One of the questions that I get asked the most is, "How do I start a (fill in the blank) business."
Once you know what kind of business you've been called to start, you can follow the following steps.I'm going to cover what type of business to start in a different post.
Google it. Yes, it's that simple. I'm surprised at how many people don't do a simple search on Google about their dream business. Try it. You will be surprised at how many results you get. For example, type in, "How to start a graphic design firm." As you continue to do internet research, you will probably find someone who is a pro in your field. Study them and if they offer courses or resources, you'll want to take advantage of those as well.
Check with your local city and state offices and if necessary, a lawyer and accountant. You can look up your city and state websites to find out if there are any licenses or permits you need to set-up shop. Many street vendors need permits and hairstylists often must be licensed. You'll want to stay in compliance with any local laws to avoid being fined. Also, it's important that you think about taxes before you launch your business. Ask your local accountant for tax advice. Some industries are inherently more risky and will require the advice of a licensed attorney.
Make a plan. A business plan is essential to starting your business. You'll want to cover your business name and mission, start-up costs, what types of products or services you will offer, how much you will charge, what specific niche you're targeting, who your target market is and what the opportunities are in your current market. The SBA has a great business plan template here.
Set-up shop. If you're selling a product, you will need your inventory. If you are offering a service, you will need forms, contracts and a process for serving your clients. You will also need a website, business cards and to set-up your social media profiles. In addition, you may need a business bank account and Paypal account. Use your business plan as a guide and brainstorm everything you'll need to set-up shop in excellence and in order.
In another post I'll cover how to choose a name for your business, how to design business cards, purchasing a domain and setting up a website, and various ways to monetize your business. Once you've completed these four steps, you are well on your way to owning a successful business.
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