Getting a new business up and running can be a challenging process, but if you’ve got a great start-up idea, it’s vitally important to do it right. Here are eight essential steps toward transforming your idea into a thriving business reality:
- CHOOSE A NAME
The name you select should reflect the way you’d like prospective customers to perceive your new business. Compile a list of names of businesses similar to yours, figure out how to differentiate yourself, and test out possible new names on family and friends. When you find the right one, be sure to register it.
- DRAW UP A BUSINESS PLAN
This document “tells the story” of your business, including a description of your product/service and how you intend to market, develop and finance it.
- GET FINANCING
Banks are the traditional venue for new business financing, but these days getting a bank loan isn’t easy. Fortunately, there are promising alternatives, like the small business grant offered by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE).
- KNOW THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
Regardless of your new business, there are legal requirements as mandated by federal, state, city and/or county governments. Most businesses need an Employer Identification Number and there are IRS reporting requirements as well. You may also want to trademark your name and logo.
- SET A PRICE FOR YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE
The price your target consumer is willing to pay should be somewhere between what it costs to make your product and what the market will bear, while still letting you see a profit.
- SET UP A BUSINESS OPERATION
To run smoothly, your business operation must include office space and equipment, production space and equipment, a process for managing the office and a stable of reliable vendors and suppliers.
- DEVELOP A MARKETING PLAN
You need to assess the marketplace (including potential competitors) and how it will affect your business. The conclusions you draw will guide your marketing efforts—how you intend to let the world know about your great offering.
- HIRE EMPLOYEES
Assembling a workforce (even just one or two employees) requires time and some initial costs for checking background and employment references. Remember, employees represent the largest expense for most small businesses, in terms of wages, bonuses and benefits. Whether it’s numeracy, literacy, soft skill testing or somehow testing their desire to work for you, it pays to invest as much in your employees as you possibly can!