Starting a Small Business

(Credit: Tim Mossholder / Pexels)

As you are working on your degree, you might get your associate’s degree and feel it is enough to satisfy your goals. Conversely, you might continue your college education at a four-year university. 

Some of you may be looking to start your own business in the coming months.

This is a daring and admirable goal especially if you have pursued a degree to prepare yourself long term. An education will put you a cut above the rest and start you on the right track of beginning the process of starting your self-created career.

Do Your Research 

(Moyan Brenn / Wikimedia Commons)

There is no doubt you have had this idea for a while. Now it’s an ideal time to offset it with a little reality. Can your idea succeed? Does your current location have the market to support your idea?

Altogether, for an independent venture to be fruitful, it must satisfy a need or offer something the market needs. There are many ways you can find out what the need is, including research and experimentation. This is a good time to use a SWOT analysis. 

As you investigate the market, some questions you should answer include: 

  • Is there a profitable need?
  • Who needs it? (Who is your demographic?)
  • Who might be your competitors? 

Make a Plan 

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You need an agenda to make your business dream a reality. A strategy is an outline that will control your business from the start-up stage through the foundation and inevitably business development, and it is an indisputable step to have for every new business.

This is where that business plan comes into play. In the event that you need to look for financial resources from a bank, this step is critical as no one will loan you money without a clear and specific plan. 

If the business plan is strictly for you it may not have to be so in-depth, but it is always good to have one to gauge personal goals and growth.

Financing

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Beginning on an independent venture doesn’t need to require a great deal of cash depending on what you want your business to be. That being said, putting aside money to cover daily living expenses like rent and food until you are turning a profit is critical to your success.

Set up a spreadsheet that gauges the one-time startup costs for your business, continuous bills for the business-like marketing and rent as well as the income you need to sustain a living. This number is what you will work back from when figuring out what all you will have to earn to be successful.

This may seem like a lot of work but it is part of a monthly and weekly, if not daily procedure that will become a part of your daily business as an owner.

Your Business Structure 

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You have a few options when it comes to business ownership including: sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. The type of structure you choose will impact your name, your liability (in case of a problem) and how you do your taxes.

This is a good point to discuss with a small business legal professional on what will work better for you. You might choose a starting business model, and then reconsider and change your structure as your business grows.

Pick Your Business Name 

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Your business name is a big part of your business. Ensure you thoroughly consider all the potential ramifications that may come with picking a certain business name over another.

If you choose to expand to provide other goods and services will the name still fit? When you have picked a name for your business, you should check if it’s trademarked or being used. At that point, you should register it.

A sole owner must enlist their business name with either their state or region assistant. Organizations, LLCs or constrained associations commonly register their business name when the development administrative work is sent in. 

Also, remember to check on available web domains as all businesses need a website these days. 

Get Legal 

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Desk work, while not always fun, is part of owning your own business. There are an assortment of independent company licenses, state laws and legal procedures that may apply to you depending on where you are located.

This is another area where having a legal professional on your side can help you navigate the waters, as each state and even city come with their own way of doing things. Do not skimp here. Some licenses and procedures may seem pointless but if you do not follow the book it may cost you a lot in the long run.

Accounting System 

(401(K) 2012 / Flickr)

Private ventures run most successfully when there are frameworks and systems set into place. Odds are you won’t have a massive team starting out. 

Bookkeeping is probably one of the most important systems for your business as it will show you whether or not you are turning a profit or act as evidence if any sticky situations arise. 

You can set up your bookkeeping framework yourself, using online systems or contract a bookkeeper to remove a portion of the work.

Location, Location, Location

(Chase Elliott Clark / Flickr)

Based on the research you did in the beginning, you should know whether your location can even host the idea you have and if not what area will. Does your business even need a physical location?

Your location is key. Setting up your place of business is significant for the activity of your business, regardless of whether you will have a home office, a common or private office space or a retail store. You should consider your area, gear and general setup, and ensure your business area works for the kind of business you will do. 

Do You Have a Team

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Many small businesses don’t have many employees if any at all. Right now is an ideal opportunity to begin the procedure of figuring out what contracted employees or freelance workers might entail. 

The Small Business Administration has a brilliant directory for hiring your first employee, that is useful for new small businesses.

Even if you don’t plan on hiring anyone, it is an important step to have a good support network, including friends and family as well as others in your network for advice, help or even just to vent as being a sole employee can be a lonely business.

Begin the Marketing 

(geralt / Pixabay)

When your business is ready for action, you have to begin drawing in customers and future clients. 

You’ll need to begin with the rudiments by composing unique selling propositions (USP). Social media is a free and very useful tool for the modern small business. For that, investigate local businesses and take a lesson from their marketing strategies.  

When you have finished these business start-up exercises, you will have most of the significant foundation of your business set into stone. Achievement doesn’t occur without any forethought but remember, you can always change and grow along the way.

James Novonty
Staff Writer

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