Starting your own business is a daunting but exciting prospect. Doing so requires a lot of work. From WallRule, here are three critical elements to work on getting right when starting your one business.
Planning for Success
A detailed business plan is key for a successful startup. This is a document that details the product, management organization, marketing strategy, and financial projection. Make sure to describe the business structure. Determine if your business will be a partnership, corporation, sole proprietorship, or limited liability company.
There are pros and cons to each. For example, an LLC may require more initial paperwork than a sole proprietorship, but it protects your personal assets from legal action taken against the business. Laws regarding LLC formation vary by state, so check the requirements in your area. If you do not want to do the paperwork yourself, you can use a formation service for less than a law firm. There are many to choose from, so do your research on the best LLC service available. You want to find the best value for your money.
During the planning phase, conduct market research to ensure you have a viable idea. Research demographics in your business area and search for information about businesses similar to yours. Use surveys to determine how much, if anything, individuals in your area are willing to pay for your product or service. This is also a good time to determine which media will be most effective for advertising purposes. Ask about social media usage and local television and radio consumption.
Calculate startup costs to determine how much funding you will need. Startup expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Office space
- Office furniture
When you have the startup costs calculated and your financial projection completed, determine if you need a loan. If so, your business plan will play a crucial role in securing funding.
Businesses fail without customers, so a strong marketing plan is necessary for success. Use the market research you conducted during the planning phase to craft a marketing strategy. Determine if your target market is on social media. If so, figure out which platforms they use most frequently. If your market is not on social media, use local radio and television stations to build awareness. If your business has a physical location, draw attention to it using customized signage.
Developing a brand identity can be tricky. A logo is helpful in doing so. A single logo creates continuity across all visual media. If you aren’t artistically inclined, try an online logo generator or hire a freelance artist to help.
Data show that 38% of business failures are due to problems with cash flow, the money going out of and coming into your business. Choose your expenditures wisely. The old saying is true: it does take money to make money. However, there are steps you can take to minimize expenses and maximize income. When getting started, purchase second-hand furniture. Search for deals on things that you need to buy new. Do as much of the startup work yourself as possible. Revisit and adjust your financial projection frequently to make sure you are on track. Don’t delay invoicing customers. It is important that you receive payments in a timely manner.
Starting a business is hard work, and many ventures fail. By planning carefully, building brand awareness, and managing cash flow, you are setting your business up for long-term success.