5 Important Tips When Starting a Small Business
So you’re the next Bill Gates, right? You were sitting on your couch one night, caught in an endless marathon of Breaking Bad, when suddenly you realized something. You had an idea. A really good one, actually. You scramble for your phone, opening your notes app, and furiously type everything you were just thinking. Ah, technology.
Congratulations, my friend. You’re on your way to starting your own business. So now what?
It’s 2016 and start ups have become as popular as that girl in high school that all the guys dreamed of…taking to prom. The American dream has become more accessible than ever as technology has increased opportunities and skyrocketed entrepreneurship. Now is the time to open up that notebook and put on those thinking socks.
You’re about to be a small business owner so here is a quick checklist of some things you need to know and do before going to a sales pitch or printing those business cards. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll drive that Lamborghini.
1. Business Plan
The first step towards your golden road is coming up with a business plan. This is going to be the meat of your start up. Moving forward, this will be your right hand man at every meeting. People will want to know your goals and projections. Take your time on this and really develop a concrete analysis of the road ahead.
If you don’t know where to start with this you don’t have to worry since there are a million examples on the internet such as this one.
Try to come up with an estimate of how much it’s going to cost to start, manage, and grow your business. You will incur one-time costs such as fees for incorporating and you’ll also have ongoing costs like utilities, inventory, etc. Within your expenses there will be fixed and variable.
Fixed will include rent, utilities, administrative costs while variable will account for inventory, shipping, commissions, and other costs associated with the direct sale of your product or service. So determine how much money you can personally set aside moving forward. Do you need investors? If so, this is where that business plan will be key. They will want to know when they can expect to see profit and what your long term goals are.
3. Registration and Permits
Registration is what’s going to make your company real. To register you’ll just need to choose your business name, register it, and then register it with your state agency. Some states will also require local registration so be sure to check your state requirements of operating a business.
After registering your business, make sure you have all the proper permits in order to operate. There are both federal and state permits you’ll need to have depending on the nature of your business. Federal permits are required for things such as businesses that sell alcohol or firearms and can range to agriculture and transportation.
It’s the 21st century. Americans live most of their lives online. Once you have figured out the core base of your business, go ahead and secure that domain name. There are plenty of sites to use such as Go Daddy that will allow you to search for the website domain of your choice and purchase it. Costs can range, but they typically start around $9.99.
The next step is to develop your site. Will people be purchasing goods via an online store? If so, use websites like Shopify to help build in a digital shopping cart. Make sure your layout is clear and attractive. People will be more likely to spend time on your page if it’s easy to navigate and appealing to the eyes.
If you’re the only person on your payroll and are running an online business then by all means work from home. However, if you’re employing a number of people and/or have physical goods you’d like to sell traditionally, consider renting a space for retail or an office to conduct your business. Pack up your stuff, rent a trailer from somewhere like ULoad, and make your new pad home.
A fun and engaging atmosphere will increase the productivity of your employees and allow you to seamlessly grow your business. With a fun and friendly workplace, you’ll have better employee retention and productivity. Don’t be afraid to get a dart board for the office, but maybe start off with the plastic tips until you fully trust them.
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