A 7-Item Checklist For Starting A Business
Launching your own business often starts with a creative idea and some guts to take the leap. However, no matter how exhilarating this journey can be, you should anticipate pouring in a lot of effort, time, energy, and costs into the process. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it’s imperative to make the necessary preparations and develop a checklist for starting your business.
You can make the startup process smoother and doable by breaking down the large chunks of things to do and comply with. Check out the primary aspects that you need to prioritize and emphasize. Based on the list below, you can launch your business in a more straightforward and modified manner. Slowly tick off one number and another, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a real-life entrepreneur.
Start by considering this checklist to ensure an organized launching of your startup business:
1. Invest In Tools And Technology
Thanks to the advent of technology today, a plethora of tools and technology can support you in your business journey. As your business starts to operate, there’ll be a lot of trivial and complex tasks required to be performed daily. The day is filled with everything from proposals and client meetings to emails and administration tasks. This can quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed and overworked.
Hence, it’s best that you make use of the technological advances in software and apps that are offered today. You can try this out to expedite tasks and free up time for your employees and yourself. With all the digital tools available in this modern era, you can streamline your business and reduce stress. You can save time and focus on what’s important. You can forego laborious tasks like manually inputting reports, monitoring employees’ tasks, or doing traditional ways of performing tasks. Some software and apps can handle all these in less time.
You can also save money by using technology. Tools like CRM software, accounting apps, and project management tools allow you to save the company money by ensuring that your company is operating in the most efficient ways possible. Another tech tool advantage is preventing unwelcome downtime or customer churn by using a backup solution. All these and more can create a positive impact on your business operations.
2. Prepare A Business Plan
To ensure that your business can be launched in the most prepared manner, it’s vital to prepare a business plan. Hearing this term can scare you away, but a business plan doesn’t have to be lengthy and complex. You can create a concise and straightforward business plan sufficient enough to guide you through your business operations. By devising a business plan ahead, you’ll get to assess, think over, and decide about all the details for your business.
You can start with these aspects:
- Conduct A Market Research
A business can only be successful when you earn a good amount of customers. The first step toward achieving this goal is to perform adequate market research to identify your target audience. Your marketing and promotional campaigns budget can be used wisely when you know your potential customers. By being well-versed with the market that you’re joining, you can perform better as a market player.
- Study Your Competition
Competition is a natural aspect of any business, so it’s only natural that you study them closely. To be successful, you shouldn’t be afraid of exploring your competitors and learning from them. It’s crucial always to be aware of how they portray their brand and what innovative tactics they’re formulating so you can continue to keep up with them.
- Devise Your Marketing Strategies
Creating marketing strategies should also be included in your business plan. Since marketing is a primary method to establish your business, it’s crucial to brainstorm different effective marketing strategies. Establish your marketing goals and set up doable steps to achieve them.
You can designate a timeline to commit to these strategies more. Your marketing plan should include details about the niche you’re delivering your products and services to. Your marketing objectives will be easier to achieve with a well-defined plan.
3. Prepare For Your Business Funds
Before moving on to launching your business, ensure you have the funding you need. If you haven’t found your location, bought equipment, ordered inventory, and others, it could be challenging to estimate how much money you need for investment. Therefore, it’s best to come up with a financial plan early.
A realistic business budget requires research on equipment and materials needed, real estate costs, and marketing. This will allow you to know how much you need to spend for each variable. Also, check your funding options and choose the most suitable one for your credit score and financial standing. Consider their interest rates, terms and conditions, and payback time.
Infographic created by Donnelley Financial Solutions, an SEC reporting software company
4. Decide Your Business Structure
Decide what type of entity your business is before registering it. The structure of your business will affect everything—from the way you file your taxes to your personal liability in case of a lawsuit. Here are the three business structures to choose from:
- Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is an option if you plan on being solely responsible for all debts and obligations of the business.
If you found some people to partner with, you can choose to register your business under a partnership. Having a business partner with complementary skills can ease the burden of managing it alone.
This option can be ideal for you when you want to own a company with a board of directors and stakeholders. In general, corporations are separate legal entities from their owners, so they can own property, assume liability, pay taxes, enter into contracts, sue, and be sued like any other person.
Your ultimate business decision will depend on your business’s current needs and future plans. Understand the different types of business structures and review which one is most suitable for your goals.
5. Select Your Suppliers And Vendors
You and your team probably can’t handle every aspect of running a business independently. You’ll need to work with third-party companies for all your business needs. Decide what supplies or services and tasks to outsource from suppliers, vendors, and contractors.
Choosing B2B partners is critical, so you must consider different aspects. It’s essential to find a company you can trust since they’ll access sensitive and vital business data. Research your prospective suppliers and vendors’ background, history, and company information. Understand how they deal with businesses with their previous customers and read reviews and feedback.
Make sure to find out if they’ve achieved growth for other clients. The kind of suppliers and vendors you need to work with will depend on the nature of your business, so create a list to make the selection process easier. You can compare their pricing, credibility, and tenure in the industry, and finally come up with the best candidate. Check their payment terms as some companies may agree to give you enough time to settle your bills.
6. Hire The Best Employees
To get your company off the ground, you’ll need to hunt and employ the best employees. As a small business, you can start with enough workforce to get your operations running. Check the critical job roles that are needed to be filled and consider hiring contractors as well as third-party companies for tasks that can be outsourced.
Keep in mind that the people in the company are one of the core elements of a successful business. Therefore, ensure that the entire team can work collaboratively and allow each skill to complement everyone else’s. It’ll save you a lot of headaches if you clearly define roles and responsibilities, division of labor, or how to provide feedback, so everyone can improve their skills.
7. Create Your Website
It’s crucial to have a website that helps customers find out more about your brand. Nowadays, people are shifting to online means for shopping and researching their needs. Create an engaging business website that’s user-friendly, easy to navigate, and speedy. This will attract your customers to explore your site often.
Remember that even if your business is engaged in brick-and-mortar operations, there are numerous benefits in store for you if you establish an online presence through your website. By having your own website, you establish your company’s credibility. People are less likely to recognize your products or services without a website because they can’t find them online.
Also, even when your business becomes busy, your website continues to work. Therefore, you can continue to market your products and services through your website even when you can’t do it directly. You can use social media to expand the reach of your website so it advertises all of your company’s capabilities. Even if you need to shell out money initially to develop your website, you’ll soon discover that the returns will outweigh the initial costs.
The above list isn’t the totality of how a business should launch, but it’s a starting point for a business. In addition to the items listed, there are countless other things you’ll need to start a business. Once you’ve completed each item, cross it off, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful business launch.
The key steps of starting a business include researching and evaluating the feasibility of your business idea, creating a business plan with detailed strategies, obtaining the necessary financial resources, and securing the required permits, licenses, and registrations.
A checklist for starting a business is extremely important, as it allows entrepreneurs to properly plan and manage all the tasks associated with launching a business. A checklist can help ensure that nothing important is forgotten or overlooked.
To create a business plan, you will need to define your business, research the market and competition, plan your financials and products, determine a legal and organizational structure, and develop a marketing strategy.
Legally starting a business can vary depending on the structure of your business. Generally, business owners must select a business name, obtain appropriate business licenses and permits, file for an employer ID number, and register with the state, if necessary.
Financial resources to start a business can come from a variety of sources, such as personal savings, loans from family and friends, small business loans, and venture capital investments.
To protect your business idea, you can apply for a patent, trademark, and/or copyright, depending on the nature of your idea. Additionally, you can keep your idea confidential through the use of non-disclosure agreements.
To select the best business accounts and services for your business, you should assess your needs, identify potential vendors, and compare each vendor’s services and fees.
Yes, insurance is an important part of setting up a business and managing the associated risks. Depending on your business type and operations, you may need to obtain various general liability, property, and worker’s compensation insurance plans.
It is not necessarily required to launch a business, but having an online presence through a website will help boost awareness of your business and can help increase customer reach.
Depending on the structure of your business, you may need to register with the state or with the IRS. Registering with the state is usually required for LLCs and corporations, while registering with the IRS is required for partnerships and corporations.