Coming up with a good idea is a natural precursor to starting up a small business, but still, an idea is not enough and you will have to transform that idea into something real and coherent. You will have to take action, and a meaningful one at that. When it comes to this point, most people start thinking about where they should start and their planning process begins evolving so much that they get overwhelmed by all the things they now have to consider.
It’s a normal thing to get scared and freeze up at the thought of things that you must take care of in order to start your own business, but still, starting a business is not as hard as you might think, as long as you have a good plan. Like with any other major step in life, you will have to start the whole thing by breaking it down into bits that you will tackle one at the time.
It is important that you keep in mind which things are important and go step by step. Once you are focusing on one task the others simply do not exist and, if you think this way, you won’t feel scared or overwhelmed. At the same time, you will realize that it actually can be done as you go from one task to another.
Here are is how you can break down the whole process and make it easier on yourself when starting your own business organization.
Write your own business plan
One of the biggest keys for starting up a successful small business organization is to have a well-crafted business plan. The startup phase in particular requires a smart business plan, so that you can cut down all the costs to a minimum and keep the whole process smooth and simple. When I say costs I don’t just mean money, but it also applies to time as it is one of your most valuable resources in the startup phase of your business.
A lot of “want-to-be” small business owners make a terrible mistake at the very beginning, when they try to create a robust and enormously large business plan. This is only needed if you are looking to get financing through an investment or a business loan. Even then, when you try and find a loan, you will have to look through a lot of small business loan programs before you find one that fits in with your plan.
So, when starting, it is generally the best idea to create a simple and short business plan that outlines all important aspects of your business in short lines that take up no more than one whole page altogether. Think of it as a good overview of the organization you want to start.
Determine your budget
I personally suggest that you try and keep all of your costs as low as you possibly can, but you will still have to determine your budget to start off on the right foot and know at all times how much money you have left for spending. If you are funding yourself on your own, be realistic, don’t expect too much and crunch down the numbers most objectively.
For example, I have found it very effective to determine the numbers and then reduce that amount by 15% for unexpected costs. This is how you will be ready for any incidental costs and prepare for the worst.
This is how you will also calculate your burn rate most precisely. Your organization’s burn rate is the amount of money you will be spending during each month. It is highly important that you determine this number, so that you can further calculate how long you will be able to fund your business before you will have to make some profit or go under.
For small business startups it is generally a good idea to start planning for profitability after 60 to 120 days. It is quite possible to start making some profits after this period of time has passed, but as I mentioned before, you should expect the worst and prepare in advance by setting aside some extra money, so that your business can survive in case things don’t go as well as you planned.
Determine what type of legal entity you want to register your business as
When filling for all the papers you need for opening a business organization, you will have to pay some money. In a lot of circumstances these papers can cost quite a lot, it depends on the nature of your business and the country you are trying to open it in. You will be obliged to account for municipality or city licensing, business entity fees or state incorporation and much, much more. It is highly important that you perform thorough research of all the requirements and fees you will have to honor before you start setting up your business.
In a lot of cases, during the beginning phases of a certain business it is good to register as a sole proprietor. This way means much less paperwork and, with that, less expenses. This can give you a lot more time to determine whether or not your business is viable, since you will have a lot more money at your disposal. Still, you must understand that behaving as a sole proprietor means that you can put yourself at risk if your business doesn’t start off well.
Create an online presence
No matter if you plan on relying mostly on your brick and mortar store or selling products or services online, you should make sure that you create an online presence for your business. There are many benefits of having an online presence for your business and you simply cannot allow to let them slip away from you just because you are lazy. There are many things you can do online for free to improve your chances of starting off well.
The first thing you should do is to create your own website. A website is your online store and people can contact you there day and night. Potential customers can also learn more about your business from your website and become more open to the idea of purchasing something from you. The foundation of all your online efforts is your business website and not having it is like sabotaging your business on purpose.
There are many people who like to shop strictly online, or at least check some business out online before they decide whether or not they should have anything to do with it. This is something you should take advantage of. There are so many people online nowadays, especially on social networks.
This is yet another place where you should look to gather valuable resources for your business. Create social media profiles and promote your business by posting, tweeting, pinning or anything else, depending on the social networks you go with. You can attract a lot of customers this way and it doesn’t cost any money or time.
Yet another reason why you should create an online presence for your business is because you can invest in digital marketing in the long-term, after you start making profits and you want your business to grow even further. Your website and social networks will always be there, and when you think the time is right you can promote them online by investing into digital marketing. Until then, they will have some natural growth on their own.
Test your business ideas
Once you have completed all of the previous steps, you will have a solid foundation for testing your business ideas. The best way to start testing whether or not there is something to your business ideas is to try out your products with your target audience. First of all, try spreading the word out about your services or products in as many creative ways as possible.
If you are planning on offering services, you can go to your nearest chamber of commerce and see what resources they can offer you for presenting, speaking and sharing information about your brand new business organization. In case you are selling products, see whether they are viable by creating a promotion on your social networks or by visiting various community events, such as farmers markets, swap meets etc. and find out how much interest there is and whether or not the people are willing to pay for your products.
After that, you can see whether or not your ideas need a tweak or you can start a full blown campaign and focus on promoting your business.
These are the essentials you must consider when starting your own small business. There are many other startup tricks you can try out, but if you don’t follow up on these steps, the chances of succeeding will be quite slim. It is important to remember that your job as an entrepreneur doesn’t end once you’ve started your business. You will have to work hard on improving your business constantly and learning new business owner skills that can help you fulfill your goals, best of luck.