There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States alone, according to the Small Business Administration. Increase your odds of being one of the success stories by taking a moment to review this quick guide to starting a business.
Make a Business Plan
A business plan is a blueprint or outline that will guide your business from the initial start-up phase through full operations and eventual growth. It’s important to have a solid plan since this is what will serve as a guide for how your business operates going forward and to help convince investors to fund your company if you’re seeking money to help start your company.
As for how to create one, the steps you take will depend on your financial needs and the nature of your business. For example, if you will need financial support or investors, a traditional plan is recommended. However, you may do just fine with a simple, single-page plan if you don’t anticipate needing financial assistance to get started. A typical business plan includes:
• An overview of what your business is
• An analysis of your target market and anticipated competitors
• Who will be part of your team and what products and/or services you’ll offer
• Plans specific to operations, sales, and marketing
• Financial planning and projections
Register Your Company
Registering your company is one of the most exciting things you can do to get your business started.
You can simply go on websites such as Legalzoom and submit a request to file for an LLC, partnership, or corporation. Choosing a company name can be difficult but most companies that file for you will be able to tell you if the name is available or not.
Most companies also give you options to add-on when filing such as a registered agent (which is typically not needed as you can be one yourself,) providing you with an EIN, and any other documents needed to help get you started with your journey.
Now going through companies like them is worth it if you do not have much time to file yourself, but if you do then you can navigate to your state’s SOS website and submit a request there.
Get Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An EIN is a federal tax number that is used to identify your business. You do not need an EIN unless you plan to have employees or form a corporation, LLC, or partnership.
You should plan on getting an EIN anyway if you do not need it. It only takes a few minutes, it’s free, and it helps keeps your Social Security number private and reduce the chance of identity theft, because if you do not have an EIN, your SSN will be used to identify your business for tax purposes.
To learn even more about employment management, visit Salesforce.
Get a business bank account
One of the easiest ways to screw up your business accounting and possibly run into a conflict with the IRS is to separate personal and business funds (and transactions). Using a business account for all transactions eliminates that possibility and it can really make things easier when filing taxes for your company.
Get a business account using your business name and EIN, and only use that account for all business-related deposits, withdrawals, and transactions.
Choose a bank that’s the most convenient and best for you or you can also check out your local credit unions as they often provide better deals than banks.
One way to raise capital is to invest your own money. You might do this by getting a low-interest APR business credit card to take care of smaller start-up expenses. If a larger amount of funding is needed, applying for a small business loan is another common option. An easy way to do this is to use a platform like the one from Lantern Credit which helps you compare lending options that align with your business needs and qualifications. Having one place to easily compare your options saves you time in applying with various sources and avoiding multiple credit checks and wasted time.
In general, small business loan requirements typically include:
• Having good credit
• Having the ability to make payments on the loan
• Financial projections based on anticipated revenue
Launching a crowdfunding campaign and raising money from family and friends are a few other options with funding. Another option is to find an “angel investor” with significant assets who are willing to invest in your business.
Develop Your Product/Service Offerings
Do your research with the products and services you’ll be offering. Is there a current market for what you plan to offer? If so, who exactly will you be targeting? What customer needs will your products or services be meeting? Also, make sure your products and/or services are ready to meet consumer/client needs.
Plan and Launch Product Marketing
This is the part where you’ll determine how you’ll promote your product(s). Anticipate having to set aside more of your budget for marketing as you launch your business. This typically covers initial expenses involving:
• Website design and launch
• traditional and online marketing efforts
• Creating brand awareness through organic or paid campaigns.
• Generating interest with press releases and/or social media engagement and other promotional efforts
With products, pay attention to packaging as well if you’ll be selling physically accessible products. You’ll also want to have a solid marketing plan in place that includes clear goals and careful tracking of results.
Incorporate SaaS into your workflow
One thing you will be doing a lot of work on is the paperwork. Such as contracts between you and your customers and vendors. With customers, you want to make sure conditions are met and everything is on time. With your Vendors, you want to make sure they maintain their reliability and quality of service. Taking that into account and all the other things you got to manage it’s quite a workload to manage. So you using a contract management system from contractnow.com will be a good approach to saving you time, minimizing room for error, and basically making your working life easier.
Evaluate, Adjust and Continue Growing Your Business
Lastly, continue to evaluate your business plan after your business launches. Make adjustments as necessary based on the results you’re getting, but also look for opportunities to grow your business. With growth, this might mean going back to Lantern Credit to compare loan rates or look for additional funding sources. You’ll also have more loan options once you become an established business owner.
In reality, only about half of all small businesses with employees survive to the five-year point. The good news is that with careful planning and the right financing options, you’ll increase your odds of long-term success.