Starting a new business from scratch can be thrilling and rewarding. It may even be the culmination of a life-long dream. But it can also be a major challenge. Suddenly, you have to know more and do more than you ever thought possible. To make the process just a little easier, here are 8 steps to consider as you get your business off the ground.
1. Know Your Business
Your first step to launching a new business is figuring out what products or services you want to offer. This may not be as easy as it sounds. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and determine whether you’re willing to make your business a serious enterprise and not just a hobby.
2. Set a Financial Goal
Calculate how much you need to get your business going and how much will be required in regular operating expenses. Make sure you take into consideration all the associated costs, including expenses for utilities, insurance, patents, production, marketing, taxes, employees (if you have them) and more. Then figure out how much income you can anticipate. Be realistic.
3. Do Market Research
Dedicate yourself to learning as much as you can about your customers and your competitors. Make sure there’s a need for your offerings in the area covered by your business footprint, especially if your business fills a specific niche. Dig deep and test your market often.
4. Build Your Customer Base
Learn how best to acquire customers for your specific business. Email lists can be invaluable in this regard, as they offer you a manageable tool for reaching lots of potential customers. Giving something away on an attractive website is a great way to acquire useful contact info. Familiarize yourself with the cost of customer acquisition, and spend your marketing dollars wisely.
5. Consider Content Marketing
Optimize your website by including content that’s valuable to potential customers. Blog posts, articles, how-to videos, fun facts, links to other sources – all of these can drive more traffic to your site and help you gain a larger customer base.
6. Jump In But Be Willing to Change
Some new business owners take so long to plan their business that they miss the boat entirely. Don’t be afraid to jump in and get started in building your business. But be willing to change, too. As the economy fluctuates, so might the demand for your business offerings. You don’t run into too many typewriter salespeople nowadays, do you? Go with what sells.
7. Register With Taxing Authorities
If you’re forming a corporation or LLC, you’ll need to register with the state taxing authorities in the state in which you do business. If you’re starting any kind of business, even a sole proprietorship, you usually need to register with local taxing authorities as well. Local governments are known to have many different kinds of business taxes that, if you’re not aware of them out of the gate, can add penalties and interest to tax you owe.
8. Hire a Reliable Accountant
Hiring a reliable accountant could be the most important decision you make as a business startup. Whether for tax preparation alone or for day to day accounting, payroll or other financial services, an accountant you trust can make a big difference in how your business operates. It can also provide you with the peace of mind of knowing your business is in compliance with applicable tax laws.