Making the decision to follow a long-nurtured dream of working for yourself is a thrilling milestone in your life. However, if you have no prior entrepreneurial experience, then you may find yourself wondering how to go about turning it into reality. After all, starting a business isn’t as easy as opening a bank account and dreaming up a company name.
The good news is that it needn’t be an intimidating process, with the right planning and preparation (not to mention a hearty dollop of passion).
To help you get you firmly on the road toward successfully launching and managing your very own enterprise, here are some top tips that will cover every aspect of opening a business and making your dream come true.
Find Your Niche
If you know exactly what kind of business you want to set up, then you’re already ahead of the loop. On the other hand, if you’re still trying to finalize your plans, then the best advice you can follow is to find something that you are genuinely passionate about and center your business around that.
For instance, if you’re passionate about baking, then you could think about setting up your own novelty cupcake store. Or, if you have a deep-seated passion for the outdoors, then you may relish the idea of setting up a business that sells specialist clothing and equipment for hikers and other outdoorsy folk.
Planning Is Everything
To give your proposed business the best chance of success, it’s important to make detailed plans that can serve as a roadmap for your venture, giving you a clear path to follow. Preparing a methodical and detailed business plan also offers essential information for potential investors if you’re keen to find extra funding.
Not sure what to include in your business plan? Some of the info that should definitely be featured includes all of the market research you have done, which identifies the demand for the products or services you’re planning to offer, not to mention providing vital data on your target demographic.
Your business plan should also include financial forecasts, any information on the different funding options you’re exploring – such as a bank loan or angel investment – and any details on the methods you aim to use to market your business once it’s launched.
Registering Your Brand-New Business
Once you’ve finalized your plans, it’s time to start setting up your business in preparation for the big opening!
There are a number of steps you need to follow to legally open a business, starting with choosing what kind of business structure you are going to have. For example, would you like to set up a sole proprietorship, or will you be running your business as a partnership with someone else? Perhaps you’d like to make your business an LLC, or perhaps a C-Corp may be the best structure for you to choose.
There are pros and cons to each type of business structure, not to mention different rules and regulations governing each one, so it’s important to think carefully before deciding.
Next, you will need to choose your business’s location – even if it’s technically an online store with no physical base – and start the registration process. Not only will you have to choose and register a name, but you will also need to register your enterprise with the IRS and with any relevant local or state agency.
Finally, you’ll need to make sure that you apply for all of the required permits or licenses needed for your particular kind of business. Once this is done, you’re all set up and ready to launch your business to the big wide world!
Opening A Business Bank Account
Now that your enterprise is officially registered, you will need to set up a dedicated bank account so you can start making orders and taking payments from customers. When it comes to choosing a banking provider, don’t be afraid to take your time and explore different options, as you need to make sure you have chosen the best possible bank for your needs. Do some research and, if possible, ask other small businesses which provider they bank with and what the pros and cons of that particular bank may be. This will give you a clear picture of the benefits – or lack thereof – of each provider, so you can then make an informed decision.
You should also consider the merits of the different business accounts available, as some may be better than others. You don’t want to rack up any unnecessary fees or miss out on potential perks, such as free software or perhaps even complimentary insurance.
Embrace The Opportunities That Come With Outsourcing
In the very early days of your business, you may not be able to hire anyone else to help you out with the various responsibilities involved in its daily management. The great news is there are options available. Outsourcing certain roles to a third party can bring you a number of benefits, not least relieving some of the workload from your shoulders.
Need a good example? You can sign up for a phone answering service such as Signpost to gain access to live receptionists who can field your business calls and help you to turn those callers into paying customers. Having 24-hour receptionists on hand to represent your new business means you can get on with other essential tasks, and you don’t have to be tied to your phone every minute of the day.
The exceptional standard of service provided by Signpost receptionists will also make a fantastic impression on your new client base.
Find A Good Accountant
Dealing with your accounts and business taxes can be a major headache, especially if you’re new to the role of entrepreneur and have never worked for yourself before. As a result, it’s in your best interests to find a reputable and experienced accountant who can remove all of that tax-related stress and ensure that your business accounts are in good order right from the start.
You will, of course, have to invest some money in their services – but you’ll probably be very glad that you did if it comes time to face an IRS audit in the future.
As you can see, while there is quite a lot of work and planning involved in launching your own business, if you take it one step at a time, it’s perfectly achievable and shouldn’t prove too daunting. The important thing is to find a line of business that you’re truly passionate about, as this will make everything easier and more enjoyable – and it will give you something positive to focus on each day for many years to come.
Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay