Starting a business is a huge dream for a lot of people who want to be entrepreneurs and independent. Not every business that is been set up succeeds and it’s because the owner has failed to follow some guidelines that would create the pathway for owning a successful small business.
Before you decide to start up a business, there are a few things you need to know including taking a feasibility study that would ascertain if the business will thrive or not. This guide will put you in the right direction so you don’t make any costly mistake that would ruin your chances of having a successful business empire.
Below are guide to starting a small business.
1. Make a research:
Before venturing into any business, you should have substantial knowledge about it including the pros and cons involved. There are three goals every potential successful business should be able to achieve and they are;
-Solve a problem.
-Fulfill a need.
-Offer the market what it wants.
If you believe your business would be able to achieve these three things then you are good to go to the next stage. There are some few questions you should be able to answer to yourself while you are making your research and they are;
-Is there a need for your products or services?
-Who needs them?
-Are there other companies offering the same products or services?
-How fierce is the competition?
You should be able to answer these questions because they will be making a huge difference in your business.
2. Draft out a business plan:
Every business must have a plan unless you might run into unforeseen challenges that could be hard to overcome. A Business plan is a blueprint that guides your business activities from the startup stage to the establishment phase and also during the growth of the business. There are basically two types of business plans which are the traditional business plans and the simple one-page business plan. The former is the type you write when you are seeking for investors or financiers. There are specific information’s that you must include in this plan before it can be considered.
It is important you follow these rules on how to write a good business plan to avoid making mistakes. A simple one-page business plan is the one you write for yourself just to give you the clarity of what you hope to achieve and also to keep track of your activities.
3. Plan your finances:
After drafting out your business plan, it’s now time to plan your finances and strategize on your source of funds. While setting up your business, it’s important you set aside funds for initial investment and ongoing expenses because profits don’t start coming immediately.
To be enable to have a clear picture on how to finance your business, you need to create a spreadsheet where you can draw an estimate of the one-time cost for initial expenses such as; License, permit, legal insurance, grand openings and the cost of running your business for at least 12 months- Remember that your profits won’t start coming in immediately until you’ve been able to gain your balance.
If you don’t have the initial capital to start up your business, don’t worry because there are a few ways you can get funds. Some of them are;
-Small business loans
-Small business grants
Carefully analyze these options and choose the best for you.
4. Select a good business structure:
Before you start your business fully, you should be able to choose a solid business structure for yourself. Depending on the type of business and the amount of funds available, you can decide to choose either sole proprietorship, cooperation, partnership or even a limited liability company (LLC). Whichever structure you choose will definitely affect your business name and the nature of tax you would be paying.
You can still change the structure of your business later on but be rest assured that it would affect a lot of things. I would recommend that you see a business adviser from the onset to let you know the best structure that would be most beneficial to you.
5. Register a business name:
Your business name is your identity and should be carefully picked. After picking your business name, you should check thoroughly that it hasn’t been trademarked or currently in use because you can be fined heavily when you use a name that has been trademarked and accredited officially.
It’s also advisable that you create a domain name with your new business name so you can trademark it and prevent another person from using it. For cooperation and limited liability companies, you can only register your business name when the formation paperwork has been filed.
6. Get permits and license:
One of the requirements for you to start up a business is that you have the necessary documents such as your permit or license. It might differ in cities or countries but the fact still remains that you must have a valid proof that you are authorized to set up a business anywhere.
7. Choose your accounting system:
Systems are very important in a business because they make it run effectively and also enable you to keep track of your activities with ease. Systems such as accounting systems are very useful because they help you to create, manage budget, set prices and conduct business with others. You can hire an accountant to set it up or manage it for you.
8. Set up your business location:
Now is the time to set up your business location at a site you know would be most favorable for your kind of business. Endeavour to make enough research to avoid making costly mistakes. You should also know if it would be best for you to rent a building for your business or to build yours.
9. Prepare your team:
At this point, you’ve made all the necessary arrangements and it’s now the perfect time to start scouting for workers or employees that would be working with you if you need any. If you don’t need any worker but prefer contracting your jobs to external companies, then you would need to setup the Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) for fraud prevention.
10. Promote your business:
Finally your business is set and it’s time to let the public know what products you sell or the services you render. Start by having a Unique Selling Point (USP) that would distinguish you from others in the same industry as yours, create a marketing plan and finally use the plan to consistently push your business. In order to choose the right promotion, you need to follow these guidelines on how to promote your business on social media.
Written by: Stephen Abiodun