Steps to starting your business

BRAINSTORM.

Having what you feel is a great thought/Idea is beautiful but you have to make it come to life. Embarking on your new role as an future business owner and entrepreneur -is to think about every facet of your business and when I tell you- when you think you thought of it all, something else pops up. Come up with answers to every question a stranger or potential investor might ask you. For blackboardexample try to answer these questions:

Who is the target market for the product?

What your motivation behind THIS type of business

What could go wrong and how will you solve it?

How will you promote-said product

Are there additional products or services that could tie into your main offering?

What are the main things you want your customers to know about you?

Taking your time and getting these answers together prior to even pitching an idea or submitting a business plan, you’ll come across as a more trustworthy, well- thought out, confident and ready business owner. When it comes time- try to attract the attention of the right stakeholders (my larger foot customers who want nice shoes that are worth the price- in comfort and style).

2. Get those fingers typing (Write a business plan).

After you’ve taken the time to answer questions about your business or product idea, put together a concrete business plan. If you think you are going to need funding- possibly loans from private investors or a bank- they will want to see a solid business plan. There are templates online that you can pay for and create your own plan.

Honestly even if you don’t want or need funding and want to spear-head this project on your own, having a business plan will help guide you along the way- Plus, how cool would it be to look back 10 years from now and see what and where your focus was compared to how it had to shift or how it grew!

Writing a business plan

Business plans should include but not be limited to; a company description (what makes the company unique), an executive summary, a market analysis (the competition and target demographics), a description of the service or product line, the company’s structure, the sales strategy, marketing and financial projections — plus any supplementary useful information.

Entrepreneur ß Click this for free templates.

3. Round up resources.

If you’re forecasting to start a one-person business, you don’t automatically need to worry about hiring anyone else. Yes this may save you money in theory- but it could cost you in the end. Don’t attempt to cut too many corners and think about being the sole earner in this endeavor. Sometimes with help you can go further than you could ALONE. Now, even if you want to be superwoman/man and DIY(Do-it- yourself) it might be helpful to create a plan for the future when you want to grow the business.

No one cares about the size of your business but you- AT FIRST, there will always be few essentials to start operating.

The area where I became overwhelmed this time around was this step:

Create a list of everything you’ll need and its approximate cost.

This step here had/ has my damn head spinning! To me this is the area that will separate you from others. Knowing what and how you want to present your business to the potential customer. For instance, my business as a shoe designer/ seller I need- of course SHOES- but, also;

Shoe boxes, dust bags, shopping bags, customized shipping boxes, labels, business card, a website, payment accounts, customized customer loyalty card, the tissue paper that goes into the shoe boxes, business letter head, a reliable computer, product and material samples- and all FREE samples aren’t free! The list goes and down to staples and rubber bands.. It’s amazing how the thought of being a business owner may become clouded by “I’m going to be making money!!” and once reality sets in- I’m going to have overhead like a BIH -(DEFINITION of overhead,  a cost or expense- incurred in the general upkeep or running of a plant, premises, or business, and not attributable to specific products or items+ storage for all the inventory. Now, again, this may not be the same for everyone. Some people want to run a minimal business and this isn’t a bad thing- others (ME) want to provide an experience.

Get a financial advisor or an accountant!! Or great software that is fool proof!

WAITTTTT how could I forget?!?!?

Create a business name, register it with your state, fill out for an EIN/TIN. Employer Tax Identification Number/ Taxpayer Identification Number. LOGOS, figure out if you want a logo or a specific design to present when people reference your business. Uhh, let’s see and those that are looking to open a storefront or salon- LOCATION is somewhat important depending on what your service is but, decide if you want to buy or  lease a space.

Figure out what Tax forms you need filled out and DO NOT DELAY or PROCRASTINATE when it comes to this step!!!

I love LEGALZOOM- Start a business LLC!! Yes, an LLC- Limited Liability Company. This will be extremely beneficial when it comes to separating your finances from those of the business and the liabilities that may befall it. In other words- don’t get sued and have your retirement money snatched from you because you didn’t have anything to protect your personal assets. This company also has different level packages that you can purchase to handle all your tax related/ form related duties.

4. Launch marketing and brand-awareness campaigns.

AKA- make a few pages! Get out there and network

Before you jump your business off the ground, start planning the ideas for sales, marketing, and branding efforts. Because social media is used by much of the world at this point, spanning across age groups to grow in popularity, having an online presence is key. This, I thank all of you for, who view my page daily.

Create a Facebook page, Twitter profile, Google+, BLOG, and LinkedIn page for your business, depending on the appropriate social media channel for your company. Be sure all your web pages have a cohesive feel and are updated regularly. You don’t want to confuse your potential consumer/ investor. Don’t post conflicting things- stay on topic/ BRAND

All other communications with your clients should have a cohesive feel. Use the company’s brand colors and logo to create business cards, letterhead (Remember these from OVERHEAD?) and email signatures to demonstrate to customers you are a professional operation.

5. Get the finances in shape.

Not setting up proper accounting, bookkeeping and tax records up front can be dangerous and costly to a business in the long run. Set up the business as a limited liability company, an S Corp or whatever structure fits best to protect personal assets. Use bookkeeping software like GoDaddy Bookkeeping  or Quickbooks  that make it easy to export records when doing taxes.

Hire an accountant for your business who can ensure that taxes are done correctly. While doing your own business taxes can be relatively easy when running a solo business, laws and regulations vary by state. Consult with an expert to make sure you’re in the clear.

 

I jumped all around on this pot but I hope it was helpful!

Until next time

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