About 61 percent of Americans have a plan to start a business.
If you’re one of these people, you’re always finding ways to turn your plan into a tangible business. You can do it since over 600,000 new businesses start every year in the United States.
If you’re on the fence about starting the business, there’s a good chance it’s because of the high failure rate of small businesses. There’s no doubt that many small businesses fail with a few years, but that’s no reason to shelf your dreams.
With this small business checklist, you’ll be in a good position to start a business that can succeed. Read on to learn more!
A Viable Business Idea
You don’t just wake up one morning and open a business. Well, you can do that if you like, but you’ll only be setting up yourself for failure.
You need a business idea before you can set up a business. And not just any idea. You need an idea that will likely work.
Start by brainstorming and coming up with various business ideas. Look at the market. Is there any problem that needs solving?
Look at your passions. Do you have any that can be turned into a profitable business?
It takes plenty of market research to validate a business idea. You need to have a good picture of the level of demand the product or service will have in the market.
If your idea is already a prototype, don’t push it to the market without doing market research. Gather feedback from people around you and use it to improve the product or even determine whether you should shelf it or bring it to the market.
A Business Plan
Just as you should never start a business without a viable idea, so should you never start without a business plan.
Many small business owners don’t draw a business plan simply because they think their businesses are too small. Yet, it shouldn’t matter how small a business is. A business plan is a must.
The document contains important information about the business, including mission, objectives and goals, business model, product and service offering, sales and marketing strategies, capital requirements, and financial projections.
Writing a business plan requires some level of expertise. It’s not recommended to draw your own plan if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience. Hiring a small business consultant to do the job for you can sound like an extravagance, but it’s a smart decision that can make the difference between success and failure.
Startup and Working Capital
Did you know 82 percent of small businesses that fail do so because they run into financial challenges?
Capital is the lifeblood of any business. When you’re planning to start a business, it’s essential that you raise an adequate amount of capital.
How do I know how much startup capital I need? You’ll find the answer in your business plan.
Some entrepreneurs start their businesses without adequate capital, hoping or assuming that the business will start generating revenues immediately. This is rarely the case. It can take longer than expected to generate revenues – let alone turn a profit.
Keep working capital in mind as well. Startup capital will help you set up the business, but it’s working capital that will keep your operations going.
There are different ways to raise business capital if you don’t have enough personal resources. Equity capital is available, especially if you’re a high-growth startup.
Debt financing is also an option. There are different types of business loans, including working capital loans, equipment loans, and term loans. However, be careful with taking in too much debt at an early stage in business.
A Business Website
About 28 percent of small businesses don’t have a website. Don’t add to this group when you’re starting a business.
In today’s digital world, a business website is a must-have. The vast majority of consumers are shopping for products and services online, so you need to be where they are. Without proper online visibility, it’s difficult to run a successful business.
While you can DIY your business website, it’s not recommended. The savvy thing to do is hire a website development pro. This way, you’re assured that you’ll end up with a business website that’s user-friendly and optimized for search.
Good Office Internet
Whether you’ll be running your business from home or you’ll lease a commercial space, one thing doesn’t change: you need good office internet.
Running an online business means you’ll spend most of your time on the web. A good internet connection, like one offered by Comcast Business Solutions, will ensure you have fast and seamless access to the web. Your customers shouldn’t struggle to reach you because you have poor internet.
Business Bank Account
If you’re starting a sole proprietorship, you might not see the need to open a separate account for the business.
That’s a big mistake!
Mixing personal and business finances makes it difficult to track business income and expenses. You can also easily misuse the funds and end up in a cash crunch.
Opening a business bank account will help your business to establish a banking history with a commercial bank. This will come in handy when you want to secure a small business loan.
A Small Business Checklist: Tick the Boxes
Starting a small business is a smart move. It’s also an exciting time, but don’t let the excitement get in the way. There are important steps you need to take to ensure you’re giving your new business a strong foundation. Use this small business checklist to your advantage.
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