Now for the bad news: you have a long path ahead to turn that idea into a well-functioning business. But if that first spark of inspiration was strong enough, it can carry you through all the steps ahead, from creating a strong business plan to dealing with obstacles as they inevitably arise.
Are you looking for a quick guide on how to make your startup successful? Then look no further than this short and sweet article, here to guide you through the first steps of starting your business.
Create a Business Plan
Whether you’re starting a specialty beverage business or a charitable nonprofit, you need to create a clear plan of action.
To start, consider the following questions:
- What are your expenses in terms of equipment, workspace, and labor?
- How long will it take you to start selling your product or service?
- What is your budget for marketing?
- How much will you make in the first month of business? The first year?
- How long will it take you to become profitable?
Nailing down the nuts and bolts of your business helps you visualize your next steps, and pitch your idea to potential investors.
Create a Legal Business Entity
To separate your personal finances from the risks of your startup, create a business entity.
Depending on your needs, it could be:
- A partnership
- An LLC
- An S-Corp
Don’t forget to open a separate business bank account for your new venture!
Next, it’s time to make sure you have the funds to get your business off the ground.
Perhaps you have personal savings that you’re willing to invest in your business. Even if this is the case, consider looking for other funding sources, since startups are inherently risky ventures.
Potential funding sources include:
- Small Business Administration loans
- Bank loans
- Seed funding from investors
- GoFundMe and other community platforms
Once you’ve secured that initial funding, follow your business plan to make sure you’re spending it wisely.
Decide on Your Workspace
One of the first steps to getting your business going is figuring out exactly where that business takes place! Many storied startups have started in garages. But if you don’t have one (or you prefer more ventilation), you have many other options.
If you need to work with your employees in-person, you can always rent an affordable shared office space. You could even choose to use it only a few days a week. After all, many Gen Z workers prefer flexible workspaces that combine in-person and online work.
As another cost-saving measure, consider starting up with 100% remote work.
Recruit Talented and Experienced Employees
Who’s going to work in that brand-new workspace?
You may already have a few friends or collaborators who can add value to your new startup. But if you’re looking for other employees to fill crucial roles, make sure you find local talent or experienced remote employees.
Here are a few tips to get you up-and-hiring:
- Pro recruitment software can make your life much easier.
- Keep your operation lean and mean, looking for employees who can fill several roles.
- Offer equity to recruit top talent.
Prepare Your Taxes—Early and Often
Even if you’re not making money, you need to get prepared for tax season. After all, you have employees, and you’ll need to provide them with W2s or 1099s.
Paying quarterly taxes can be baffling if you’ve never run a business before. Hire an accountant skilled in ProSeries tax prep software so that you can take advantage of every deduction and avoid overpaying during your first year in business.
Identify Your Audience and Start Marketing
Once your product is ready to launch, you want the strongest beginning possible. For this, marketing is key.
Make sure you:
- Identify your target audience – Who needs your product? Where can you reach them?
- Develop a brand identity – Your ads should be instantly recognizable.
- Create social media accounts – Make it easy for customers to find you across channels.
- Prepare to track analytics – Get ready to make adjustments to your first campaign.
If you’re not a marketing whiz, adding a marketing intern could pay dividends on your investment.
Ready, Set, Startup!
Hopefully, you’ve started to feel more confident in your product. If the ideas are already flowing, open a document and start drafting your business plan.
However, if you feel intimidated by all the steps, you’re not alone. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Amazon! Start with a strong business plan and then take your business step-by-step. The key to success is perseverance.
We can’t wait to see what you do!