Being your own boss and determining your own work schedule is the dream life. That’s why starting a small business is the ideal scenario for many people. Whether you’re providing a much-needed service or crafting unique products to sell, who wouldn’t want to make a living off of doing what they love?
However, knowing how to start your own business can be difficult, as there are many important factors to consider including the how-tos with managing business taxes (check out H&R Block for more information) and legal hoops to jump through before you start earning a decent paycheck. To make starting your own business a bit easier, we’ve put together step-by-step directions so you can make the leap into the world of entrepreneurship!
10 Steps to Starting a Small Business
With starting any business, you will need lots of help. Finding the right candidates to fill your job roles can be daunting. With the help of LinkedIn Jobs, you can get started on your search and target your job listings to the most relevant job seekers to fit your needs. LinkedIn Jobs is one of the leading platforms for finding talent. Utilize all the features of LinkedIn Jobs to help you plan, hire, and develop a plan for finding the best candidates!
Start Growing Your Consumer Base
The most important thing that will help lead to a successful business is, of course, your consumer base. Without customers, a business is extremely unlikely to succeed. So, as soon as you begin to launch your small business, you’ll want to consider which funnels you can leverage to begin advertising and creating awareness for your business. This can be through word of mouth, social media engagement, local advertising, or growing an email marketing list with a platform such as Constant Contact.
Email marketing is one of the quickest ways to grow your base, and can help you stay engaged with your customers on a regular basis. While you’re building your list, you can let your subscribers know about current deals, new products, company news, and more.
Refine your Idea to Start your Small Business
Having a solid business idea is by far the most important thing to consider when starting a small business. If you’re just starting out, you probably have a general idea of what you want to do, but fleshing it out and defining the specifics is key to success. Make sure to take a look at industry trends, brand leaders, and any potential competitors in your area of expertise.
Write a Small Business Plan
Your next step when starting your own business is to draw up a professional business plan you can use for guidance. This formal document will outline every detail regarding your potential business, including goals, time frame, costs, and expenses. Business plans generally also include market research that backs up your reasoning for starting a business.
Determine Your Business Entity
After you feel confident about your business plan, you can start setting up your company. You will need to decide which entity you are setting up (sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability company, etc.) It’s important to research which legal structure is best for your business, as it will impact how you pay taxes and your financial and personal liability. If you’re unsure, you can also get legal business advice from Rocket Lawyer.
Depending on where your plan on conducting business, you might be required to register your company with the federal, state, or even city government. This will also give you an employee identification number (EIN), so you can legally run your business and file taxes with the IRS.
Think about Logos and Designs
Brand design is one of the most exciting parts when starting your own business. Not only will you get to choose a fun and catchy name, but you’ll also get to decide how you want your business to be branded. Certain companies like Logo Maker and Envato Placeit make it easy for even non-designers to create a memorable logo and design for their companies.
When thinking about your website, you don’t have to work from scratch! There are tons of website builders out there to easily get your website up and running. If you are setting up a website using WordPress, there are tons of different theme options and plugins to create your best page. Gravity Forms is a great form-building tool to create professional forms to complement and fit your website’s needs.
It might be hard to separate your business from your personal life, but it’s crucial if you want to protect your private assets. That means you should open up a business bank account that is reserved strictly for your sales and expenses. We recommend ordering any business checks from 4Checks.
After starting a small business, your main goal should be to raise brand awareness! It’s a good idea to create an online website that people can visit for more information. You can try creating your site from Weebly. You might also consider starting an email list where you can easily connect and reach your clients or potential customers. Constant Contact can help you promote your business via email.
If your specific business idea requires a large amount of in-person meetings or face-to-face networking, make sure you have the right attire to look professional. Our favorite place to get business casual and business professional outfits is Men’s Wearhouse, simply because of the quality, price point, and great customer service. Check them out here.
Pay Attention to Social Media
One of the fastest ways to make your business a household name is through social media interaction with your customers. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to communicate with your followers while also raising brand awareness.
If you’re planning on running social media campaigns, you can easily create pages and templates using an online tool like Canva. You also want to make sure you are building a brand reputation since nowadays, people rely on word of mouth and good reviews.
With so many businesses out there, Podium makes it easy to grow your company’s reputation and trust and allows you to engage with customers by providing access to your company through text and messaging.
To ensure your business is set up for success, you’re going to need a phone system. Nextiva is a good option if you need a VoIP phone service, offering CRM, live chat, and survey features. This allows real-time support to your customers and unified communication.
Consider Different Funding Options
Although you may have taken out a loan to start your own business, it’s also important to think about other methods of funding. Not all businesses turn a profit in their first few months (or even years). Accepting business grants, investor options, or crowdfunding money could be a viable way to support your business while you get on your feet.
Fast Capital 360 is a safe, quick and free way to find the lowest rates on small business loans. Let us help you find the best loan.
Celebrate all the Successes!
As with most small businesses, it might take a while before you see your hard work pay off. But when you do see that first sale or order, make sure to celebrate and give yourself a pat on the back! The feeling of providing a product or service that people enjoy will be worth all the pain and effort!
Knowing how to start a business can be overwhelming – but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences for aspiring entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for more small business resources, take a look at this list of best E-Commerce platforms for startups or pick up one of the best business books all entrepreneurs should read.
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