Starting your dream business is enthralling. It can also be overwhelming, especially if you’re planning to ditch your day job and go all in. We’re here to tell you that it is possible to start the business of your dreams, and here are 5 steps to set you up for success:
Step One: Research and Identify Your Target Audience
You’ve decided to go into business, and now it’s time to shape it into reality. You’ll need to clearly identify the problem your business solves, your target audience, and why they would want your help in solving their problem.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Is there a need for my product or service?
- If so, who specifically needs it?
- Are there similar products or services already offered?
- If so, who is your competition?
- How can your business solve this problem differently in your industry?
Step Two: Plan the Details of Your Business
You’ve mapped out what type of business you’re in and who you’re serving, now it’s time to solidify the details. You’ll need to decide your business structure, i.e. sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation. Consult with your CPA and/or lawyer on the best choice to avoid any hiccups come tax time.
Then you need to decide on your business name and get it registered. Check the federally registered databases to make sure your name doesn’t have a trademark and is available to use. Then check the U.S. Small Business Administration for information about what business licenses (if any) are required. (https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/apply-licenses-permits)
Businesses that are regulated by federal agencies must obtain permits or licenses. Licensing on the state level varies depending on the type of business. Be sure to check your local city or municipalities as there could also be licensing, permitting, and zoning ordinances required.
Step Three: Decide How You’ll Manage Daily Operations
Accounting will be a big part of your business. You’ll need to decide how you’ll manage it. Some small businesses opt to do their bookkeeping in house, or you can outsource it to an accounting firm. Either way, you’ll need to establish a system for tracking and managing expenses. (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/small-business-accounting-software)
You will also need to open a business checking account. Look for a bank that offers promotions or free checking accounts to small businesses. A community bank like NexTier Bank offers a free business checking with no minimum balance requirements, unlimited check writing and teller transactions, free debit cards, ATM withdrawals, online banking with bill pay, mobile banking, and telephone banking.
Step Four: Make a Plan
For many small business owners, writing the business and marketing plans are cumbersome. They feel daunting and a lot less fun than managing operations.
A business plan is your blueprint for success. It acts as a bird’s eye view of your business, helping map growth strategies and scaling your business. It will also help you plan your financials, analyzing capital versus expenses and the numbers you need to remain profitable. If future investors (i.e. a small business loan) are required, then a business plan is absolutely necessary. (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281416)
Often times, small businesses forget to write a marketing plan. A business is only successful with a pipeline of clients and customers ready to buy. Marketing helps you achieve this. If you aren’t sure how to write a marketing plan, take a marketing class at your local community college (or online), watch a YouTube video, or hire a marketing agency to help you flush it out.
Step Five: Train Your Team
If your business requires employees to open, now is the time to start hiring and training. You’ll want to get your team situated before the first day you officially open. This helps to work out any kinks in the process.
If your business does not require employees or you are a solopreneur, go ahead and do some test sales before client facing work.
Now go get to work! You’ve got a business to run.
NexTier Bank is a total community bank. It has always been (and always will be) dedicated to building high-quality financial services to our customers, creating meaningful opportunities for our employees, participating in our communities, and achieving superior financial returns for our shareholders.
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