In the United States, there are about 28 million small businesses, and that makes up more than 99 percent of businesses nationwide, according to the Small Business Administration. If you have a business plan in mind and want to start your own small business, there are a lot of steps in the process for sure. However, there are seven most important things you really need to start a business.
1. A Well-Researched Business Plan
You may have already done some research to help bring you to the conclusion that you have a good business model. However, before you get started with a definite plan, there are certain things that should be delved into rather deeply, such as:
- Who will be your primary competitors?
- What will your target customer/client look like?
- How will your business fit into the market?
- Does your product/service fill a need?
With this research, build a blueprint of your business. This blueprint will hold everything from where your business will begin to where you plan for it to be in the future.
It's easy to underestimate how much money you will need to get you started and sustain you or your family as you grow your business. To get an idea of how much funding is required, make a spreadsheet that shows what you will need for business startup, securing a location, hiring help, paying fees, buying permits and licenses, and so forth. You should also get a general ballpark figure of how much it will take to sustain your business for at least a year.
3. A Registered Business Name
Registering a business name is not all that hard, but it is something that should be done in the early stages of development. First, do some research to make sure the name you want is not already taken. You will likely have to register your business name with the state or county where you live, and your business should also be registered with the IRS.
4. Licenses & Permits
Find out what licenses and permits you need to operate a business in your location. What is required will be different according to what type of business you plan to open. In some cases, you will need both state-level and federal-level permits or licenses.
5. A Business Logo
A logo is a critical piece of your business. Eventually, this will be the image that customers/clients associate with your business brand, so proper attention to logo creation is vital. It's a good idea to work with a professional graphic designer to get the initial logo developed.
6. An Operating Location
Laying out your operating location, even at home, is important. Go ahead and set up your equipment and check with the local governing agencies about rules that apply to home-based businesses to make sure you are in compliance. If you need a commercial space, you should locate it as early as possible.
7. Business Signs
Signs are one of your business's primary marketing materials. Work with a professional sign company to design and develop the signs you need for your business location. It is best to incorporate your logo into the signage you have made and keep certain things consistent, such as font or color scheme.
With a well-built business model and the right things tacked down before you open shop, you can grow your small business into a successful, lucrative venture.