approach, you can use the information you receive to revise your current strategies to make them more effective. 

Use this guide to help you as you lay down the foundation that will help you start your business. Remember to always seek help, treat your customers and employees well and be open to trying out new ideas. In doing so, you will help steer your business to the path of success in no time.