Here’s how to launch your firm from first ideas to your first dollar. Here are all the steps to starting a business. Follow this step-by-step guide to your entrepreneurial success, that is written by successful entrepreneurs based on their real-life business experience. Read on and find out how to be an entrepreneur.
Every entrepreneur’s journey is paved with hard work, thrills, chills, and more than a few spills! Navigate your business startup with actual business experts as your guides.
Ready – Set – Launch!
How to Start Your Own Business – Step by Step
Get a Good Idea for a Business
Use our Business Idea Generator
All great businesses start with good ideas. Get lots of new business ideas by using this quiz to generate profitable small business ideas. The questionnaire will ask you questions about your personality, interests, financial resources, experience and preferences, then it will generate multiple ideas for business startups perfectly tailored to your situation. After you create a long list of ideas, you can ask yourself these important questions to determine the right idea.
Research the Marketplace, Competition, and Locations
Market Research – Is your Startup Viable?
All successful businesses fulfill a need for their paying customers. Find out if your new business idea will solve problems that customers are willing to pay for. There are a few ways to do find out this data such as focus groups of target customers, prototype products and analyzing the marketplace. Ask yourself the following questions and answer honestly after studying your market
How to Learn if the Market Needs & Wants Your New Product or Service
- What problem, need or desire is being solved by your product?
- Who are the people, or companies, that have this problem?
- How are they answering this problem now, without your new startup?
- What are other companies answering this need selling – similar or dissimilar products?
- Where does your new firm fit into the marketplace?
- What is your point of difference, competitive edge, over established companies?
Pick the Best Location for your New Business
Choosing the location for your firm is one of the most critical decisions you need to make at the onset of your business formation. Getting the right location, for your type of establishment, makes an important decision for your firm’s success. Take your time and do your homework of research and planning, before committing to a lease on retail or office space. Study the demographics of the area and surrounding towns, your competition nearby and much more.
7 Questions to Determine if Location is Good for your Business
- Image – Does this spot project the brand image you desire?
- Competition – Are neighboring businesses competition or complementary?
- Labor – Will you be able to find employees easily, or is it too far to commute?
- Growth – Is there room for future expansions?
- Vendors – Are vendors able to deliver here efficiently and at a reasonable cost?
- Security– What is the crime rate?
- Zoning – Is this location zoned for your type of business activity?
Calculate Your Financial Projections
Write your Business Plan the Right Way
No doubt you’ve heard the old saying of Winston Churchills’s, “if you don’t plan – you are planning to fail”. Nowhere is this truer than when starting a business. You, like most entrepreneurs, are excited and want to start right away without taking any time for business planning – which is a major mistake. Spare yourself the substantial loss of money, time and much heartache by taking the time to write a business plan. The importance of writing the plan is not the finished plan it is the discoveries you make and fix in your business model during the process of plan preparation. During the process of writing your business plan, you will uncover aspects of your business strategy that will not work. Better that you discover these weaknesses on paper and then adjust your business model to repair these issues than in the field costing time and money. Many first-time entrepreneurs think that the business plan is some sort of huge financial novel is given to the bank in the application for a business loan. While that is one type of business plan. The more important type of
Many first-time entrepreneurs think that the business plan is some sort of huge financial novel is given to the bank in the application for a business loan. While that is one type of business plan. The more important type of business plan is one that the entrepreneur writes for themselves. This plan documents the business summary, target markets, marketing strategies. Think of it as a map for your entrepreneurial journey. Nobody would set out on the long hike across unknown territory without a field guide and detailed map. However, these same people will dive into a new business and spend money, time and emotional energy without a map. Don’t be one of these people!
Financing Your Startups: Get Funded
Get Funded: Startup Business Loans
Now that you have a great business idea, you need money to get started in the venture. While there are some businesses that you can start with almost no money. Most require some form of startup business loan or capital investment. In the step above you created your working business plan that forecasted both your sales and expenses plus working capital. Now you have data and the exact amount of money, in business loans or personal investment, that you need to get started. Surely you have heard of many businesses they got started using your credit cards as a primary form of financing. While this can be done, we recommend that you read this article and heed our warnings about financing your business startup on your credit cards. If after reviewing your personal capital, loans from family and friends and find that you need more money, finance your small business start up, then consider one of these online lenders such as our top recommendation for small business startup loans – Kabbage.com. Read our review of Kabbage loans with customer reviews and experience Also, there is the option of crowdfunding and which can generate sales and cash to launch your venture.
Legal Issues of Startups
Legal business Structures
Your business is considered an entity or an organization in the eyes of the law and government, this means that you need to have a structure such as Corporation for LLC, limited liability company in which you run your business. You will want to determine the best legal structure for your new startup business such as sole proprietorship, partnerships, corporations, or trusts. Some businesses should incorporate, most notably those seeking venture capital and manufacturers, and some should not such as small one-person companies, often referred to as solopreneurs and those with low capital do not deal in products or services that could be dangerous to your customers. https://best4businesses.com/legal/best-legal-structure-startups/
Protect Intellectual Property Assets
If your new businesses that developed new processes or created new products will want to protect your intellectual property with patents, trademarks, and copyrights issued by the US patent and trademark office. It is also a good idea. Protect your business brand name with a trademark application
Insurance & Regulations: Federal IRS, State, and City
Legally, you are required to have certain federal and state licenses and permits depending upon the type of business you are founding. All businesses will be registered with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) in America when they file their business structure type, either DBA (sole proprietorship), incorporation or LLC for their tax status and filing purposes. Beyond that governmental requirement, you may need additional licenses as listed below.
Federal licenses are required for those businesses that sell alcohol, dealing firearms or require federal permits listed here on the SBA website also those firms in agriculture, aviation, fish and wildlife, mining, maritime, nuclear energy, television, and radio broadcasting, and transportation. Get more info here about licenses and permits needed to open your business.
Some US states will require small businesses to have additional licenses or permits beyond the federal permits. Find out your state’s particular licensing requirements by contacting your local Business License Office
Find out about how to obtain the correct license and permits for your new business, including tax permits and home-based businesses.
How to Name Your Business so Customers Remember Your Brand
It is hard to think up a catchy name for your new company. Best tips for coming up with company names are:
Two-Part Process for Coming Up with Great Company Names
Part 1 – Make a List of Keywords
The words and phrases that your prospective customers type into internet search engines to find companies like yours. Add other towns, states, and countries to your search to find similar firms, outside of your marketing area for inspiration. Don’t use another firm’s exact name, just use those names to brainstorm your own unique brand name.
- Use market level words such as industry names (ie catering, plumbing) and see what comes up
- Try your competitive advantage term (ie faster, cheaper, cooler) to find interesting concepts
- Your value proposition, innovation, or special feature is a good source to build memorable names (example – Evernote – Remember Everything)
- Outside of Your Industry – Step back and look for an interesting combination of words from outside the industry.
Part 2 – Play with Words for a Great Business Name
Take that list of words and concepts from Part 1 above and mix and match and play until you find that perfect new startup name.
Name Your Business! FREE Corporate Name Search at CorpNet® – Get Started!
- Try Wordoid to generate fictitious word combinations.
- Domainr is a webmaster tool to find domain names, but it also makes good abbreviated company brand names
Advertising – Print Media and Online
Today’s entrepreneurs need to learn effective advertising strategies for both online and off-line media channels.
Online Advertising Advice and Tips
Google Adwords and Pay per Click – PPC
Unless you want to waste tons of money – Don’t start using Google Adwords until you have learned both how to set up campaigns properly and best practices.
I caution all of my business consulting clients that the first click in all Google ad campaigns should be to purchase a recommended course.
Google has done an excellent job of making it easy to set up ads – BUT that does NOT mean that your ads are:
a) set up properly for maximum results
b) lowest cost per click
c) best keywords matched to ads
d) budget limited
Many beginner business owners DIY their Google Adwords campaign and have sad tales of lost money and wasted time. For beginners, I highly recommend this gold star rated course from Udemy – Google Adwords for Beginners.
Learn how to use the Adwords from Google effectively, and affordably, to sell your products and services online.
- Adwords Fundamentals
- Budget Management
- Bidding process and strategy
- How to research keywords using the Google Planner
- Targeting your Campaigns by demographic and geographic factors
- Writing ads that succeed in getting new customers and making sales
- Research your competitor’s ad campaigns
- Optimize your advertising dollars
For entrepreneurs who have mastered the basics of Google Adwords, I recommend the 5 star rated – Ultimate Google Adwords Course 2017 – Win with Pay per Click Advertising. Many of my clients have raved about this course and told me how their sales increased.
Learn how to:
- Get constant highly-qualified traffic – of ready to buy customers – to your website or blog
- Build optimized and consistently profitable Adwords campaigns for your launch products
- Measure your conversion rates to accurately determine the value of your ads
- Remarket to your site visitors to sell them again and again
Harness the power of social media and custom target customer groups by advertising on Facebook with this essential guide to Facebook Advertising. Learn how to set up effective ad campaigns with a visual step by step guide. Learn how to reach the millions of customers on Facebook every day. Avoid easy-to-make and costly mistakes in your ad campaigns. Bonus learn how to create great Facebook Business Pages, Groups, Place and Social Plugins! This low-cost how to guide includes:
- How to build and run highly targeted Facebook advertising campaigns
- Designs compelling Facebook Ads
- Advertise Your Facebook Pages
- How Sponsored Stories Work to Build Sales
- Get Facebook Badge
- Use the News Feed for your ads on mobile devices and cell phones
- Create Facebook Offers to Sell Your Products
Newspaper Advertising – Print Ads
Print media is not dead! In fact for many types of businesses, especially local firms, it could be the best and least expensive advertising method. Before you start writing and buying your ads get the secrets, from expert ad men, of how to write an ad that attracts paying customers. DO NOT let the “free” graphic artist at the paper design your ad. They are not professional salespeople and will not make you the best ad possible. Instead spend a very small amount of money, under $30 to learn- How to Create Great Newspaper Ads that will Pull All the Customers You Will Ever Need
This book contains newspaper industry insider info on how to:
- Triple the results of your ads and crush your competition!
- Learn the formula to create winning ads every time
- 6 ways to tell if your ad is a dude and how to fix it
- Attract the attention of your most likely to buy customers
- 16 tips to create powerful openings that grab the readers
- Time proven words and phrases that turn your ads into money machines
- How to Create a Dynamic Yellow Pages Ad with Real Pulling Power
- Great Headlines Instantly – How to Write Powerful Attention-Grabbing Headlines
- 39 pages of Sample Headlines Examples You Can Use in Your Ads
Sales Process and Getting Paid
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Management of Employees, Teams and Yourself – the Entrepreneur
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