An entrepreneur doesn’t just launch a business, but he or she becomes the business. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and one must be willing to dedicate a lot of time and energy to the process. The life of a business owner can really be a rollercoaster.
If you’re new to the business world and are thinking about launching a startup, there are some crucial steps you need to take to cover all the bases and be well-prepared before opening your doors. Let’s see what you need to know before you start your first (as well as your second or third) business.
1. Have a business plan
Don’t listen to those who tell you that you don’t need a business plan. You’re a newbie and much is still unknown to you. In order to resolve all the unknowns, you need to try to answer all the questions that will come to you while making a business plan. Browse the Internet to find a business plan template that suits you best. Take your time to write your business plan, marketing strategy, and forecasts, because it’s an effective way to hone your business vision. Also, include an exit strategy right there at the beginning. Do you want to sell your business or have your children take over the company? The building blocks of your business should vary depending on the preferred final outcome, so it’s crucial to answer these questions from the start.
2. Choose the legal structure
The most common structure is an LLC (limited liability company) due to its flexibility, but also the protection from personal liability it provides to its owners. Your company’s business structure will dictate the liability of the owner, paperwork, taxes, and other legal issues. Contact your local authorities to find out what you need to register a company, because the process varies by industry and state.
3. Map out your finances
If you want to start a business, then you’ll need to seek capital (in case you don’t have your own). Most people start a business with a limited amount of capital, since there are many options for acquiring more. You can get it from family and friends, venture capitalists, angel investors, banks, business associations, and crowdfunding platforms. Also, make sure your credit score is as high as possible when starting a business, because once you launch it, it won’t be. Figure out your tax payments and make sure to pay them in a timely fashion.
4. Invest in a quality website
Your company’s website is its showroom in the digital world. It’s important to invest in it, because it’s what will make the first impression on your potential clients. A quality website can be created on a budget – just tap your contacts, and ask around for someone who builds good websites (if you don’t know anyone yourself), or outsource for the service. We suggest you hire a professional if you want your website to look top-notch.
5. Don’t hire friends
Being able to form bonds and make friends quickly is a positive trait. However, when running a business, hiring friends can create some difficult situations. It may happen that you’ll be reluctant to let someone go, because you are friends, even though you know they’re not a good fit. Otherwise, you should learn to put feelings aside when you realize that things aren’t working out, and trust that they’ll be a better fit elsewhere.
Find people who are doing similar things to what you want to do, and meet, discuss, and collaborate with them. Consulting others who have experience with working in your industry is the best thing to when you don’t know where to begin. Visit industry gatherings, lectures, and fairs, as well as virtual communities, forums, and groups on social networks. Find and read everything you can online, and you’ll be surprised to find out how open others are with sharing their insight and knowledge. Put yourself out there, and others will unselfishly help lift you up.
No one can guarantee the outcome of any new business venture. The fear of failure is the greatest barrier to success, and it’s easy to panic or get stressed when the road gets bumpy. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to fail as fear can prevent you from following your dreams. Look at it this way: the sooner you fail, the sooner you’ll learn what does and what doesn’t work. By taking these important steps, you can prepare yourself and stack the odds in your favor. Open your business, gather insight from other entrepreneurs, and gain knowledge from everything you try.