Ask any entrepreneur and they'll likely tell you there's nothing like running your own business. If you're dreaming of the day you can be your own boss, it's time to wake up and make your dreams into a reality. A few simple steps can help get you ready to hit the ground running with your new business venture. Be sure to tackle these small business startup tips first to give your company the best possible chance at success.
Even if you're still working a day job, you can put your plans in motion to build your own small business startup. Working on the side can help you to build a nest egg or save some startup capital to go full-time with your career aspirations. If you're quitting your day job cold turkey, the same rough rules will apply. Here are a few tips to ensure your company is as organized and visible as possible from day one.
1. Create a Business Plan
Your business plan can be a single page or two pages long. It can be several hundred pages long. Only you know how much detail you'll need to map out in order to be successful with your ideas. Start with a single page business plan that identifies your products or services, your customers, how your offerings will help them, payment and revenue streams, your intended PR and advertising efforts, success metrics, and challenges you'll need to surmount.
2. Register Your Business
File any required paperwork to incorporate a business with the appropriate government department within your state. Consider whether you will file for a fictitious name, register a trademark, or other documentation.
3. Design a Logo
Hire a graphic designer or create a logo yourself to establish your brand identity. Your logo will grace just about every aspect of your corporate presence, online and in print.
4. Set Up a Website
If your potential customers can't find you, it’ll be nearly impossible to make any money. Even if you plan to keep it simple, create a website where your prospects can learn more about your business.
5. Secure the Social Media Properties for Your Company
Regardless if you don't plan to use them right away, sign up for an account using your business' name to protect your brand.
6. Get Business Cards Printed
Every business card you hand out is an opportunity to make a connection that may come back as a new client. Include your contact information in an easy-to-read format and complete the look with a personal yet professional touch, matching your brand’s aesthetic.
7. Open a Corporate Bank Account
Get into the practice of keeping your business and personal spending separate from the get-go. When tax season approaches, you'll be especially glad you did.
8. Open a PO Box
Keep your business mail separate from your personal mail and avoid getting even more junk mail at home with a PO Box. Use this address on your business cards, and that way if you end up renting new office space or moving locations in the future, you won't have to worry about missing out on mail sent under a previous address.
9. Join Local Networking Groups
Get to know other business professionals in your area by joining a few groups. The local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start, by introducing you to marketing and sharing your business with like-minded entrepreneurs. Some of the connections you make in these networking groups may be beneficial in the years to come. Remember, you get out of it what you put into it.
10. Issue a Press Release or News Article About Your Company
Spend time crafting a message about your company and what you offer. Include a newsworthy spin to help secure press space or media coverage. At the very least, publish your press release online and on your own website to get the information out there.
11. Host a Grand Opening Ceremony
Enjoy being officially welcomed into the community with a grand opening ceremony. It does not have to be extravagant; however, it should highlight your hard work and enthusiasm. Invite the public for an open house so they can get to know your business. Creating a welcoming atmosphere by offering light snacks and refreshments will leave a lasting first impression on your customers and they will appreciate your effort. You can also hold a raffle to get your products front and center before your potential new customers.
This roadmap of small business startup tips will get your wheels moving in the right direction. Make yourself a checklist to keep track of your progress and keep working to raise awareness of your new company's launch. Create a calendar and mark down tentative timelines that align with goals and events for your business. As with many things in life, there's no perfect science to success. This list is not the be-all, end-all, but it should get your momentum going so you can kick off your company's first year in business effectively and with vivacity.
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