You are finally doing it. You decided to take the plunge and start that business you’ve always dreamed of starting. You get to be your own boss, make your own rules, and potentially be successful beyond your wildest imagination. You’ll most likely also get a lot of satisfaction out of running your own company.
So, you’ve really thought about it, and you’re ready. Now what? Here are 12 essential steps to starting a small business.
1. Create a business plan
Your business plan will be the blueprint you follow as you start and run your business, so you want it to be as detailed as possible. In fact, to complete the remaining 11 steps, you’ll need to implement a solid business plan first. Your business plan should include an overview of your goals and the steps you plan to take to reach your goals. You should also include various funding options and a working budget based on your proposed plan.
2. Explore financing
How much financing will you need to get your business off the ground? What are your options? You may bootstrap your business, which means to build it from the ground up using only your savings. You can utilize personal savings, get a small business loan, or find investors. There are pros and cons to each option, so you will need to research them and decide what is best for you and your new business.
3. Research locations
The best location for your business will depend on the type of business you are starting. Whether you need an office, warehouse space, or retail storefront, research the best location for a successful start to your business.
4. Learn about software needs
Bright Pattern offers a wide range of software solutions for businesses. Their CRM contact center software allows you to customize your customer’s experience, store and organize all customer data, and monitor the activities and success of your business. For a new business, building your brand and customer base will be critical to your long-term success. Starting out with CRM contact center software that will allow you to provide superior customer service will create a solid foundation that you can build on. Buying the right software before you launch will also make the launch easier on you as a new business owner because it will automate a multitude of tasks.
5. Investigate vendors
Research all possible vendors. Whether you are selling products or offering services, you will need to network and coordinate with other business owners, suppliers, vendors, and remote workers. Make a list of every type of vendor you will need, what you will need from them, and the extent of a business relationship you are looking to create — and then get to work finding the people and businesses you need.
6. Sign contracts
Solidify all rented spaces, vehicles, and vendors by signing legal contracts for the products or services you are purchasing. Once you have signed contracts, you will be able to move forward quickly in launching your business.
7. Buy business insurance
You will need to buy business insurance to protect your financial interests. The types of business insurance you will need will depend in part on the type of business you are running and the location, and you will need to compare business insurance to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need. You want to make sure you are protected from unhappy customers and anyone who may be injured while on your business property. You can compare business insurance with iSelect to get the best price and learn more about which insurance plans are best for your business.
8. Set up your space
Once you settle into your new space, get it set up and ready for business. This will include buying all the needed supplies and equipment, possible renovations, and layout design for productivity.
9. Create training material
Write out exactly how you want your business to run and the protocols you want your employees to follow. This will include all possible policies and procedures related to your employees and how they will perform their jobs.
10. Hire and train employees
Hire the employees you need, and train them using your new policies and procedures to ensure everything runs exactly the way you envisioned and in a way that you want your company represented to the public.
11. Market your new business
Start advertising your new business. This is often the hardest step for new businesses because they are working with a limited budget, yet no one knows who they are, so they need to get their name out there quickly and effectively. Your digital marketing plan should include an SEO and social media strategy, as well as digital ads that will target your demographic. In addition to your digital marketing efforts, you should pursue more traditional marketing efforts such as ads in community newspapers, radio spots, and sponsoring events.
12. Host a grand opening event
Once all the pieces are in place, and you are ready to present your new business to the world, host a grand opening event. Even if your business is one that won’t usually be open to the public, hosting a grand opening will allow the local community to meet their newest neighbor.