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Starting a business from scratch is one of life’s most exciting—and intimidating – happenings. Before you begin, be sure you know the lay of the land.
You have a great enterprise idea and lots of confidence, but like most new entrepreneurs, you may not know what’s interested in starting a company, or even where to start. Know the basics about what you need to get going, including business plans, branding and brands, financing, and where to go for support.
Your Business Plan
A business plan is a roadmap for your company goals and how you intend to get them. It’s a great tool for locating out if you have a feasible enterprise idea and it can help you recognize obstacles and decide how you’ll crush them.
A business plan should respond these sorts of queries:
- What will your company do?
- What is the need for your product or service?
- Who are your clients, and what will you do to draw them?
- Who are your opponents, and how will you be better or distinct?
- How much will it cost to begin and run your company?
Establishing a Unique Identity
As you create your business plan, think about how you will impress your company, or establish a unique identity, that you can sell to clients.
Your company name is a key component of your brand, but selecting a good one can be tougher than you’d think. You must consider the commerce angle—but there are also legal considerations. A comprehensive name tracking can help you stop names that present legal problems before you spend money on trade materials.
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Other ways to verify your identity include getting a website address and creating a short elevator pitch that you can use to quickly describe your business concept to anyone that you might do business with.
Finding the Money
Your company plan will help you resolve how much money you need to get off the floor and sustain the company until it makes a profit—but you can’t get created without entry to cash. Some potential sources of funding for a new small business are:
- Your savings or a home equity loan
- Companions or family. This might be a gift, a loan, or an asset in exchange for a share of your company
- Small company loans through a bank or credit union
- Microloans through a special microlending program
- A crowdfunding drive using a service like Kickstarter
- Future workers or outside professionals who might work for free in exchange for shares of the company
- Venture capital or angel investors. This gets a lot of press but is not practical for most small businesses
Your company plan and elevator pitch can help convince family members or lenders that you have a strong concept and a viable business idea that is positioned for success. There are risks and bonuses for each type of financing, so it’s wise to get legal and tax advice before signing any financial paperwork or agreeing to give others a share in your business.
Starting a company raises legal, financial, marketing, and intellectual property issues. You shouldn’t expect to be able to reason out everything on your own. Here’s who can help:
- A business lawyer can advise you about selecting a company entity type and a name, registering a trademark, and various legal issues relating to shared ownership of a business.
- A tax professional can advise you on the best type of company entity from a tax perspective, as well as the tax effects of various financing options.
- A branding consultant can help you decide how to name your business and position it as a separate brand.
- A trademark lawyer can help you find out if your business name, logo, or slogan might be suitable for trademark protection.
Choosing to start your own business is an exciting time. Taking things one step at a time and requesting for help will keep you on track and let you to make the best decisions possible.