How To Start It Business – Starting a business can be a daunting task, but you can make it easier by breaking down the process of starting a new business. Instead of spinning your wheels and guessing where to start, follow this 10-step checklist to transform your business from an overhead light bulb to a real entity.
If you’re thinking about starting a business, you probably already have an idea of what you want to sell online, or at least the market you want to enter. Quickly search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Find out what current brand leaders are doing and how you can do it better. If you think your business can offer something other businesses don’t (or deliver the same thing, only faster and cheaper), you have a great idea and are ready to create a business plan.
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“In the words of Simon Sinek, ‘always start with why,'” Glen Gutek, CEO of Awake Consulting and Coaching, told Business News Daily. “It’s good to know why you start your business. In this process, you may want to distinguish [whether] the company is serving a personal why or a marketplace why. If your business is focused on meeting a market need, your business will always have a broader scope than a business designed to meet personal needs.
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Another option is to open a franchise of an established company. The concept, brand and business model are already in place; you just need a good location and funds to finance the operation.
Whichever option you choose, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind your idea. Stephanie Desaulniers, owner of Business by Dezign and former director of operations and women’s business programs at the Covation Center, cautions entrepreneurs against writing a business plan or coming up with a company name before determining the value of the idea.
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Too often, Desaulniers said, people start their businesses without taking the time to think about who their customers will be and why those customers want to buy from them or hire them.
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“You need to explain why you want to work with these customers – do you have a passion for making people’s lives easier?” Desaulniers said. “Or enjoy creating art to bring color to their world? Determining these answers helps clarify your mission. Third, you’ll define how you’re going to deliver that value to your customers and how you’re going to communicate that value in a way that they are “willing to pay for.”
During the idea phase, you need to iron out the key details. If the idea isn’t something you’re passionate about, or if there isn’t a market for your creation, it might be time to come up with other ideas.
Once the idea is in place, you need to ask yourself some important questions: What is your business goal? Who do you sell to? What are your ultimate goals? How will you finance your startup costs? These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan.
New business owners can make many mistakes by rushing into things without thinking about these aspects of the business. You need to find your target customer base. Who will buy your product or service? What’s the point if you can’t find proof that your idea has a demand?
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Thorough market research of your field and potential customer demographics is an important part of developing a business plan. This includes conducting surveys, conducting focus groups and examining SEO and public data.
Market research helps you understand your target customers – their needs, wants and behaviors – as well as your industry and competitors. Many small businesses recommend gathering demographic information and conducting a competitive analysis to better understand the opportunities and limitations in your market.
The best small businesses have differentiated products or services from their competitors. This has a significant impact on your competitive landscape and allows you to provide unique value to your potential customers.
When creating a business plan, it is also a good idea to consider an exit strategy. Generating an idea of how you will ultimately complete the business forces you to look ahead.
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“Too often, new entrepreneurs are so excited about their business and so confident that everyone everywhere will be a customer that they spend very little time, if any, presenting an exit plan,” said Josh Tolley, CEO of both Shyft Capital. and Kavanagh.
“When you get on the plane, what’s the first thing they show you? How to get rid of it. When you go to a movie, what do they point to before the feature starts playing? Where are the exits? In the first week at kindergarten, they line up all the children and teach them a fire drill to get out of the building. Too many times I have witnessed business leaders who do not have three or four predetermined exit routes. This has led to lower business value and even destroyed family relationships.
A business plan helps you figure out where your business is going, how it will overcome potential challenges, and what you need to sustain it. When you’re ready to put pen to paper, use a free template.
Starting a business comes with a price, so you need to figure out how to cover those costs. Do you have funds to finance your start-up or do you need to borrow money? If you plan to quit your current job to focus on your business, do you have the savings to sustain yourself until you break even? Find out how much your startup costs will be.
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Many startups fail because they run out of money before they make money. It’s never a bad idea to overestimate the amount of start-up capital you’ll need, as it can take time for a business to generate sustainable revenue.
One way to find out how much money you need is to do a balance sheet analysis. This essential element of financial planning helps business owners determine when their business, product or service will be profitable.
Every entrepreneur should use this formula as a tool because it tells you the minimum performance your business needs to achieve to avoid losing money. Plus, it helps you understand exactly where your profits are coming from, so you can set your production goals accordingly.
Don’t spend too much when starting a business. Understand the types of purchases that make sense for your business and avoid overspending on advanced equipment that doesn’t help you achieve your business goals. Track your company’s expenses to make sure you’re on track.
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“A lot of startups tend to spend money on unnecessary things,” said Jean Paldan, founder and CEO of Rare Form New Media. “We worked with a startup with two employees, but spent a huge amount on office space that could fit 20 people. They also rented a professional high-end printer more suitable for a team of 100; it contained key cards to keep track of who pressed what and when. Spend as little as possible when starting out, and only spend on things that are essential to the growth and success of your business. Luxury can come when you’re established.”
Advice. Using accounting software can simplify expense tracking. Read our reviews of the best accounting software to learn more and find the right platform for your needs. Try our Intuit QuickBooks Online review to get started—this provider is our favorite for small businesses.
Start-up capital for your business can come from a number of sources. The best way to get financing for your business depends on a number of factors, including your creditworthiness, the amount you need and the options available.
You can learn more about each of these capital sources and more in our guide to startup funding options.
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Size matters when choosing a business bank. Marcus Anwar, co-founder of OhMy Canada, recommends smaller community banks because they are local and will work with you based on your overall business profile and nature.
“They are different from the big banks, who look at credit scores and will be more selective when it comes to lending money to small businesses,” Anwar said. “Not only that, but small banks want to build a personal relationship with you and ultimately help you if you run into problems and miss a payment. Another good thing about smaller banks is that decisions are made at the branch level, which can go much faster than in large banks where decisions are made at a higher level.
Ultimately, the right bank for your business depends on your needs. Writing down your banking needs can help you focus on what you should be looking for. Schedule meetings with different banks and ask questions about how they work with small businesses to find the best bank for your business. [Read Related Article: Company Bank Account Checklist: Required Documents]
Key takeaway: Financially, you must do a cost-effectiveness analysis, assess expenses and financing options and choose the right bank.
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