Starting Your Own Business? Here's What You Should Know.
A great business idea can become your life's work when you put in the hours to turn an idea into reality. While it may seem as though there are an infinite number of variables within each stage, they will seem less complicated once they are broken down into tasks. Let’s begin by going through the required steps to get your business up and running.
1. Refine your idea
While you may think that you already have your idea down pat, be sure that you've narrowed down the four W’s: who, what, where, why. You should be able to easily answer the following questions without having to dig too deep. To whom is this business targeted? What are the exact goods or services being offered? Where will they be offered (locally or nationally)? And finally, why is this a good business idea? By following this process, you'll be sure that your idea has not strayed into a broad territory.
2. Assess your finances
There is considerable cost to starting up a business, no matter the kind of business you're opening. Therefore you must determine an approximate amount need to get started and keep you afloat while you work to grow your customer list. The cost doesn't only include goods and transport; it will also include potential permit fees, registration fees, and salaries (if you are hiring). Be realistic in your cost assessment and see whether you can fund your business in its entirety, or will you need to borrow money? Financial help can go a long way and banking websites offer a lot of basic information regarding their lending services.
3. Determine your legal business structure
As mentioned above, your business structure can depend on where you are based. Whether you are building towards a partnership, a LLC, a corporation or a sole proprietorship, your business type and location may have an impact as well. The entity chosen will also affect your business name, your liability and also the financial structure. Besides investigative research through business manuals and websites, a good tip is to look to well-established local businesses that are similarly structured. While you shouldn't use another business as a complete blueprint for yours (since there is no guarantee that it's completely up to par with regulations) it does not hurt to have a visual of what you may potentially work towards.
4. Write a business plan
This step is necessary because not only will it help you render your ideas and previous assessments into a concrete structure (this will help enormously because it's when mapping out a plan where you'll be able to take care of any unforeseen loose ends) but it will be the tool used to present your business to the world. If you will be seeking financial aid, you will most definitely be asked to present your plan and the same can be said if you ever decide to take on a partner. A solid plan involves applicable market research. Take your time to note down all pertinent information acquired from researching. Assess your costs and consumer demands that will justify your business idea. If you are unsure of how to write up your plan, be sure to research examples of existing plans so that you have a better idea of how to begin. Click here for an excellent guide.
5. Get Licenses and Permits
Like it or not, paperwork is unavoidably a big part of starting and maintaining a business. You must never skip over any of these requirements because this will most likely impede your business advancement. Worse still, the lack of proper permits will result in far more trouble later should the business be audited. Therefore, make a list of every last bit of paper you need to make your business legitimate and sort it out right from the get-go. An important note is that every province functions under its own set of rules and regulations. This includes on registration method and type as well as tax payments.
The key to making your business profitable is to acquire a large but serviceable client base. Attracting customers and clients often sounds easy on paper but can be difficult if your marketing process isn't executed properly. Be sure not to skip over this step (!) but don't spend an unrealistic amount of time either since you have a lot to take of when managing a business. Start with the basics by creating a simple marketing plan that includes a personalized selling proposition unique to your business. Take the time to understand your target "audience" so that you use an effective method to reach them through advertising. For example, an Instagram campaign may work great for groups 18-35, whereas Facebook could be a better bet for a slightly older consumer range.
7. Grow your business
As your client list expands steadily, you may find yourself struggling to find time to manage your enterprise and meet all of your clients' needs. Once you've reached this stage, it's time to consider expanding your team. Assess your finances beforehand, preferably with a financial consultant at your local bank. A consultant will properly lay out the reality of your financial capabilities and help you stay within budget as you continue to grow as an enterprise and take on new employees. Another aspect to remember when hiring is to properly vet out the potential candidates. You will want reliable employees that you can trust with the job so that your team ultimately alleviates some of the pressure. Trust us when say that an unreliable team will do the exact opposite!
Make each day count
Being your own boss means that you will perform most of your duties on your own terms. While this is certainly a plus the downside to being on your own can sometimes mean that you will get caught up in the copious amount of tasks at hand and perhaps focus too much on the mundane and lose track of high-priority items.
First off, we advise you to do the obvious and make a literal list of priorities. Write it all down and don't leave a single task out, no matter how menial it may seem. Once that's done, schedule your tasks with dates and times. While scheduling, remember to include some buffer time between each task. Don't attempt to cram everything into a jam-packed schedule because that will lead to things falling by the wayside. By spacing tasks out, you'll find that you have more time and more energy to completing your work efficiently.
Another aspect to note when mapping out your list is which task demands more attention than others. For example, you've penned in going over your payables with a fine-tooth comb. That's great but that's exactly the sort of thing that can be done haphazardly if you are constantly interrupted by buzzing phones and notifications. Therefore, add a note to your schedule that you'll be offline while performing this task. By adding the note, you're more likely to follow through.
One final thing to considering would be to plan ahead of time how to distribute some of the work. If you have an employee who is capable and efficient, you should take advantage and find a way to divide certain tasks that either you or your employee can complete. Your time will be consumed with growing your business and turning a healthy profit. Learn to surround yourself with reliable people, therefore delegating will be that must easier on those particularly grueling days!