HOW TO START SMALL BUSINESS
Starting a new small business?
Find out where to begin and how to achieve success.
You want to make sure you prepare thoroughly before starting a business, but realize that things will almost certainly go awry. To run a successful business, you must adapt to changing situations.
Conducting in-depth market research on your field and the demographics of your potential clientele is an important part of crafting a business plan. This involves running surveys, holding focus groups, and researching SEO and public data.
Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and get a following of people who are ready to jump when you open your doors for business.
1. Refine your idea.
If you're thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell online, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. If you think your business can deliver something other companies don't (or deliver the same thing, only faster and cheaper), or you've got a solid idea and are ready to create a business plan.
2. Write a business plan.
Once you have your idea in place, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: What is the purpose of your business? Who are you selling to? What are your end goals? How will you finance your startup costs? These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan.
3. Conduct market research.
Conducting thorough market research on your field and demographics of potential clientele is an important part of crafting a business plan. This involves conducting surveys, holding focus groups, and researching SEO and public data.
Market research helps you understand your target customer – their needs, preferences and behavior – as well as your industry and competitors. Many small business professionals recommend gathering demographic information and conducting a competitive analysis to better understand opportunities and limitations within your market.
4. Determine your legal business structure.
Before you can register your company, you need to decide what kind of entity it is. Your business structure legally affects everything from how you file your taxes to your personal liability if something goes wrong.
Sole proprietorship. If you own the business entirely by yourself and plan to be responsible for all debts and obligations, you can register for a sole proprietorship. Be warned that this route can directly affect your personal credit.
Partnership. Alternatively, a business partnership, as its name implies, means that two or more people are held personally liable as business owners. You don't have to go it alone if you can find a business partner with complementary skills to your own. It's usually a good idea to add someone into the mix to help your business flourish.
5. Register with the government and IRS.
You will need to acquire a variety of business licenses before you can legally operate your business. For example, you need to register your business with federal, state and local governments. There are several documents you must prepare before registering
6. Articles of incorporation and operating agreement.
To become an officially recognized business entity, you must register with the government. Corporations need an "articles of incorporation" document, which includes your business name, business purpose, corporate structure, stock details and other information about your company. Similarly, some LLCs will need to create an operating agreement.