Steps to Starting a Small Business What are the necessary steps to starting a small business? What are the things you need to take into account before launching into your entrepreneurship adventure as a small business owner? Starting a small business requires determination, motivation, and know-how. This post provides concise checklist of the critical steps you need for a successful business launch. Choose a Small Business Idea to implement - You can’t be a jack of all trade in business. Trying to do multiple things and calling yourself a general contractor is not the way to go. Even though there are multitudes of business opportunities, you only need one to succeed. The major factor is for you to determine where your passions lie and do what you enjoy doing as business. Of course that must be aligned with the changing reality in the industry you want to operate in. You should be out to serve others, not to please yourself! Money follows service, not pleasure. Choosing the Legal Form of Business – Deciding on the legal form of your business is not a decision to be taken lightly. Whether you choose to run a sole proprietorship, enter into partnership with another entrepreneur or form a corporation; your choice must be made with carefulness. This is because the business structure you choose will have an impact on your business and personal liability, how easy you’ll be able to raise fund as well as what your tax liabilities will be. Name Your Business – You need to give your business, a name that project the right image. The name should be such that will not only distinguish you from others, but such that is easy to remember. Avoid names that are too long or complicated to pronounce. Remember word of mouth marketing is still about the most effective marketing strategy for any business. If your customer can’t remember your business name, something is wrong. If they find it difficult to pronounce it, because it is tongue twisting, then you have a problem. Develop a Business Plan – A business plan is the blueprint or roadmap that shows how you intend to implement your business vision successfully. It should take note of the nature of the industry you wish to work in, set strategies for handling competitors and spell out the various resources that you will need to invest in the business. Remember those who fail to plan have already planned to fail. Don’t carry your business plan in your head, commit it into writing no matter how small the business is. Get Startup Capital – The fund for startup is a critical issue to be decided upon carefully. If you are a newbie entrepreneur, I will advise that you avoid as much as possible, the temptation of taking a small business loan from either the government or your banker. You are better off raising soft-loans from several friends and relatives. My reason for this is because the probability of you loosing part or all of your startup capital is very high. Lack of experience is a serious challenge to newbie entrepreneurs, so start small with capital you can loose without going bankrupt. Select a business location – If you are starting off in your home, then this may not be an issue (depending on the kind of business anyway). When choosing a business location, you need to take into account accessibility to your suppliers and clients. You may need a business mentor to assist you in choosing a good business location. Get necessary business licenses and permits – Before launching out, it is necessary you get familiar with the government requirement for the kind of business you wish to engage in. ensure you get all the various licenses and permits that are statutorily required for you to operate the business. Playing ignorant in this area can be disastrous. Remember, being ignorance of the law is no excuse from jail term. Getting the necessary paperwork sorted out is always cheaper than hiring a lawyer to prove that you didn’t mean to break the law. Establish an Accounting System – No matter how small your business is, right from day one, you need to keep accurate record of every transaction. You may not need a professional accountant to keep your day to day record, but you need one to advise you on the kind of record you need to keep so that you don’t get yourself into trouble with the Tax authorities in your locality. If you can’t afford to pay one, make friend with one and ask for his/her assistance. It can be heart breaking when you loose all your earnings or get yourself a jail term just because you fail to handle your Tax matter the way it ought to be. Never be penny wise pound foolish. Insure Your Business – Wise entrepreneurs share risk. Why must you carry all the risk all by yourself? For a token amount paid periodically, you can share the risks associated with your business with an insurance company. No bother prays for disaster or law-suit, but it does happen. It is better to prepare than to be caught unaware. Start Your Own Small Business Now!
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