"Ok, Ok, Ok, Ok!!!" You have formulated a small business idea and you are ready to get started but how, where, and when???? (These are our opinions, not the only answers)
Determining the legal structure of your business is the first step. Will it be a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, etc. The legal framework will protect you, your employees to some extent and it is a critical decision to be made. Learn as much about the advantages and disadvantages for each structure. Talk with legal counsel as well. Learn more at IRS Business Structures.
At the same time, begin identifying and collecting the capital you will need to start your business. If you are opening a physical location, having enough capital to pay your rent or real estate loan payments for several months is advisable. Starting any business takes time and you need time to grow your customer base.
Your branding and marketing campaigns should be started once you have set an opening date and established your legal status as a business. (Note: You may need to clearly identify what legal status your business is in your advertising.) This allows you to get your company in front of potential customers before your doors open. Get help if branding and marketing is not one of your strengths. Factor those costs into your budget.
Simultaneously, gather supplies, materials, and other items you will need to effectively run your business. Once you open it will be hard to find time to complete some of the simplest tasks like ordering office supplies.
All of these items can be addressed in a small business strategic plan. Carefully thinking through today what you will need to do tomorrow will ensure you are organized and prepared. (See our blog, "Strategic Planning for Small Business")
The best advice we can give is get going. Start with your business idea, identify a start-up date and get to work. Some of the best small business "ideas" remain just an idea unless you create a plan and put it into motion.
Best wishes with your small business!!!!
"Guaranteed Success!!!!" Arghhhh.....there are several advertisements out there that guarantee your small business success or growth. Unfortunately most are not true without other key elements.
Your success depends on several factors:
Next time you see one of those ads guaranteeing growth of your business, increased traffic to your website, consider, "What do they know that I don't?"
Here's a quick checklist for small businesses in advance of any holiday:
Thinking in advance can help you take advantage of the holidays, increase your sales volume, and have a more enjoyable experience as you help your customers.
If you are considering starting a small business the type of web page you should consider for your business can be a simple decision. Consider that your small business must have a web page. Why? Can you find your phone book right now? If you are going to try and find a business, more than likely, (over 85%), you are going to your smartphone, tablet or computer to find a business.
Here are some basic web page styles you should consider creating for your business:
All websites MUST!!!!!! No matter which website style you choose, you should include the following in your website creation:
Create a website for your small business that suits your business type. Change it up as your business needs change. Give thought and then care-and-feeding once your website is started to increase your chances to increase sales.
Whether you are just starting out or have been in business for a year or two it is important to look to the future, imagine what your business will look like in a few years. Will it have grown, have added products and services?
There are a lot of opportunities for you to prepare your business today to meet future growth.
1. Educate yourself - Whether you are a service or product based business, now is the time to begin learning more about how to operate your business, and new innovations in your product or service line. Adding skills to your personal business inventory will prepare you to grow your business. Consider other areas of your business such as accounting practices, supervision/management, marketing, or learning new skills to make you more productive and efficient.
2. Look for opportunities to upgrade - Do you have a production machine that is nearing it's productive life cycle, or have business technologies that are nearing the time for replacement? Consider an upgrade that will help you improve your business rather than replacing with the same equipment/technology. Having the infrastructure already in place will help you meet business growth with little effort.
3. Build capital - When you start seeing profits, put some away for a rainy day and for when you are ready to expand your business. We call these funds our "Fall Back, Fall Forward" money. Having the necessary capital without having to borrow is a safer, not to mention a less stressful way to invest in your business. Building capital, business savings, will help you in so many ways. Also, investing in your business before you grow can provide some interesting economics for your business. Consider taking on new product lines without having a large upfront investment because you already prepared for it.
4. Be mindful of "pop-up" opportunities - Depending on your business, there may be opportunities that just materialize. Maybe a competing consulting service is going out of business, or a local retail competitor. This may the opportunity your business needs to grow. Some call it environmental scanning. Take a few hours to scan your business environment to identify opportunities, and of course risks so you can plan accordingly. You might be able to take on clients from failed or closing businesses, or buy up supplies from a competitor to help you grow your product line.
Overall, practice, "Think Now for Tomorrow" - As you navigate the business world, thinking about what you are doing today, as compared to what you will need to do tomorrow, will allow you to make strategic planning decisions.
For example: One of our clients who had been in business for about a year ask us to review their existing technology and business infrastructure to determine what it would look like when their business expanded. We provided a picture of what it would look like. As service contracts expired, they upgraded, they invested more in their marketing, and technology. We assisted in developing company policies, mapping key processes, employee training programs, and procedures that would accommodate growth. Eighteen months later their business did grow exponentially and they were prepared. One employee that had been with the company since the beginning commented, "It's really hard to remember what it was like the first year we started because we always new it would be like it is today."
We think the key to their growth was their vision that they would in fact grow their business even when they were small. They never considered they would not. Keeping your vision on the future while keeping an eye on what you can do today to prepare is a great way to grow.
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950 Eagles Landing Pkwy, Suite 422
Stockbridge, GA 30281