Small businesses are everywhere. According to the Small Business Administration, there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S. Starting a small business is a wonderful opportunity to design a career that meets your needs. However, not every business succeeds. Just as houses need solid foundations, so to do companies need to start with a firm infrastructure.
Here are eight steps that are necessary for starting a small business successfully:
1. Do Some Research
You probably already have a business idea, so now it’s time to figure out if your idea has merit. For a small business to succeed, it has to either solve a problem, fulfill a need, or provide something the market wants. To identify whether your idea meets one of these three criteria, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who needs my product/service?
- Are there other companies offering this product/service?
- What sets my product/service apart from my competitors?
- Where will my business fit into the market?
2. Create a Plan
A business plan is a guide for your business. It will lay out the steps to get your business started, see it established, and then see it grow. This plan is critical for all new businesses.
There are different types of business plans. If you need financial support from an investor or an institution, you’ll need a traditional business plan. A traditional business plan is usually long and thorough. By contrast, if you don’t need financial support, a simple one-page business plan will suffice. A simple business plan is meant for your eyes only, and it helps clarify what your goals are and your plans for achieving those goals.
3. Organize your Finances
Your small business will require some money to get it going. You’ll also need enough funds to cover ongoing expenses until you turn a profit. The best way to organize your finances is to use a spreadsheet. Using this spreadsheet, estimate the one-time startup costs. Startup costs can include licenses, permits, legal fees, equipment, branding, inventory, market research, etc. Then look at estimating what it will cost to keep your business running for at least a year. This can include rent, utilities, supplies, employee salaries, marketing, etc. These numbers will represent the initial investment you require.
4. Decide on a Business Structure
You have several business structure options as a small business. You can have a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation. The entity you choose will affect everything from your business name to your liability and how you file your taxes. If you’re not sure what structure to pick, consult with an attorney or CPA. Salesforce provides information about field service management which is very important in a business.
5. Select and Register a Name for Your Business
The name of your business plays a crucial role in almost every aspect of your business. For this reason, it’s essential to pick a good one. Once you decide on a name for your business, you need to verify whether or not it’s trademarked or currently in use. If it’s not being used by anyone else, then you need to register it. At the same time, you should buy a domain using your business name. This will ensure that your business name is available as a domain when you’re ready to build a website.
6. Set Up a Website for Your Business
Whether or not you plan on having an online business, you’re going to want to create a small business website. A business website is essential for getting the word out there about your company. The first place most people go when they want to find something is the internet, so make sure to create an easily searchable, informative site that will encourage visitors to purchase your product or service.
7. Select an Accounting System
Systems are what allow a small business to run smoothly. An accounting system is perhaps one of the most critical systems. This system is essential for creating and managing your budget, setting rates and prices, conducting business with others, and filing your taxes. If you want to keep your startup costs low, consider setting up an accounting system yourself. On the other hand, if you’re not good with numbers, you should hire an accountant.
8. Create a Place of Business
Your business location is where you operate your business from. It can be a home office, a shared workspace, or a retail location. Regardless of what type of space you’re working from, you’ll need to consider the overall setup to ensure that it works for your business needs. You should also consider whether to buy or lease your space and what kind of equipment you’ll need to furnish it with.