Time to Take the Entrepreneurial Plunge
If you’ve been thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship, there’s no better time than the present. While it might feel like a daunting prospect, getting all of your pre- startup needs sorted in advance will set the stage for success. Use this guide as a helpful resource to get started.
Write Your Business Plan
You’ll need a fully developed business plan before you can apply for small business funding. The act of writing a business plan also helps ensure you’re thinking through each and every step. This includes identifying your target demographic, putting together a marketing strategy, and identifying your funding needs. According to Tech Radar, you’ll also need to make decisions about the type of software you’ll need. The nice thing about a business plan is that you can define your overarching operational objectives all at once, even if you only implement them one step at a time.
Formalize Your Business
In addition to writing your business plan, you’ll want to apply for a business license, a tax identification number, and an employer identification number. It’s also wise to establish yourself as an LLC, or Limited Liability Company. This will protect you from some types of liability, make it easier to file taxes, and give you flexibility. You can pay an attorney to do the work for you, spend time and effort and do it yourself, or your best bet, utilize a formation service to handle all of the details on your behalf. LLC formation laws vary from one state to another, so learn about yours in advance. Alternatively, if you’re operating a small business, you may decide that a sole proprietorship is the way to go, though it doesn’t offer the same protections as an LLC. Once you’ve registered as a sole proprietorship, you can also change the name of your business by filling out the appropriate doing business as (DBA) paperwork in your area.
Create an Operating Structure
Will you open a storefront, work from a home office, or utilize a remote team? Will you handle all aspects of the business yourself, or will you use freelancers, independent contractors, or hire ad agencies and graphic designers? Strategizing how key elements of your business will operate—and who will operate them—is essential. If you don’t have the know-how yourself, hiring pros to handle key tasks like website design and social media will make it much easier to get your business up, running, and attracting customers.
Invest in Technology
Tech can be your friend as an entrepreneur, allowing you to maximize your time and work professionally and efficiently. Utilize cybersecurity measures to protect your data, and that of your customers; invest in software programs that allow you to manage projects and collaborate with others remotely; utilize smart tech, like a laptop, desktop, smartphone, and small business apps to maximize your productivity. You can also use various programs that make it easy to manage inventory and handle accounts payable and receivable – this can be especially helpful when it’s time to pay your taxes.
Attract a Following
It’s not enough for customers to know about you—they need to follow you, become repeat buyers, and refer others. According to CMA Solutions, identify your audience and speak to it. Clearly identify your products and services on your website, get found on Google My Business, and always use tags on social media so you can be easily discovered. Once you have a customer base, treat them well. High-quality customer service will not only bring people back time and time again, but you’ll also start to garner positive word-of-mouth advertising.
While launching a business is a big undertaking, careful pre-planning and strategizing can help you set yourself up for success.
Prayer, mentors, and hiring professionals in strategic categories can go a long way at launching successfully!
*This article is brought to you by Creating Exceptional, written by guest author Virginia Cooper and edited By Kate Dahlin