Do you have a great business idea?
If you do, you may be ready to jump into the pool of over 30 million small businesses in the United States.
Having a great idea is the first step for how to go about starting your own business, but there are plenty more to follow. To make sure your vision doesn’t get lost among the masses, follow these great tips to getting your business off the ground.
Research Your Market
The first step of how to go about starting your business is to do a little market research.
Market research blends research of market trends and target-consumer behavior to help you discover the likelihood of being successful with your business. additionally, great market research can help improve business plans to make them more profitable and manageable.
Well-done market research can answer all these questions:
- Do consumers have a want or need for your service?
- Is there enough demand for your services to justify the cost?
- What is the potential for income in the current market?
- Where are your potential customers located?
- How much competition is there for your services (how saturated is the field?)
- How much do your competitors charge for similar services and products?
Create a Foolproof Business Plan
A big part of your business plan comes from the information compiled through market research, which is why that’s the first step. With your research complete; though, you can begin filling in other portions of your business plan.
Though the content will vary based on your business needs, here are the basic components of a business plan.
- Executive Summary
- Company Structure/ Business Description
- Market Research Results
- Financial Necessity
- Projected Income
A business plan is more than just a road map for the creation of your business, it also serves as a tool for potential investors to learn more about the company, its goals, and how it plans to reach said goals. So, consider the executive summary of the first impression of your company on investors. Include information like the company background, positive highlights that make your company stand out, or an overview of management and involved personnel.
Company Structure/ Business Description
When you think about how to go about starting your own business, there are some questions to consider.
What are you selling? Who are you selling to? How will your business operations to reach sales goals? This is all information to incorporate in the company structure portion of your business plan.
If you are going to create a commercial plumbing business, for instance, focus on how your customers will find you, how the contracting process works, what services you specifically will provide, and how customers are expected to pay.
Market Research Results
Pop all your information from market research right here. Be sure to use visual data like graphs and charts to help investors easily read your information.
This is the question investors may be most interested in – how much money does your company need to get off the ground? Include information about the funds you already have, how you plan to raise additional capital, and if you plan to need additional funds later in your startup period.
Use your market research to determine how much revenue you plan to make in the first 12 months of operating your business. Include projections for increased revenue overtime for the next 3-5 years.
If you plan on applying for bank loans or anything similar, include financial documentation to help get your application approved.
Find a Location
One of the most important questions on how to go about starting your own business is, “where will you put it?”
Some businesses do well being run out of an owner’s home, which can save you a lot of money in overhead costs. However, most businesses will require the leasing of a commercial building. A commercial real estate lease is different from typical rental agreements as they lay out exactly what you are allowed to do with the building in your time there. These details are important because you might have a need to install specialty equipment, counters, security gates, etc.
Don’t be afraid to shop around. You don’t want to sign a legally binding contract for one location only to find an even better, cheaper place a few days later.
Building Your Own Location
Some business owners may opt to build a custom location for their new business. If you take this route, insist on using only the best service providers for the job. Before focusing on how to go about starting your own business, take the time to look into each of your contractors, and keep your investment safe from avoidable disasters. For example, only hire a top-rate electrical contractor, even if the cost is higher. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars down the line.
Additionally, be certain your building is erected in an area zoned for business to avoid legal issues and a potential need to relocate.
Name your Business
You might be thinking, “shouldn’t I have done that already?”
It might be tempting to pick a business game right out of the gate, and there is no shame in doing so. However, before filing documentation to create the legal name for your business, look through your market research and investor notes to make a good decision that fits your personality, your company’s vibe, and grabs customer’s attention.
Making sure your company name matches your product is one of the most important parts of how to go about starting your own business. Also, avoid spelling your name in a creative way that makes it impossible for customers to remember.
Before registering your business name, conduct some research to ensure the name isn’t taken by another business. Also, check for domain names that interest you. You don’t want to register a business name just to find out that all closely related domains are already taken. Especially since domain owners are known to charge shockingly high amounts for the sale of the domain name’s rights.
Register your Business
At this point, you should have picked out a business name that makes you happy and reflects your business. That means it is time to register your business
There are a few details to consider when determining how to register your business:
- If you operate under your personal name, there is no need to register your business.
- Most small businesses can become registered simply by registering their business name with both local and state governments.
- Most businesses don’t need to register with the federal government but doing so is necessary for trademark protection as well as the ability to claim tax-exempt status.
- S Corps must register with the federal government due to their additional tax benefits
Apply for Tax Numbers
There are a lot of ideas for how to go about starting your own business, but this is a step you simply cannot skip. Applying online for your federal and state tax numbers are necessary to hire employees, open business bank accounts, pay taxes, and apply for business-specific licenses.
It is recommended that you apply for tax numbers as soon as you finish registering your business (if applicable).
Apply for Licenses
Opening a bar? There’s a license for that.
Raising and selling cattle across state lines? There’s a license for that, too.
Installing commercial ac units? You guessed it – there’s a license for that.
In fact, there are dozens of business-specific licenses you may be required to hold. Be certain to research your industry and check for any credentials or licenses you are required to hold in order to legally operate your business.
Get a Bank Account
No matter how convenient it may seem to use your personal account for your business, a separate company bank account is one of the first steps to take when determining how to go about starting your own business.
A business bank account is important for tax purposes, monitoring expenses, and identifying fraudulent activity. Additionally, building a business relationship with a bank is important in case you need to apply for a company credit card or business loan in the future.
Get Advertising Materials
You need to get your company’s name into the mouth of potential customers. To do this, consider purchasing audience-targeted marketing material.
A lot of small businesses have success running t-shirt campaigns for their brands. Research screen printing services to find an option that fits in your price range and can create unique and wearable shirts or other items.
Business cards, pens, and other promotional items are also great ways to spread the news about your business.
Implement Social Media Marketing
The marketing world has changed. Radio and tv spots are great, but they are extremely expensive. Many highly successful brands have reached their success without ever paying for those expensive advertising slots. That’s because they implement social media marketing.
Social media marketing is done through creating, maintaining, and properly utilizing business accounts on websites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube. Creating content that both engages your customer base and provides relevant company information is an inexpensive way to watch your consumer base grow and your influence spread.
If you’re not an expert at social media, there are professional social media managers who can create content for your pages and maintain contact and interaction with your followers.
Improve Your Google Search Rate
If there is anyone way to spend money to improve your advertising, it is on a good digital marketer. When it comes to how to go about starting your own business, this is one step you don’t want to skip.
A skilled marketer or SEO expert can update your website content to push it to the top of Google search results. This is majorly important for the success of your business because nearly 50% of all Google searches are for local businesses and services. Missing out on being in those search results can destroy a business.
Though a professional is the best way to improve your google search ranking, you can also implement some DIY techniques like:
- Fix broken website links
- Claim your Google business listing
- Start a blog and back-link to your website
- Keep your website speedy and error-free
Keep your Business Safe
When thinking about how to go about starting your own business, you might not stop to consider keeping the business safe. However, there are many steps to take in this regard that should be implemented early on.
Keep Communications Secure
Data and network cabling can be unsightly, which might lead to business owners opting to use wireless connections. Remember, Wi-Fi is a great selling point to offer customers, but it is not a secure way to complete digital transactions that relate to the business.
Wireless connections are notoriously easy to hack, and you wouldn’t want someone gaining access to your tax information, HR documents, or client details.
Get a Lawyer
Sure, lawyers can be expensive to retain, but their services are truly invaluable. A commercial tenant eviction attorney is especially helpful if you are facing the loss of your business location.
A lawyer can also look over contracts, evaluate workplace legal issues, and ensure your rights are respected.
Use Commercial-Grade Equipment
Whether you build your own company space or lease a pre-existing one, it is important to ensure that the building materials are up to snuff.
For instance, windows in your business should be made from durable plexiglass or tempered glass at a commercial-grade thickness. If your building is using standard, thin, residential-style glass windows and doors, you may have an expensive accident waiting to happen. Call a commercial glass expert to determine the cost of upgrading your materials.
A similar case can be made for commercial lighting. Standard light fixtures can become costly to install as they aren’t meant to illuminate large areas. Additionally, some lights, like low-hanging dining lights, need to be carefully chosen to ensure customers won’t burn themselves, break the bulbs, or suffer any other injuries.
You’re Ready to Start Your Business
There are a lot of origin points for how to go about starting your own business, but they all involve a lot of hard work and stress. However, if you are truly passionate about your business idea, the entire experience will be worth it.
Don’t let the fear of all the steps to starting a business keep you away. Take each level of business creation one step at a time and trust in partners and investors to help you along the way.