Things to consider when starting your business
Who are your customers?
You must determine your target customer to determine the level of demand for your
product or service. When defining your customer, you will want to know their age, sex,
income level, where they are located, and their ability to pay. This type of demographic
information can be found through a variety of outlets.
Here are some sources-
Your local library- Your reference librarian can be of great help
www.census.gov - Information from recent government census’
www.osuedc.org - Information on specific Ohio County profiles
www.bls.gov/cex -Consumer expenditure survey
Is there a demand?
Will your target customer be willing to purchase the product/service? If so, how much
will they be willing to pay? How often will they buy?
The answer to these questions can be found by identifying your target customer and then
asking the about your potential product/service. This can be done through formal or
Who is your competition?
You will need to know who else is doing what you want to do. You will also want to
know what they are doing that you can do better. What is your competitor doing well?
From what area are they drawing their customers? Is there sufficient demand to support
your business? Will you be able to draw customers away from your competition>
www.bizstats.com - industry information
http://sbdcnet.org/industry.php - industry information
Will the sale of your product/service generate a profit?
Will your target customer be willing to pay more for the product/service than it will cost
you to produce/deliver?
From the information you gathered in this question, you should have an idea of what your
customers are willing to pay. You should also determine (as best you can) how much it
will cost you to produce your product/service. Is the difference a net profit or a deficit?
When trying to determine your costs, make sure you include all expenses (fixed &
variable). Don’t forget to include things such as repayment of debt, insurance, equipment
maintenance, utilities, taxes, etc. Once you have determined your total costs, simply
divide by the cost per potential units sold.
Total costs ÷ cost/unit sold = # of units.
$2000.00 ÷ $5.00 = 400 units sold just to cover expenses.
Is this a reasonable number of units? Can you consistently sell 400 units/per month? Can
you sell more than 400 units/month? (to generate a profit you would have to sell more
than 400 units)
How will you establish your company?
Will you be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or a limited liability company, etc?
How you structure your company can have implications or matters related to taxes,
insurance, liability, succession planning and many other factors. You should consult with
your attorney and or accountant to determine which is best for you.
Basic information on company structure can be found at:
Will you have employees?
If yes, you will need to contact the IRS & the Ohio Department of Taxation as well as
Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
When hiring employees, you will need to ensure that you follow proper procedures and
follow applicable regulations.
For more information, the 1st Stop Business Connection is a great place to start.
What will you name your business?
If you are a sole proprietor, you can do business using your own name.
If you are using a fictitious name for your business, you will need to register the name.
You can register your business name at:
Chose "Start an Enterprise."
For more in-depth information about starting a business in Ohio check out these links:
The answers to these questions will be incorporated into your business plan. To begin
writing you plan click here.
Another question you will have to answer when starting your business is, "How will you
finance the project?" For more information about financing your project go to Financing