You want to bring your dream of having your own business to life. You have your passion and you want to share that passion with the world. You have the business name, logo, and a vision for your product and/or service that you’ll be delivering. You feel you are ready to take on the world, and are excited to bring your offering to market. You are ready to go, right? I feel your excitement. That was exactly how I was feeling when I bought into my first business.
Starting your business and being passionate about it is awesome! Now the question is…
Are you really ready to sign a lease or open your doors? The minute you do you become a business owner, and not just someone who is passionate about XY or Z
Here are my Top 5 MUST DO’s before opening your doors to your business.
- Develop a Business Plan
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP YOU CAN DO. A business plan will help you discover all the issues, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, etc. you may not have considered and allow you to address them before you open. Having a strategic plan for any potential challenges in place before the doors open will help you stay on track and not let the challenges derail you. A successful business plan also allows you to analyze the market and competition, giving you insight onto what niche you should target, and a chance to determine how to reach them. You also will gain some financial insight into your business as far as budgeting goes, calculating when your business will make a profit, and how much money is needed to reach that point, so you can be financially prepared. This is not a small task, nor a quick and easy task, but it is a MUST DO task. Many agencies are available for free consultations in developing and helping small businesses work on a business plan. Check with state and local commerce departments, SCORE, as well as local small business development centers where they provide FREE mentorship through the business start up process.
- Set Up Your business
Once your business plan is in place, and it is still a go, you need to register your business with your Secretary of State. One of the things that needs to be done for this step is to determine what will be the legal form of your business, ie Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC, S-Corp, etc. This is an important step as each of these has legal and tax implications. A quick run down of the different legal forms and pros and cons of each can be found here in this presentation from the RI Small Business Development Center. In place with registering your business with your state, you also need to register with the IRS and get an EIN number. If you plan on having employees, or your business will operate as a corporation (LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp) or a partnership you need one. Information on EIN numbers can be found on the IRS website here. Once your business is registered,
- Set up a business bank account
Separating your personal bank account and business bank account is essential for good business practice. Along with this setting up a bookkeeping system is also a must, which can be done through an online service like Quickbooks, or hiring a local or virtual bookkeeper. Setting up a separate business account will allow you to see what goes in and out in your business allowing you to track down all the expenses and income and get a sense of your business financials.
Establishing your branding from the start allows your target customers to get to know you. Being consistent with logo, colors, font, will allow customers to differentiate your product from other products. Branding is more than just building a logo, but also should include the style that you’ll be using for advertising or marketing your product. One of the best resources on this is Donald Miller’s book, Building a Story Brand. Many new business owners may not have a budget for branding. There are many resources out there where this can be done for relatively cheap. Branding doesn’t have to be expensive! You can do this on your own using Canva or Adobe Photoshop.If you consider yourself as someone who is not good at the creative side, then consider hiring someone to do it for you. There are many good designers on Freelancer, or check out Art of Barbell, she has done all of our branding work.
- Have your marketing/advertising plan
Owning your own business is not a Field of Dreams where if you build it they will come. If your plan is to post a picture of your service or your product on social media and expect success, it’s NOT going to work that way. While a few people may notice, this is not a valid marketing plan. Building and establishing a clientele is a grind, and takes work and a plan. Different businesses need different marketing, depending on product and target market. The basics of developing a marketing plan can be found in the short video belo
There is no shortcut to a successful business. It takes planning, agility and proper execution of plans in place to be successful.
If you need help with any of these or have completed these steps and need help with the next steps of owning and operating your business make sure to reach out as we would love to help you on your journey to running a successful business.