If you’re considering starting a business, you’re probably scrambling all over the Internet trying to find all the tasks and to dos you need in order to be successful. Let me save you some time by sharing a list right here of what you need to do to start a business.
1. Flesh Out Your Idea. You don’t know if anyone will actually pay for the products or services you came up with unless you do some research. So write out a description and detail what makes you different. Then reach out to your social networks, conduct focus groups, or send out surveys to see if people like your idea and would pay for it.
2. Pick a Name. You want your business name to be memorable, not too cutesy, easy to pronounce and spell, and original. Check with government agencies to see if anyone else has registered the same name.
3. Choose a Business Structure. Sure, you can operate as a sole proprietor, but if you want to protect your personal assets, you’re better off as a corporation or partnership (that’s an LLC in the US).
4. Develop a Business & Marketing Plan. Now that you know your idea has legs, you need a detailed plan outlining how you’ll operate. Will you be the only owner? How will you market the business? These and other questions need to be addressed in this document.
5. Get a Website. This is a must these days, no matter what field you’re in. Even if it’s a one-page site, you need somewhere to direct people from your social media profiles, blog, and directories.
6. Start Your Marketing Early. Don’t wait until you’re ready to launch to begin branding your business. Once your website is up, begin setting up social profiles on the sites your customers hang out. Create a blog and start writing content. Even if your audience is small to nil, you need a foundation to your marketing before you open your doors.
7. Consider Hiring. Maybe you plan to run the business on your own for now, and that’s fine. But build a plan for what it’ll take for you to need to hire more people. Maybe if you reach $X in sales, you bring on a sales associate.
8. Talk to Your Family. This will affect them in a major way, so give them expectations on how often they should expect you to work late, as well as ask for their support in general.
9. Find Space. If you need retail or office space, get that squared away before you launch so you can settle in. For retail, look for a location with plenty of foot traffic and easy access. Otherwise, outfit your home office with everything you need.
10. Just Do It. You’ll never find exactly the right moment to launch, so just pick a date and go for it. You may have fumbles early on, but they’ll teach you what you need going forward.