Starting a Small Business
Anyone can dream of opening their own business, but not everyone dares to turn that dream into reality. As they say, doing business also means a lot of sacrifices and taking risks. And no, this phrase isn’t meant to scare you but rather motivate you to become a successful small business owner while strategically embracing the uncertainties.
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If you plan to open a small business this year, but you find yourself asking the question “where and how do I begin?” don’t worry; you’re on the right track. Below are a few simple steps you might want to consider to help you kickstart your business venture.
1. Start with an idea, then plan.
Establishing a small business always starts with an idea. With that in mind, the next thing you have to do is research about it. Learn more about other similar products/services offered by your local competitors, conduct market research to gather information about potential customers, and use that to your advantage.
Researching will then lead you to your next step: planning. Doing business involves a lot of planning. It’s not just during the early stages but will always be a central part that will drive your business to get going. A well-written business plan is key towards more informed decision-making and allows you to assess things more objectively.
When making a business plan, there’s no wrong or right format. As long as your goals are clear, your target market is defined, the methods you are going to undertake are stated, and how you’re going to fund your business is included. You can choose a format that will work best for you but don’t forget these essential elements.
2. Pick your ‘fighter’: Choose the right tools.
A part of strategic planning is knowing the right tools to assist you with every transaction you will make. Most often than not, those new to the business world always focus on the ‘what’ and ‘who’ aspects but only put little emphasis on the ‘how.’
Just like knowing what you will sell and who you’re going to sell it to, how you will deliver is also important. With the current setup where almost everyone relies on their gadgets and the internet, utilizing online tools gives you an ‘advantage point.’
One example is using a business software like Weave. With this, you can connect to your customers more efficiently, offer your services conveniently, and even manage your team with ease. Despite the changes in regulations brought by unexpected events, using reliable business software allows you to keep your business running.
3. Look for ways to fund your business.
Aside from planning and strategizing, funding your business is also critical in maintaining it. By understanding how much you’re going to need, you can look for ways on how you’re going to supply that much amount. You may have some saved-up money, but sometimes, it might not be enough.
You can continue your day job while keeping your small business as a sideline for the time being. However, if you truly want to focus on growing the business, you can approach potential investors or opt to apply for business loans.
When you do apply for loans, remember that there are specific criteria you must qualify for, such as a good to excellent credit score. Some lenders can also consider fair to poor credit, but the options are usually limited. Thus, you must keep your record clean to increase your chances of qualifying.
4. Know your legal and tax responsibilities.
Before you can operate your business, you need to secure a variety of licenses, permits, and IDs. Being legally compliant can help you run your business smoothly. Do not skip this part, especially during the earliest phases of establishing your business, because it can save you if ever trouble that requires legal attention might come.
These legal requirements can vary depending on the business structure, state, location, and other factors. However, most of the common requirements include operating agreements, income tax forms, or insurances. Some states might also require you to get an Employer Identification Number.
5. Don’t forget to advertise.
Make your business visible through advertisements. Gone are the days of expensive radio broadcasts or tiresome print ads (though you can still see some of them). However, a more updated and faster way to advertise is through digital marketing. Having a digital presence allows you to reach your target customers efficiently.
You can use social media channels to promote your small business. This might be a cheaper option, but the quality of advertising is still there. You can post some pictures, add catchy captions, and even gather customer feedback and share them online (but with your customer consent, of course).
This will increase your credibility and attract many more customers to avail of your products or services.
Indeed, venturing into the business world entails a lot of drafting, planning, complying, advertising (and sacrificing). But as long as you know where and how to start, it will only be a matter of time until you can taste the fruit of your hard-earned labor. It might be a long journey ahead but keep on moving until you reach the dream.
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