Starting a business is an exciting time but can also be stressful and very involved with paperwork galore.
According to the Small Business Association, more than 627,000 new businesses open their doors each year. Unfortunately, the same report found that around 595,000 businesses close every year, too, meaning that getting off to the right start can be crucial.
In this post, we’re going to guide you through the initial steps you need to follow to start a business.
Get a business license.
Before you do anything else, you’ll want to get a business license. There are several different types, but most business licenses protect your personal assets. It’s best to speak to a qualified CPA with experience in small businesses so they can help you decide what would be best in the long-term.
Research industry and local licenses you may need.
In addition to a standard business license, you’ll need to check if there are any other licenses that you should get. This includes checking state and federal guidelines to look for licensing that either your industry or location requires.
If you’re unsure of what you need, you can consult a business lawyer about what you need to do to get things up and running, and they can often help you start the process. You can also learn more here.
Check insurance requirements.
You’ll want to look into insurance options for your business, too. Depending on your industry, there will be some types of insurance that you’re required to obtain.
If you’re not sure where to get started, speak to a business lawyer. They can help you assess what you need legally, what you should consider to protect your business, and what you can skip out on right now.
Assess your finances and secure funding.
Research early on, looking at how much startup capital you’ll realistically need, and anticipate that you won’t even break even the first six months or so. Then you can start to look at different funding options. You can review some of your options here.
Think about your business model and USP.
What exactly is it that you want your business to be? How do you want to operate, and what do you want to make you different? Think about this carefully. You won’t want to do anything else without tackling this first.
Get your inventory and equipment lined up.
Are you selling physical goods? Get your inventory lined up before you open your doors, even if that just means connecting with drop shippers.
Are you offering a service that requires equipment or software? This includes things like cleaning supplies or equipment or getting invoicing software ready so that you can process payments as soon as customers purchase.
Set up your website and contact information to launch.
One of the last steps you may need to make is getting your website and client-facing parts of your business up and running
Also, consider the process your visitors will experience when they attempt to get in touch with you. Make your phone number easy to find and clickable. Have a plan for answering your phones quickly and as close to 24/7 as possible. Consider providing leads with multiple ways to contact you such as email, live chat or a contact form as long as you have a way to answer them all.
There’s a lot of incredible things that business ownership can offer you, including unlimited earning potential, the flexibility of doing things your way, and the option to create something great that impacts others. These are some really powerful reasons to take the plunge and start your own business. With a little (or a lot) of paperwork and planning upfront, you’ll be well on your way.