Easy Steps to Start a Small Business.
When you consider some of the most popular reasons to start a business, including designing a career that has the flexibility to grow with you, having a unique business idea, working toward financial independence, and investing in yourself, it’s no wonder that small businesses are everywhere.
Research shows that only about two-thirds of businesses with employees survive at least two years, and about half survive five years. So, you may be in for a real challenge when you decide to take the plunge, ditch your day job, and become a business owner.
Here are some steps that are required to start a business successfully. Take one step at a time, and you’ll be on your way to successful small business ownership.
If you intend to seek financial support from an investor or financial institution, a traditional business plan is a must. A business plan is a blueprint that will guide your business from the start-up phase through establishment and eventually business growth, and it is a must-have for all new businesses. You need a plan in order to make your business idea a reality. The good news is that there are different types of business plans for different types of businesses. This type of business plan is generally long and thorough and has a common set of sections that investors and banks look for when they are validating your idea.
If you don’t anticipate seeking financial support, a simple one-page business plan can give you clarity about what you hope to achieve and how you plan to do it. In fact, you can even create a working business plan on the back of a napkin, and improve it over time. Some kind of plan in writing is always better than nothing.
A sole proprietor must register their business name with either their state or county clerk. Corporations, LLCs, or limited partnerships typically register their business name when the formation paperwork is filed. Your business name plays a role in almost every aspect of your business, so you want it to be a good one. Once you have chosen a name for your business, you will need to check if it’s trademarked or currently in use. Then, you will need to register it.
Make sure you think through all the potential implications as you explore your options and choose your business name. Don’t forget to register your domain name once you have selected your business name.
You may not need employees or contractors if you are a true solopreneur hitting the small business road alone, but you will still need your own support team. This team can be comprised of small business coach, a mentor, or even your family, and serves as your go-to resource for motivation, advice and reassurance when the road gets bumpy.
You will need to think about your location, equipment, and overall setup, and make sure your business location works for the type of business you will be doing. Setting up your place of business is important for the operation of your business, whether you will have a home office, a shared or private office space, or a retail location. You will also need to consider if it makes more sense to buy or lease your commercial space.
The business entity you choose will impact many factors from your business name, to your liability, to how you file your taxes. Your small business can be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. Depending on the complexity of your business, it may be worth investing in a consultation from an attorney or CPA to ensure you are making the right structure choice for your business. You may choose an initial business structure, and then reevaluate and change your structure as your business grows and needs change.
When you’re finished, you’ll probably have a lot of ideas for your business for 2018 and years to come. The beginning of the year is a great time to set up a meeting with important clients and suppliers to talk about how to continue this mutually beneficial business relationship. Don’t wait to get started on this! Our volunteer mentors work all year round, including around the holidays, to support small businesses.
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