Starting a business needs careful preparation, critical financial decisions, and the completion of several legal tasks. For more information on each step, scroll down.
Every day, we do tremendous, meaningful things, but in modest increments. We construct a life, a family, a job, a worldview, and a legacy in bite-sized chunks that are manageable in the present but have long-term consequences.
The perception that the challenge of starting a firm is too great is a major impediment that many entrepreneurs see in their path to financial independence. Nonetheless, the basic process of beginning a business can be as simple as starting your coffee maker in the morning or commuting to work.
Turn on the things, shift into gear, choose a starting position, and go.
That isn’t to imply it’s easy or that there isn’t any effort required. However, when starting a small firm, a sequence of stages becomes more manageable than a never-ending stairway.
These are the eight steps we recommend for starting your own small business, in the spirit of taking things one productive step at a time.
- Develop a strategic business plan.
Your company’s business strategy is its living framework. It lays out strategies for revenue, marketing, hiring, profits, competition, and competitive edge, creating a road to success. Your plan will also be used to explain your vision to possible investors, bank loan officials, and even new company managers and branding specialists.
- Incorporate your business.
The process of forming a business can be outsourced to specialists or handled piecemeal as you go. If you engage with a company that provides this type of service, you can also do many of the tasks listed here. Unless you intend to work as a sole proprietorship, which has distinct requirements and is often managed in the same way as freelancing employment, you should establish an LLC or limited liability corporation. On the Small Business Administration’s website, you can learn more about choosing a business structure.
- Get a tax ID number.
A small-business owner will almost always need to apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), the identifying number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to administer taxes. It is issued by either the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to IRS.gov, if you run a sole proprietorship or an LLC with no staff, you don’t need a tax ID number. If you intend to hire people, you’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which they can use to file their taxes. You can register for an EIN online if your company is located in the United States or one of its territories. You need a TIN before applying for a Social Security number.
- Get a business license.
Your business licensing requirements may vary depending on the type and size of business you wish to start, as well as the city, state, or county in which you do business. Depending on the state, sole proprietors, for example, don’t need to secure a business license (though individual licensing and permit requirements exist for some businesses and services). This is one of the types of services that a company formation firm may help you with or perhaps manage on your behalf.
- Develop a brand.
Branding entails more than just a simple, eye-catching logo and a set of colors used for things like business cards, packaging, and your website. These factors are critical — and frequently ignored — but the tone of the words in your marketing materials, as well as how your imagery, visuals, and products make customers or clients feel, are all part of your branding. Determine your company’s emotional resonance and utilize it to guide all of your branding decisions. Once you’ve decided on a style, stick with it. Messaging consistency is critical for brand awareness.
- Create a website.
In the year 2021, a stable business website is more than just due diligence for business owners. It’s essentially a vital aspect of the business creation process, and without one, it’s practically hard to perform successful business, much alone realize your growth and sales potentials. Contract with a respected full-service firm, hire a talented freelancer, or even construct a basic yet powerful landing-style homepage yourself; whatever it takes, have a web presence up and running by the time you’re ready to start.
- Open a business bank account.
Suppose you’re in the midst of business planning. In that case, this may seem like an unnecessary step, but picking a bank that goes above and above for small businesses is critical to your success. Look for specific checking accounts for small businesses that offer no or low monthly fees, small starting deposits, ATM accessibility in your neighborhood, interest-bearing accounts, and online or mobile banking options designed to help small businesses.
- Create and implement a digital marketing plan
Digital is the game’s name now; it’s not a passing trend or something fresh that everyone wants to try. Digital marketing, whether it’s partnering with an influencer or developing the perfect social voice, will play a critical role in how you spread the news about your company. Look for social media marketing managers that are adaptable and can keep up with the ever-changing social landscape. They should handle any other digital marketing needs you have and recommend new methods for expanding your customer base.
Owning a business is a lifelong endeavor, and small-business owners pour their hearts and souls into their enterprises daily. Taking the jump into entrepreneurship, on the other hand, does not have to be, well, a leap. The initial several months of your business are critical. Take the time to communicate with your customers and get their opinions. Request that satisfied customers submit online reviews. The information and responses you obtain should influence how you design your future strategies. You may discover that you need to increase your quality, shift your services, or rethink your target audience.