You’ve decided to start your own business? Well, congratulations! This is a big step in your life and career and it is certainly beautiful. However, this whole process can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know which steps to take. That is why we have prepared this short guide for you to make the whole process easier and less stressful.
Find Your Idea
The first thing is to figure out what kind of business you want to open. You probably have an idea in mind, and now it’s time you research it. You should take a systematic approach to this and make sure also to perform market research. This step is important in order to figure out if there is demand for that particular business and how high the competition is. This will help you further refine your business idea and make the rest of the process a bit easier.
Create a Business Plan
Once you’ve refined your idea, it is time to create a business plan. This will help you formalize your idea and it can help you set up all the important steps you need to take before opening. So, when creating your business plan, it should have these important elements:
- Business name and description
- Market research
- Your products and services
- Management and organization
- Customer segmentation
- Marketing plan
- Financial plan
- Logistics and operations plan
Once you figure out all of these elements, you can take your plan and business to potential investors. This will let them in on your idea and how successful your business can be. Also, a business plan will be your guide towards success since it has all the important steps you need to take and it will help you stay focused.
As soon as you have created your business plan, you will know exactly how much money you will need to open your business. There are a lot of finance sources that you can research, but before you do that, it is good to check your own finances and credit score.
Financing your own business is always the best option, provided you have enough money for it. You can also check your credit score to make sure all is good with the banks in case you need a small business loan. Additionally, you can sign up for a credit inquiry removal service that will help you improve your credit score in just a couple of weeks. After that is done, you can consider getting financed, and here are several ways to do it:
- Business loans – perfect if you have a good credit history
- Business grants – usually great for veteran-owned, minority-owned, specific for-profit, women-run, and other types of businesses
- Shopify Capital – financing that helps approved merchants get funds
- Crowdfunding – going to platforms like Kickstarter to get funded by people who would support your business
- Personal Investors – VCs or angel investors who are interested in your business
Determine the Business Structure
Before registering, you have to figure out what kind of legal structure you will have. This element will affect everything from the way you file your taxes to personal liability. There are several structures to choose from:
- Sole proprietorship – you own the business entirely and you are the only one responsible for debts and obligations
- Partnership – this means you have one or more partners that can be held liable as business owners and you can split obligations.
- Corporation – you can separate your personal liability from the company’s, and there are several types of corporations to choose from.
- Limited liability company – this is the most common structure for small businesses and it is a hybrid one that has legal protection.
Obtain License and Permits
To run your business legally, you have to obtain a license and necessary permits. You can consult a small business lawyer to help you out with these so you can get everything in order. Also, since your business is subject to the laws in your area, you should make sure to abide by them, and don’t forget the laws and regulations specific to your industry.
You should get business insurance before you open it since it helps protect your business. Also, it protects your personal assets from anything that could go wrong. However, check the laws and requirements for insurance in your state, since some may differ. This way, you can be sure your business is legal, safe, and ready to be opened. As you can see there are a lot of steps to take before you open your first business. Luckily, there are a lot of sites, experts, and lawyers that can help you get started. Besides all these steps, don’t forget to see how you have to pay taxes and you are all set and ready to grow your business.
Journalist graduate, travel aficionado, and someone with endless curiosity. Lives in San Francisco, and enjoys reading, cooking, and comedy songs. “Run from what’s comfortable. Be notorious”