Starting a business requires many skills– planning, research, sound decision-making, and self-confidence. It also entails understanding and dealing with legal, financing, and marketing aspects. So, understandably, the start-up process can seem overwhelming. However, starting your entrepreneurial endeavor can be quite rewarding and allows you to be your boss.
To help you out, we have compiled a list of six essential steps you need to consider to get your business off to a good start.
#1 Define your business idea and do market research
The business you plan to start depends on your expertise, interests, time commitment, and capital. These factors will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough and will significantly improve your odds of success.
Once you have your business idea, your next move is to see if it is worth pursuing. To do this, you should research the market and analyze your competition. Your business idea needs to have a clear point of difference – a unique selling, value, or demand. This will help you better understand your target market and competitors before crafting an effective business plan.
#2 Find the right insurance broker
It is very important to have business insurance to protect your business and assets. However, you are probably clueless about what business insurance you need since you are just starting. For this reason, you should opt for an insurance broker who will act as an intermediary between you and an insurer.
For example, if you reside in Toronto, ALIGNED Insurance consists of a team of specialists focused on finding you the best possible insurance rates tailored to your business needs. Combining your background, insurance know-how, and industry specifics, the right insurance broker can find and advise you on a policy that best suits your needs.
#3 Write a business plan
Suppose you plan to take a bank loan or ask an angel investor or venture capitalist for funding. In that case, having a business plan is simply a must, as they will want to know that you have a good handle on your business’s trajectory.
A good business plan will help you focus on the specific steps necessary for you to make your business idea succeed. Moreover, it will also allow you to achieve your short-term and long-term objectives. You don’t need to write a 200-page document but a business plan should include aspects that explain your business idea, model, market research, financials, and marketing.
#4 Choose a business structure, get a federal tax ID, and open a business bank account
Another aspect you need to consider is the legal structure of your business, as it influences everything from your taxes and day-to-day operations to your liability. For example, you can choose sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, etc.
Getting an employer identification number is also necessary to file taxes, open bank accounts, and perform other essential tasks. Finally, you will also need to open a separate bank account just for your business as it helps keep your books straight, separated from your personal assets.
#5 Consider different financing possibilities for your business
Capital is necessary to start your own company, and many entrepreneurs do not have the cash to fund it. So, if you are one of them, you need to consider applying for grants, loans, and other sources of financing.
Determine your needs and where the money will come from. If you plan to approach investors or banks, perfect your business plan. You can also consider government-backed loans or popular crowdfunding sites. Another good idea is to ask your family and friends to contribute to start-up costs.
#6 Build a strong online presence
Usually, customers turn to the internet when looking for a company or a product which is why a robust online presence is essential for nearly all businesses nowadays. So, to start, you need to have a well-functioning and easily-navigating website. Find the best platform for showcasing what you have to offer.
In addition, depending on your target audience, you need to choose and be active by providing quality content on your social media platforms. This is a great way to build and maintain relationships with your potential customers and give your brand a voice that is “human” and relatable.
Starting your own business requires skills and courage. And even though it may seem like quite a challenging process, if you have always dreamed of quitting your day job and gaining independence, you should definitely go for it! Just make sure you use our six-step guide to help you start and make your daydream a reality.