While many people dream of being their own boss one day, a lot of people simply don’t have the stomach for it. It takes a tremendous courage to put yourself at the helm of a company and be directly responsible for its future success or failure. Nonetheless, it is not just about courage. It is even more important to have a great idea, a sound business plan, a solid budget and a gazillion other things. With this in mind, here are first four steps you need to take when starting your own business.
- Do a market analysis
There is one simple thing you need to keep in mind at all times. The success of your business directly depends on the response it gets from its market. Sure, the idea may sound brilliant to you, but ask yourself one question: “Am I a good representative of the market that I am trying to appease?” If not, your personal opinions won’t be a good basis for your business plan. As for the tools of analysis, you can always role-play as a customer, use the internet and even set out some focus groups in order to get the needed feedback.
- Brand identity
Your second stop should be establishing a strong business identity. This means establishing some of the basic business features such as your logo, company colors, company moto and of course, the perfect name for your business. Coming up with catchy business names can be particularly difficult, seeing how all the best ones are usually already taken. Bear in mind that this is something that needs to be easy to pronounce, but also look great on business cards, banners and billboards. This is why some startups decide to look for professional help.
- Composing the budget
One of the things you need to do as soon as possible is compose the budget. For starters, you can make an estimation of your incomes in the following period. If there is any data on the companies in your line of business, you can use that as the basis. If not… well, you can always rely on your intuition. As for your expenses, you need to think about the price of getting started (licenses, permits, etc.), then consider the lease of the office space, the wages and other major expenses. Finally, you need to take some hidden expenses into account, like utilities, employee benefits, insurance and payment delays.
- Gather funds
Next thing you need to worry about is the way in which you are going to gather funds. There are several ways of doing this, but the most common one is to apply for a loan at a bank or credit union. On the other hand, you could also ask a member of your family or a friend for a personal loan, or sell an asset that you own. Finally, we are living in the 21st century, which is why you can also try to go with one of those amazing crowdfunding options like Kickstarter. Here, all you need to do is find the right way to present your idea in order to inspire others to invest in your dream. It really is that simple.
- Find perfect location
Another thing you need to worry about is finding the right place for your company’s headquarters. Here, you need to consider factors like how the office location affects the brand image you want to create, or what kind of competition will you be facing at the new locale. Additionally, you should consider things like proximity to suppliers, crime rate in that particular part of town, but there are few financial factors you will have to include, as well. For instance, each state has its own minimum wage rate, businesses some counties are more likely to receive a government economic incentive and you should never forget the local income and sales taxes. All in all, there is a lot of research to be done before you make your final say.
- Hiring employees
Finally, once you have most of the above mentioned covered, you need to start thinking about things such as hiring your first employees. Start by dealing with some of the paperwork like obtaining an employer identification number, setting up records for withholding taxes and think about the employee eligibility verification. Once this is all set and done, you can finally commence with the actual process of hiring. This usually includes going through CV’s and letters of recommendation, as well as interviewing potential employees. Keep in mind that although you should set your requirements bar high, it shouldn’t be unreasonable.
As you can see, starting your own business is not nearly as complicated as you might have thought. Nonetheless, in order for all of this to work, you need to be systematic and do it one step at a time. Each of the above mentioned four is vital for the future course of your company, which is why every step requires your undivided attention.
Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.