The moment you decide you want to start your own business - you'll more than likely be stumped with all the overwhelming information available.
Don't fall into that trap! Before you launch your business, there's a few non-complicated, essential factors that you must consider implementing. When I started my marketing and consulting business in 2015, I craved discernment and a good decision-making ability. It's natural to feel confused as you try to start and grow your business because you're carving out a path that's never been forged before.
In this article, we break down 10 intelligent things to consider before you deep dive into entrepreneurship. Let's begin!
1. Be Smart About the Name
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when you’re starting a business is what to call it. You may have already been brainstorming unique, inspiring business names. There’s no right or wrong way to choose a business name.
Your company’s name can be related to what you are selling - Pepsi, was taken from the digestive enzyme Pepsin.
It can be about who you are - Adidas, was named after the owner's nickname Adi.
Or it can be entirely random; for example, Baldwin, the owner of Starbucks, was an English professor and ‘Starbucks’ is inspired from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Be smart, be witty, and choose something that actually represents your vision for your brand!
One important thing to remember to do in this step is to check if your name is available. The literal worst is to FINALLY have the perfect name for your business picked out only to find out that it’s already taken.
Also be sure to check domains to see what is available and what’s not for when it comes down to your future website.
Lastly, check to see if the name is already taken in your state or of there's a federal trademark on the name - in either case, you might not be able to use the name. My advice is to check names as soon as you think of them, as this could be a make or break factor!
2. Write a Business Plan
Organizing and planning is the backbone of just about everything that we do in our everyday lives - and starting a business is no exception.
A business plan is a way of formally organizing all the practicalities involved in starting and running a business. I highly recommend setting aside some time to create a business plan for your business, you’ll thank us later! For other things we highly recommend doing read our article on, 9 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make and How to Avoid Them.
A business plan includes a summary, a market analysis, list of people who will run it, the legal structure of your business, the services or products you’re selling, the sale strategy, the financial outlook, and so on.
This can go a long way into helping you create concrete ideas, putting them into motion, and identifying the places that require change. You can find simple to complex templates on the internet to use depending on the size and structure of your business.
3. Have a Passion For What You’re Doing - And the Skills and Time!
“People with passion can change the world.” Steve Jobs once said, recalling a time when his company was near bankruptcy and it was only his love for what he did that kept him going. Cultivating your passion by tying what you're doing with your WHY - your purpose - can help put your business in perspective and offer additional motivation when other reasons for keeping going just aren't cutting it.
Starting your own business and becoming a boss babe is an extremely rewarding experience - but it can also be a journey filled with hassles, frustrations, dead ends and sleepless nights. Being an entrepreneur is far from easy.
You can’t get through everything without having a passion for what you do AND a drive to weather all the storms.
Keep in mind though, that passion alone isn’t enough. During these beginning stages, try to understand your own strengths, skills and available time. Do you have the skills required to run a clothing line - like experience in designing, or a formal education in textiles? Practically, how much time can you give to your side hustles when you have children to take care of and a full-time job? Do you possess leadership skills required to lead a team or should you hire someone else to do it for you?
If you don’t have some of the skills required to follow your business dreams, don’t stress! So many entrepreneurs are self taught in certain skills. If you lack interest or a drive in certain areas don’t hesitate to plan on outsourcing them to someone else. Know all your strengths and weak points from the beginning, so you can make the best decisions for your business to succeed. Check out my blog post, 9 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make and How to Avoid Them, to learn to identify common assumptions that many entrepreneurs make about running their business.
4. Research Your Customers
Businesses generate income through their customers - so it’s important to spend time understanding your target audience and get to know them. This is called market research, which you can conduct in the form of online surveys or polls on social media.
Before you invest anywhere you need to know who is going to buy from you. What is the acceptable price range for them? What are their buying habits? What do they want and need? How can you meet those needs?
Another helpful way in which you can gain insight on customers is by watching your competition - go through their website, understand what their customers are saying on their social media, and so on. For example, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts took note of Starbucks’ customers complaining of the price hikes, and adjusted their own prices low so people buy their coffee instead.
In short, take a look at all the things they’re doing wrong so you can offer them what they aren’t getting from others and all in all, do them right.
5. Decide on the Right Business Entity
There are three structures that your business can take; sole proprietor, partnership, or a corporation. Each of these impact your business differently, because they all come with a different set of paperwork, tax responsibilities, the percentage of profit that you’re entitled to and the loss that you incur.
Take the time to research each of these three structures to find which one resonates with what you’re planning your business to be.
6. Choose the Right Financing Avenue
Financing your startup is one of the biggest decisions you have to make in the entire process - so choose the avenue wisely. You can get bank loans, use a credit card, tap into your own savings, crowdfund from family and friends, or pledge some of your future earnings. Whatever avenue you choose, make sure it’s the right one for you.
Self-funding might mean you have to start off slow and sell your products in smaller chunks. But it also means you’re treading down a journey with minimal risks and overhead because loans from banks and family friends come with their own set of risks and headaches that not everyone is ready to deal with.
In the beginning, it can be hard to know what you don't know about running your business especially when it comes to money. If this is you, check out my blog post on How to Take Charge of Your Business Finances & Make Smart Investments That Grow Your Business.
7. Separate Business Accounts From Personal Accounts
It is very convenient and legally often necessary to separate your business account from your personal account from the get go. This will keep your business transactions separate, make it easier to work on your taxes, and isolate your business credit score for future loans.
8. Consider Hiring an Accountant
You can handle your finances, complete your tax returns and company accounts yourself - or you can consider getting an accountant. An accountant will save you a lot of hours and money, while also ensuring that the accounts are legal and that you're taking advantage of the most tax breaks possible. In my experience, an accountant is well worth the investment and breath of relief.
9. Delegate. Delegate. Delegate!
Running a business is a lot of work - and oftentimes, you need multiple experts on hand. An accountant is an absolute necessity, but you may also need a lawyer, an insurance agent, a marketing specialist, a web page designer, and so on and so forth.
You may want to do it all yourself - but remember, an expert hand will save you a lot of hassles and time. So don’t rule them out entirely, even if you can’t afford them at first.
10. Research Before Deciding the Price List
After you know what you’re selling and who the target market is, you have to decide the amount you’re going to sell your products for. This can largely depend on the market rate if you don't have a strong competitive advantage and value proposition. It can also depend on how much it costs you to provide the product or service, your competition's business operations, and the quality of your products and services.
Be absolutely certain to try to stay away from trading time for money because you only have so many available hours and once you sell them off, your business will plateau. Instead, create packages and/or look to see how you can increase the average order value.
Don't Reinvent the Wheel
I hope you found this article if 10 things to consider in the initial stages of starting your business helpful. Remember to do them now and not try to later down the road, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Be sure to get your FREE business success guide, where I share all of the things I wish I had known when starting my business.
Starting your own business is an exciting journey to be on, and I will always be in your corner cheering you on!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, FRANCIE HINRICHSEN
Hi there, I'm Francie. I started my business, Simply Integrated, in 2015 and have fallen madly in love with teaching small business owners how to start, grow, and market the successful and profitable business they dream about.
My knowledge and experience comes from earning an MBA and from coaching small business entrepreneurs while managing and marketing their projects. I focus solely on business strategy and marketing and created this blog to help others run more successful businesses. If you’re interested, you can read more about me on the About page of Simply Integrated’s website.
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