How to Start a Small Business

Steps to put you on the path of building a successful small business

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Millions of people around the world launch their small businesses with the aim of achieving financial freedom and success. It is however important to note that not all small business owners taste the success that they originally set out to achieve. Many small businesses risk the chance of eventually closing within the first 5 years of operating. If you are committed to launching your business and quitting your day job, it is important that you give some thought to how you can best run and manage your small business so that you can bring your vision to life and allow it to thrive.

Step 1: Start with some market research

It all starts with a good business idea. Once you have your concept in mind, begin doing market research. How are other businesses in this industry doing? What businesses pose competition? Are they financially lucrative? Where is there an opportunity for you to fit in, and develop your own revenue? For example, some small business enterprises are successful and profitable because they solve an issue, or provide customers with something that they are looking for.

Your research should focus on what potential customers want and how best you can fulfill their needs. Observe businesses in a similar industry or similar size to yours, and learn about their operations. Also, make good use of analytical tools available to you to bring you all the data you need for your research. There are artificial intelligence development companies which are equipped with AI enabled softwares that can help you make your research more efficient with more filtered data. The options may all seem daunting at first, but the more you research, the more you’ll realize what key points are relevant to you and your new business.

Step 2: Come up with a distinct business plan

A proper business plan serves as a blueprint or roadmap, helping you chart a course to launching your small business and leading to further growth and expansion. Business plans vary based on the type of company, and can be as vague or as specific as you see fit. Consider the nature of the business, the opportunities at hand, the people involved in the business, how it will make money, and how it will overcome any risks or challenges.

A business plan is great to have when applying for financial loans or support from investors. This will provide them with an understanding of whether or not your business is a good fit for their investment, and how they will see their investment returned.

A business plan can also simply be a tool to serve you, to outline your goals and keep your business launch on track. You don’t need to have everything worked out about your business, but having a plan is a good way to create a general sketch of the things you have in mind, and how to achieve them.

While there are countless tools for you to build your business plan, one approach is using online design tools such as Adobe Spark Page. With Spark Page, you can create a landing page website for your business plan that can feature your written plan, along with photos, videos, hyperlinks, and more. Having a thorough, engaging business plan will help others envision your plan and its potential. And, having a web page with your business plan outline means you can present your plan wherever you go.

Step 3: Plan your finances

You do not need to have a wealth of capital to start your small business. As aforementioned, a proper business plan will allow you to seek loans or funding from investors by providing them with a financial plan for their investment. Mapping out your finances in as much realistic detail as possible will help you understand what your costs are, and how you can prepare to cover them. Make sure that the capital you earn to start your business has enough to cover all the expenses up to the point you start making a profit. There will be a number of one-time costs for your startup business, including licenses and permits, legal fees, equipment, branding, insurance, market research, trademark services, inventory, grand opening events and property leases, just to name a few. Then, consider the recurring costs like utilities, property rent, production costs, marketing and promotional costs, travel expenses, supplies and employee salaries.

There are a number of different ways in which you can achieve the financing that you need, such as financing from banks and other financial institutions, small business grants, small business loans, crowdfunding and angel investing. Another method for financing is called bootstrapping, which involves making use of the least possible capital amount for your business.

Step 4: Decide on a business structure

There are numerous structures you can choose from as you launch your own small business. Some of the popular forms of business structures include a limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, a corporation or a partnership business. The structure that you opt for is very important as it determines how you will register your business. You should also keep in mind that it impacts your taxes and liabilities as well as the name of your enterprise. For starters, you may want to choose a specific type of structure that suits your immediate needs. Later on, you can pivot to a different structure based on the changing and evolving needs of your business. Don’t neglect resources such as accountants or attorneys who can guide you to the right type of structure for your business.

Step 5: Choose a name for your business, and have it registered

It’s up to you how much importance you want to give to naming your company. While there are advantages to doing some sort of brand research and testing to find the optimal title, not all businesses need the most original and iconic name. Mostly, you want to consider a name that resonates with your business’s vision and ethos, and that will leave a positive or memorable impression with your customers. Generally, a good place to start is with something clear and concise, that clearly alludes to the purpose of your business. Also, consider something that stands out from other brands. Do some trial and error with friends, family, and mentors to see how they respond to any of your initial ideas. Once you find a winner, you can proceed with the registration of your business. Make sure that you understand the process of registration as it varies for different types of businesses.

Step 6: Develop your business’s name into a brand identity

The next step is to develop your business’s name into a brand identity. The first and most important step in this process is creating a logo. A logo communicates your brand’s name, purpose, and ethos all at once. While you can go about hiring professionals to create your logo, you can find just as much success by making it on your own. Online design tools like Adobe Spark Post make it possible for you to handcraft impressive logos without having any design experience. Spark’s Logo Maker app walks you through the process of turning your brand’s identity into a visual logo.

Step 7: Get the required permits and licenses

Businesses require a number of permits and licenses in order to begin operating. Such paperwork helps to make sure that your business follows the guidelines associated with your industry. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from lawyers and professionals who can assist you in making sure you check every box you need to.

Step 8: Connect with your target audience through marketing

While marketing deserves a role all its own, you may not have the budget for that in the early stages of starting up your small business. Fortunately, there are countless resources available to you at little or no cost to be able to get your marketing going so you can connect with your target audience and bring in business. Adobe Spark is a multifaceted tool when it comes to marketing.

Use Spark Page to create a landing page website for your business. With Spark Video, you can create video content or photo slideshows to give your audience a peek into your business. Spark Post is your go-to for all other graphic needs, from creating posters, flyers, brochures, gift cards, and any other sort of printed collateral. Or, make digital graphics for social media, emailers, digital ads, and web banners. You have all the tools at your fingertips to create compelling designs to promote your brand without having any design experience.

How to Start a Small Business

  1. Start with some market research

  2. Come up with a distinct business plan

  3. Plan your finances

  4. Decide on a business structure

  5. Choose a name for your business, and have it registered

  6. Develop your business’s name into a brand identity

  7. Get the required permits and licenses

  8. Connect with your target audience through marketing

Get ready to launch your small business

Some hopeful entrepreneurs choose to continue a full-time gig and build their small business after hours. This is a great way to feel financially secure, while earning extra capital to invest in your dream. Set milestones and outline your daily tasks to stay on track. Successfully manage both workloads by investing in organization and time tracker apps to monitor your productivity and strategically take advantage of your hours outside of your regular gig. This can also help you bill clients quickly and accurately, if needed.

These are some of the things you need to be aware of when you are launching a small business. You can certainly have a better scope of running your business smoothly when you follow the guidelines presented here. Always remember though that there will be unexpected challenges throughout the process. It will be advantageous for you to carry out your business in a way that can be flexible and responsive to change. Whenever you find yourself in a position that requires you to pivot, you can always return back to these guidelines to set you back on the path to success.

-This article is contributed by Logic Simplified -