How to Start a Business: A Quick Guide for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Whether your business dreams are fueled by a desire to be your own boss, achieve financial freedom or change the world — it's exciting to start a new venture. However, as 20% of all small businesses don't survive their first year, you can't overlook the importance of strategic planning.

If you're wondering how to start a company, we're here to assist you by outlining the process in 10 steps. From choosing your logo to registering your business, here's all you need to know about what you need to start a business.

1. Identify Your Business Idea

The first step in the process is to define your business idea. If you haven't yet thought about the “why” behind your new venture, consider your interests and skills.

Choosing to make money from an activity that brings you joy helps to lay a foundation for rewarding work. However, it's important to evaluate your level of skill objectively. For example, if you love to bake but every cake you make falls flat, you're unlikely to succeed at making this hobby into a profitable business.

Another consideration when choosing a business idea is the customer demand for your product or service. Starting a baking business in an area with other bakeries means you'll face stiff competition. Instead, use reliable methods to research your market and determine your customer base.

2. Create a Business Plan

An effective business plan acts as a blueprint for how to start and manage your new enterprise. Aside from paving the path forward, financial institutions and investors will often require this document when assessing your funding request.

Your executive summary is one of the most essential elements of your business plan. This section provides a detailed snapshot of your new business and outlines your objectives. Some other aspects you may want to include in your business plan are:

  • Company overview
  • Market analysis
  • Organizational structure
  • Service or product descriptions
  • Marketing and sales plan
  • Funding requests
  • Financial projections

3. Consider Registration Aspects

You will need to consider your company size, budget and the level of personal liability protection when choosing your business structure. Business types available to you include:

  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Cooperative
Registering your business will require you to select a unique business name — be sure to take into account your state's naming requirements to prevent any delays. In addition, you will need to apply for business licenses, such as local, state and federal permits for legal trading.

As there is often an endless list of tasks to complete when starting a new enterprise, consider working with a team specialized in business registration and compliance for a seamless experience.

4. Source Funding for Your Business

Before you can start generating a profit, you need to make a capital investment. This is one of the most important steps to starting a business. There are two sources of funding to consider:

  • Internal sources: Money in the form of personal savings or loans from family and friends constitutes internal funding. These funding options are often more accessible, but significant business losses could result in strained relationships or a lack of funds for your retirement.
  • External sources: Private equity, small business loans, grants and crowdfunding initiatives are considered external funding. While these funding options come with higher interest rates, they help minimize personal financial risks.

5. Establish a Workplace

Whether you plan to set up shop in a physical location or trade online, you will need to establish a workplace to conduct your operations. This space could be your home, a rented office or a co-working area. In addition, you will need to purchase equipment to fulfill your business objectives, which will vary based on your goals and industry.

6. Develop Your Brand

When looking for a product or service, customers have endless options to consider — ensure your business stands out by establishing a strong brand. Some branding elements to consider include: img

  • Logo: Using your brand colors and a simple design helps to create a memorable logo.
  • User-friendly website: Shopping online has become a preference for consumers. An optimized website helps to offer your customers a better user experience.
  • Social media: A strong social media presence helps you introduce new products and services right on your followers' feeds. It also increases your brand awareness, helping you reach more customers.

7. Hire Your Team

Adding extra employees to the payroll may seem like an unnecessary expense. However, you will need enough staff to uphold your reputation for quality products and service. Before you begin the hiring process, consider:

  • Identifying roles: Establishing clear roles helps employees know what's expected. It also helps you interview people with the right skills and qualifications.
  • Recruitment options: Ensure you have a diverse talent pool by using all recruitment options. Posting ads on job boards, social media profiles and freelance platforms helps you ensure the right people apply.
  • Onboarding initiatives: Once you've hired top talent, welcome them to the team with an effective onboarding process. Taking the time to develop onboarding programs helps new employees assimilate into the culture and increase job confidence.

8. Invest in Marketing and Sales

People can only buy your products or subscribe to your services if they know about them. Developing a comprehensive sales and marketing plan will help you achieve these goals. When creating your strategy, consider the following:

  • Target audience: Identifying your customers' needs, wants and pain points helps to prime your marketing efforts for success.
  • Marketing budget: Seek out marketing options to fit your needs and budget. A simple online ad campaign can be a great starting point for a new business.
  • Sales tactics: Offering a discount or instigating a referral program helps more customers learn about your business. While these initiatives come at a cost, they're likely to deliver good returns in the long run.

9. Create a Financial Management Plan

Between paying staff salaries and buying supplies, there is an endless list of business expenses to keep track of. You also want to ensure you make payment easy for your customers.

Firstep Business Solutions offers payment and invoicing options with our payment processing tool. Giving customers more payment channels — whether through credit card, phone, computer or tablet — makes the process more convenient. By ensuring more user-friendly payment methods, you get paid while ensuring a more streamlined process for your customer base.

In the final stages of your business setup, it's worth hiring a bookkeeper or investing in accounting software to keep track of your financials. Maintaining your finances ensures you meet tax requirements and monitor your income and expenses more effectively.

10. Scale Your Business

If you've stumbled upon a winning entrepreneurial venture, you owe it to yourself, investors and employees to grow! Some costs to take into account when scaling your business include:

  • Increased staff and equipment needs
  • Product diversification costs
  • Additional marketing efforts
When scaling your business, consider the time and capital investments so you can ensure you're still making a profit.

Launch Your Business With Help From Firstep Business Solutions

Starting a business is an exciting first step in the quest for financial freedom and doing what you truly love. However, it's not without its challenges.

Firstep Business Solutions is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs boost their profits and maintain a business legacy. Our team is here to support all your needs as you start your business. If you're in any doubt about how to register your business or manage your compliance requirements, get in touch with our professional team today!