A business idea doesn’t become a business without effort. You may understand the work necessary in creating a business, but you may not be familiar with the many steps it takes to launch a small business venture.
Instead of spinning your wheels and guessing at where you should start, follow the steps we’ve outlined below to transform your small business from an idea in your head to an actual entity.
- Define your Unique Selling Point (USP)
You have an idea for a small business, but what sets your business apart from other similar companies out there? Your Unique Selling Point (USP) is the reason why a person should choose your business over someone else’s. So you have to figure out how you can make your business different than what’s already on the market. Can you do something these other companies aren’t, or can you do it better, maybe faster and cheaper?
- Build a Website
You might think that creating a website should be farther down the list of priorities, but a website is crucial to your business’s success. Every business, even brick-and-mortar businesses, should have a website. A website is the face of your business online, and it can help bring in customers for your business. For this reason, you should create a website as soon as possible. Your website doesn’t have to go live until you’re ready, but you should have a landing page that tells visitors that your website is coming and what they can expect from it. This will help to create buzz around your business and hopefully result in a big launch.
- Prepare Your Finances
You don’t need a lot of money to start a small business, but you will need an initial investment to get started and some capital to cover ongoing expenses until you begin turning a profit. For this reason, you’ll want to prepare your finances by putting together a spreadsheet that estimates your business’s startup costs. You might need to cover some startup costs, including licenses and permits, equipment, legal fees, insurance, branding, marketing, inventory, website building, and trademarking. Furthermore, you’ll want to plan to have enough cash to keep your business running for at least 12 months. This means accounting for rent, utilities, web hosting costs, marketing, advertising, production, suppliers, salaries, etc.
- Choose and Register Your Business Name
The name of your small business will play a role in almost every aspect of your business going forward, so you want to make it a good one. Take your time and think it through carefully. You’ll want to consider all the potential implications of the name you choose.
Once you decide on a name, you’ll need to make sure it isn’t trademarked or currently in use. If it’s completely unique, you can go ahead and register it. Whether your business is a corporation, sole proprietorship, or cooperative will determine the registration requirements.
- Select Your Accounting System
To keep track of your expenses and revenue, you will need an accounting system. It will also help you create and manage your budget, set your rates and prices, and file your taxes. There are plenty of software programs that allow you to set up your accounting system yourself, or you can hire an accountant. If you decide to do your accounting yourself using a software program, you will want to make sure that it has all the necessary features. These features include inventory management, sales tracking, customer contacts, merchant account support, budgeting, payroll, estimates, and business tax reporting.
- Make a Marketing Plan
You need to let people know about your business, and the only way to do this is through marketing. There are a lot of ways to market your business. From traditional advertising like TV and radio ads to more modern marketing initiatives like social media advertising and Google search ads, there are tons of ways to get the word out about your small business. Do some research into what businesses like yours are doing and figure out whether the same advertising channels will work for you as well.
These are just some of the things you should do to get your small business up and running. However, it’s important to remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. That being said, if you put in the work, you will increase your chances of success.