Starting a new business can be overwhelming, especially for those who are new to entrepreneurship and who are not quite sure how to start a business. When you go looking for help in starting a business, you will be bombarded with advice and suggestions, and various tasks that need to be done before you can actually start building your business. It is definitely a lot to handle. To help make the process easier, here are the steps you need to take to set up your business; as well as some tips to help get your business started on the right foot.
Determine what type of business you want to start
It probably goes without saying, but you need to determine what sort of business you want to start before you can actually move forward. You have to have a clear idea of what your business will do, because you may require special licences or insurance depending on what your business does.
Register with the relevant government agency
In pretty much every country, the first step in starting a business is registering with the relevant government authority and making sure they understand that you are self-employed. For example, if you are in the United Kingdom, you are going to want register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC). You also need to determine the structure of your business, is your business going to be a sole trader, a limited company, or a partnership? Registering as a sole trader is the easiest method, but it also means that your personal finances will not be separated from your business’ finances; so any debts your business occurs, you also occur. On the other hand, if you register as a limited company, you will take on more obligations, but your personal and business finances will be kept separate.
Licences and insurance
The next step is to determine if you are going to need any sort of licences or special insurance to operate. For example, if your business plans to do anything related to food, you are going to need a special licence to operate.
Picking your name
Once you have your insurance and licence issues sorted out, you can move onto picking your business’ name. Now, most people probably think of this well in advance, but if for some reason you can’t think of a good name at the moment, just use a generic name. As long as you don’t print marketing materials with the name on it, and you don’t have any employees, the name of your business is fairly easy to change (you just need to inform the HRMC).
Set up a separate bank account
Depending on the structure of your business (sole trader versus limited company) you may be required to set up a separate bank account for your business. If your company is registered as a sole trader, then legally speaking you do not have set up a separate bank account, but it is highly recommended that you do so anyways.
After that has been set up, you are ready to start building your business. But that’s easier said than done. To help out prospective business owners, here are some tips to help get your business started on the right foot.
Come up with a set of realistic goals
The first thing you want to do is come up with a realistic plan for your business. You should come up with goals, and then detail strategies for meeting those goals. You also want to visualize all the potential issues that could negatively impact your business. Make sure you have plans for how to deal with these potential problems.
Develop a marketing strategy
One of the biggest issues you are going to have to face as a new business owner is raising awareness about your business. So, do some research and develop a coherent marketing strategy. With the advent of social media, marketing your business became much easier, but you still need to develop a strategy to take full advantage of these new platforms. Depending on the nature of your industry, there might be trade shows or other related events that you can attend, where you can get your business’ name out there.
Know who your competitors are
Running a successful business requires you to be better than your competition. So, take a look at your likely competitors and see what they are doing, note what they do well and where they could improve. Use this information to structure your own business. Do you notice that customers are constantly complaining about a competitor’s bad customer service? If so, make sure that your business doesn’t fall into the same trap and try to communicate to customers that your customer service is better than your competitor’s.
Develop a budget and stick to it
As you are getting your business started up, you are going to want to create a budget. Analyse what resources you have, and make an estimate of your initial earnings and expenses. Make sure that when you are estimating your earnings and expenses you take the more cautious route, don’t overestimate your earnings and don’t underestimate your expenses.
Starting a business is stressful, and you are going to have work extremely hard at first to get your business off the ground. During these initial months, you have to be careful because it is very easy to become burned out and lose your passion. When you lose your passion, your business is going to suffer. So, make sure you find a good balance between work and relaxation. The world of business is filled with stories of people’s health and relationships suffering because the person got too caught up their business, don’t be one of those people.
Hopefully, this guide has aided those who did not know how to start a business. This isn’t meant to be a definitive guide, and depending on the nature of your business you may need to go through some extra hoops. But, these tips and instructions are still a very good starting point for those new to entrepreneurship.