Starting a new business is an exciting prospect. Whether you have started a business before, are looking to leave a corporate job or interested in buying a franchise or existing business there are some critical things you need to consider. The following article describes these steps and provides a little insight into the startup process.
- Research the market. Before you can start a business, you need to determine that there is a market for your product. If there is no market you will fail before you have even started. It is essential to not just know the market exists, but to know what kind of market it is. Before starting your business you should determine who will want to buy from you, where they live, what they are interested in, what niche and country you are selling to, and more. Many entrepreneurs fail because the market share was too small, or the customers base too limited to support a business.
- Find some money. In order to start any kind of business you will need capital. First you need to determine how much capital your business requires. This varies widely depending on what type of business and on what scale you are starting. Once you know how much you need and how much you have, you need to find money to make up the difference. If you are looking for a loan or investors, you will need to write a business plan and practice pitching your business.
- Consult with a business lawyer. There are many aspects of starting a business that a lawyer can help you with. They can help you write any contracts you will need to use, go over any contracts or leases you are signing, and help you create a business structure. It isn’t necessary to keep an attorney on retainer, but you will want to meet with one at least once. A good lawyer will be able to understand what you are trying to accomplish and help you get there. The best way to find a good lawyer, or any professional service, is by getting a referral from someone you trust.
- Speak to and hire an accountant. Your accountant and your attorney will work together to help with your business. An accountant will determine what type of ownership is right for you, help you start bookkeeping, and tell you what you need to know about taxes. There is a lot of money that can be saved or lost depending on your (or your accountant’s) knowledge of tax law. It’s important to have a local accountant, because laws vary by state and county. Try to choose an accountant who has worked with startup companies in the past.
- Choose the structure of your business. This is something that your accountant and your attorney need to help you with. Business regulations and paperwork, tax laws, and liability laws all depend on the type of business you have. It can be a sole proprietorship, corporation, S corporation, or limited liability corporation.Your accountant will be able to explain the differences to you.
- Choose a name for your business. Choosing a name is not as simple as it appears. The name you choose can be very important to the success of your business.Brainstorm a list of possible names, and then try to narrow it down to the best few. Some things to think about while choosing your name are how memorable the name is, whether it describes your business accurately and concisely, and how it will look as a website url. You also will need to check if the web domain is available, and if there are already other businesses using that name.
- Take care of the paperwork. You will need a business license, and might also need other permits or licenses. Get your attorney to help you figure out what you might need. Some industries require you to have a special license, such as real estate agents or contractors. There are many products that you might need a license to sell, such as guns, alcohol and lottery tickets. Get all the licenses applicable to your county and state. Also make sure you do not break any zoning laws. You can find information about zoning at the county clerk’s office.
- Enroll in an Entrepreneur training program. The Certified EntrepreneurTM program offered right here at Guanzi Institute gives your all the information you need; from structuring a new business to protect your assets and encourage outside investment to creating and understanding financial reports. It’s like an Executive MBA program with out the fluff and with a tremendous amount of immediately practical information.
This is not an exhaustive list of everything you need to do before starting a business. In the modern economy it is vital to have a website, and depending on your business there might be other important steps. However, following these seven steps will get you going in the right direction, and improve the chances your business will succeed.