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How to start your own business

How to start your own business
People consider starting their own business for a variety of reasons. Setting up your own business allows you to work for yourself rather than someone else gives you some flexibility with your work schedule or allows you to express your creativity in the product or service you offer. Though starting your own business requires dedication and commitment, the rewards may be well worth the effort. In this article, we discuss how to get your business started.

Before You Begin: Get in the Right Mindset

The public often hears about overnight successes because they make for a great headline. However, it’s rarely that simple—they don’t see the years of dreaming, building and positioning before a big public launch. For this reason, remember to focus on your business journey and don’t measure your success against someone else’s.
Consistency Is Key
New business owners tend to feed off their motivation initially but get frustrated when that motivation wanes. This is why it’s essential to create habits and follow routines that power you through when motivation goes away.
Take the Next Step
Fearless leaps or endless planning? Neither. Mapping your goal's every step and prioritizing their sequence, regardless of timeframe, is the recipe for progress. Take the next step, repeat.

1. Start with a Good Business Idea

If you’re wondering how to start a business, it may be easier than you think. Like other successful businesses, you’ll want to make sure you have a good idea first. From there, you can build a product or service that solves a need for consumers. But before you jump into anything, you’ll want to make sure you do your research. This is crucial, because According to the SBA, approximately 80% of small businesses survive their first year. The survival rate increases to 50% after five years and 30% after ten years.
So, whether you’re starting a business in retirement or just looking to earn more cash, you’ll want to find the right startup growth strategies. Don’t be afraid of being a sole proprietorship and starting your company on your own because you can always grow and hire employees later on.
To help get ideas, think about these easy startup options:
20 jobs under the table

2. Research Your Competitors and Market

Know your rivals, know yourself. Most entrepreneurs polish their products to a shine but neglect to study their shadows. Investors and partners crave one answer: what makes you different? If your market analysis screams "saturated!", consider a niche pivot. Think beyond generic cleaning services: "pet-paradise cleanups" or "garage transformation specialists."
Primary Research:
Dive into primary research, gathering raw data straight from your potential customers, not dusty reports. Surveys, questionnaires, and (gasp!) actual conversations help you understand their desires. But hold off on chatting with Aunt Sally! Friends and family rarely translate to real-world buyers. Don't build a product based on hypothetical smiles, only to face a chorus of crickets at launch.
Secondary Research:
Secondary research lets you glean insights from existing sources like census data. It's like sifting through a pre-built sandcastle for your own architectural inspiration. While not as granular as primary research, it offers a broader landscape view.
Conduct a Strategic Analysis
Here you can find the most common Strategic analysis- tools and techniques to start a long-term business planning and the first step in the planning process.

3. Create Your Business Plan

A business plan is a dynamic document that serves as a roadmap for establishing a new business. This document makes it simple for potential investors, financial institutions and company management to understand and absorb. Even if you intend to self-finance, a business plan can help you flesh out your idea and spot potential problems. When writing a well-rounded business plan, include the following sections:
  • Executive summary: Highlights & goals (write last)
  • Company description: What you solve & why you're best
  • Market analysis: Competition, target market, size, trends
  • Organization & structure: Team, qualifications, legal form
  • Mission & goals: SMART objectives & roadmap
  • Products/services: Offerings, pricing, production, sourcing
  • Background summary: Relevant trends & research
  • Marketing plan: SWOT analysis, promotion strategy, budget, duration
  • Financial plan: Budget, projected statements, funding request (if applicable)

Come Up With an Exit Strategy
An exit strategy is important for any business that is seeking funding because it outlines how you’ll sell the company or transfer ownership if you decide to retire or move on to other projects. An exit strategy also allows you to get the most value out of your business when it’s time to sell. There are a few different options for exiting a business, and the best option for you depends on your goals and circumstances.
The most common exit strategies are:
  • Selling the business to another party
  • Passing the business down to family members
  • Liquidating the business assets
  • Closing the doors and walking away

Develop a Scalable Business Model
As your small business grows, it’s important to have a scalable business model so that you can accommodate additional customers without incurring additional costs. A scalable business model is one that can be replicated easily to serve more customers without a significant increase in expenses.
Some common scalable business models are:
  • Subscription-based businesses
  • Businesses that sell digital products
  • Franchise businesses
  • Network marketing businesses

4. Determine your legal business structure.

Your business structure plays dress-up, defining responsibility, taxes, and even your personal fate. Before taking the big leap, decide which cloak fits best.
Solo Hero:
Go it alone: The sole proprietor, a one-person show responsible for everything (including the financial risks). Great for simple businesses, but your personal assets are on the line.
Teamwork makes the dream work:
Partnership power: Join forces with like-minded co-founders, sharing both profits and liability. Choose wisely, complementary skills are key!
Corporate armor:
C or S corporation: Your business becomes a separate entity, protecting your personal assets. More complex setup and paperwork, but ideal for growth and attracting investors.
Hybrid haven:
Limited liability company (LLC): The best of both worlds. Get corporate liability protection and pass-through taxes like a partnership. A popular choice for small businesses.
Still unsure? Don't fret! Consulting a business or legal advisor helps you pick the perfect fit for your current needs and future aspirations.
Remember, the right structure sets the stage for your business adventure. Choose wisely!

5. Register Your Business and Get Licenses

1. Name game:
  • Choose a memorable, unique name available as a domain.
  • Don't infringe existing trademarks or company names.
  • File a DBA if operating under a different business name.

2. Register and identify:
  • File formation documents with your state.
  • Appoint a registered agent for legal paperwork.
  • Pay filing fees and get a certificate for licenses & bank accounts.
  • Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS (not necessary for sole proprietorships without employees).

3. License to launch:
    Local, state, and federal licensing requirements vary by industry.
    Consult your local government and consider legal advice for specific licensing needs.
  • Check your state and industry for further specifics.
  • Don't hesitate to seek professional guidance if needed.

6. Assess your finances.

Funding your startup, don’t run dry before takeoff.
  • Cost it out: Estimate startup costs and overshoot, profits take time.
  • Break-even analysis: Find your minimum sales to avoid losses and set production goals.
  • Price smart: Consider costs, competitors, and profitability to price.
  • Watch expenses: Avoid fancy frills, focus on essentials for growth.
  • Funding options: Loans, grants, investors, or crowdfunding.

7. Fund Your Business

There are many different ways to fund your business—some require considerable effort, while others are easier to obtain. Two categories of funding exist: internal and external.
Internal funding includes:
  • Personal savings
  • Credit cards
  • Funds from friends and family

If you finance the business with your own funds or with credit cards, you have to pay the debt on the credit cards and you’ve lost a chunk of your wealth if the business fails. By allowing your family members or friends to invest in your business, you are risking hard feelings and strained relationships if the company goes under. Business owners who want to minimize these risks may consider external funding.
External funding includes:
  • Small business loans
  • Small business grants
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capital
  • Crowdfunding

Small businesses may have to use a combination of several sources of capital. Consider how much money is needed, how long it will take before the company can repay it and how risk-tolerant you are. No matter which source you use, plan for profit. It’s far better to take home six figures than make seven figures and only keep $80,000 of it.
Funding ideas include:
Invoice factoring: With invoice factoring, you can sell your unpaid invoices to a third party at a discount.
Business lines of credit: Apply for a business line of credit, which is similar to a personal line of credit. The credit limit and interest rate will be based on your business’s revenue, credit score and financial history.
Equipment financing: If you need to purchase expensive equipment for your business, you can finance it with a loan or lease.
Microloans: Microloans are up to $50,000 loans that can be used for working capital, inventory or supplies and machinery or equipment.
Grants: The federal government offers grants for businesses that promote innovation, export growth or are located in historically disadvantaged areas. You can also find grants through local and regional organizations.
Crowdfunding: With crowdfunding, you can raise money from a large group of people by soliciting donations or selling equity in your company.
Choose the right funding source for your business by considering the amount of money you need, the time frame for repayment and your tolerance for risk.

8. Market Your Business

Many business owners spend so much money creating their products that there isn’t a marketing budget by the time they’ve launched. Alternatively, they’ve spent so much time developing the product that marketing is an afterthought.
  • Launch your online presence with a sleek website and professional email. Start simple and fast, but make a great first impression. As your business thrives, you can easily add more features and functionality.

  • Content creation: Videos, testimonials, blogs, demos - feed your audience valuable info.
  • Directory dive: Yelp, Google My Business, industry sites - get listed near your customers.
  • Social savvy: Join relevant platforms, engage your audience, drive traffic back to your website.

Remember, focus on Facebook and Instagram for built-in e-commerce and free ad training.
Market smart, launch strong!

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