Clear Steps for Starting a Successful Small Business
Small Business Startup? Follow These Steps For Success
Launching a new small business can be a daunting process. You have an idea you put it out into the world, and you hope potential customers will start flooding through your doors. Where should you begin? What are the starting steps which will place you on the road towards success? What considerations should you tackle before launching yourself full-force into the potentially soul draining and soul uplifting life of a small business owner?
Step One – Ideas Assessment
The first step on the long road towards small business success is determining whether or not your business idea has feasibility. Ask yourself a few of these questions, and try to answer as honestly as you are able:
- Is your idea unique to your area?
- Does it bring something different to the table, something local people haven’t seen or heard of before?
- What key features about your idea will make your small business successful?
After these tough questions have been answered, you should begin to determine what type of small business you wish to run. Similar businesses can co-exist, but you need to be able to settle yourself into a specific niche and execute the needs of that niche to perfection. Also keep in mind – starting up a service business (a service you provide based on expertise) is far less expensive than launching a product-based small business, where the money raised will go towards creating tangible goods.
Step Two – Business Plan
Following these considerations, the next step on your list should be to develop a simple business plan. Simple is the key word here. You want to avoid going overboard, spending hours wrestling with yourself over minutia or contingencies for the future, which may never come to fruition. Focus on drawing up a simple, concise, one-page business plan.
This business plan will cover what your small business will offer – whether that be goods or services, your target customer, how much you’ll charge, and the processes by which you plan to make that all happen. Your business plan should also include some market research to ensure you won’t be in over your head when you plunge yourself into the wonderfully wild world of small business ownership.
If need be, also consider getting business assistance and training. Take all the help you can get in the early days of your small business. Consider taking free training and small business counseling services. These programs can range from aiding you in the creation of a small business plan to securing finance, expanding, or relocating a business.
Speaking of the location of your business – during the consideration process for determining where you will locate your small business, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first of which is to make sure you’re in a customer-friendly location. The whole point here is to bring in customers, after all. The second thing to make absolutely sure is that you are complying with local zoning laws as well. Also consider whether your small business actually needs a highly visible location. Locations which have higher traffic flow tend to be much more expensive than those which don’t.
When considering the financing situation for your small business launch, it is important to ask yourself another question. What will be the total start up and acquisition costs? Be prepared, when meeting with government loan agents, venture capitalists, and research grant councils, to produce your small business’ financial projections for at least the next two years. Also ensure your small business has extensive collateral.
Step Three – Legal Structure
The next few steps for starting your small business are pretty straightforward. You should determine the legal structure of your business. These structures could include sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, corporation, S corporation, nonprofit, or cooperative. During this consideration process, it is strongly advised you seek the advice of an accountant and an attorney. Next, register your small business’ name, get a tax ID number, register for state and local taxes, obtain business licenses and permits, and understand your employer responsibilities. (Hiring staff is the first step in that process.)
Step Four – Marketing Plan
The final step involved in the launching of your small business is marketing, or promotion. As you did with your initial small business plan, it is vital that you identify your target customer for your marketing campaigns. Next, focus on the uniqueness of your small business we mentioned earlier. This will allow potential customers to identify exactly what new brand of amazing your small business brings to the table.
Of course, also invest in business signs!
Signs are a great way to advertise your small business and get people thinking about your goods and services. But you have to create signs people will remember. Just keep in mind: make them BIG. Make them noticeable. Obey your local sign ordinances, and use the right materials.
If you follow these few steps towards launching a successful small business, you’ll have customers flying through your doors in no time. Good luck, and remember: have fun. This small business should be your passion. Share it – and all it has to offer – with the world!