So you’re starting a business and you don’t know where to start? We have all been there! I’m just here to make it as easy as possible for you. When starting a business there are so many things that need to be done, legal work, marketing, finances, the list goes on and on. With so much to do, what should you do first? Why are some of these things important? This article will help you get a clear understanding of what needs to get done for every business, online or brick and mortar.
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Business Plan Checklist
Legal Requirements when starting a business
Making sure your legal requirements are taken care of is a good way to stay out of trouble when starting a business. There are lots of different requirements depending on the business you’re planning to start. I’m going to go over the basic things that almost all businesses need to get done. Depending on your business, there may be more or fewer things you need to do.
- Pick a name for your business
- Register the business name
- Search to see if there is a trademark for your business name
- Decide if you want to set up an S-Corp, C-corp, LLC, Sole Proprietor, partnership, etc.
- Apply for EIN
- Local business license (You may need state and city business licenses)
- Apply for a sales tax number
Creating a strategic setup for your business is key to any successful business. These are basically the business goals, where the business wants to go, what you want to do for your community, etc. The things you need to come up with for your business are the following:
- Mission Statement
- SWOT analysts of partners
- Review your strategic plan quarterly and revise as needed
While setting up your business is important, you need to have customers in order to have a business. Marketing is very important to get those customers. Here are a few things you can set up to make sure your marketing strategy is going to be successful.
- Competitive analyze
- SWOT Analyse on Competition (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.)
- Who is your ideal customer?
- How will that customer feel when they buy your service/product?
- Why will they feel that way?
- Unique selling proposition
- Get an elevator pitch
- Get social media usernames
Your brand is who and what your business is. Having a brand will make it easier for your customers to remember you. This is why when you think of “Apple” you may think of high-tech, expensive, great quality, etc. This is because that is what their brand has become. You want your brand to become what you want to betray. Here are some things you can do to get your brand ready for your customers.
- Brand Identity
- Brand Promise
- Market positioning
- Executive summary
- Get a sales model
Social Media Planning
Social media is a great way to find new customers and to promote your products/services. By setting up your social media when starting your business you can ensure that you’re name will be available before someone else takes it. Here are some other tips to help plan out your social media and get a following.
- Figure out what social media platforms you want to focus on and what will work best for your niche
- Start those social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc)
- Start joining groups who have an audience that matches your target market
- Build your tribe and following
- Build a list of contacts
Now if you have physical products, you’re gonna want to figure out the best way to keep inventory and manage those products. You’ll want a system of keeping track of what needs to be ordered, and who bought what. This will help you in the future because you’ll be able to see what the most popular items are and how you can use that to your advantage.
- Create a product that works
- Make sure anything online is available through website or iPad
- Find out customer engagement – What pages do they go on? What page are they on the longest, etc. This information will help you place things in spots where the customer is likely to see them.
- Always improve your products based on customer feedback
- Decide on what to give your customer as “leave-behinds” or you could do a giveaway.
Creating your Website
A website is a great way to get traffic and sales for your business. By having a website that ranks well on google and its user friend will benefit you the most. Here are a few things you can do to your site to make it great!
- Research and make a list of keywords you could use in your domain
- Make a landing page
- Get Bata testers to test out your site and see what they liked and didn’t like
- Have a way to collect emails and contact info from customers and build a tribe
- Set a launch date for your website
- Set up a blog on your website (even if you don’t want to be a blogger. By creating posts on your site it will help you rank higher on google)
- Make a marketing calendar
- Purchase domain and hosting
Now comes the fun part. How is your business going to operate? This will have the basics of operating a business including doing taxes, bank accounts, and budgets.
- Hire a bookkeeper
- Setup Quickbooks
- Set up payroll
- Figure out how often you’re going to pay employees
- Create a budget for business
- Import budget into Quickbooks
- Financial reporting schedule (Reporting your sales to the state)
- Keep personal funds and business funds separate
- Start a business checking account at your local bank
- Put away money for taxes
- Medical, dental and eye insurance?
- Commission plans
- Sales operations
- Sales tracking tool
- Setup document sharing tool for you and employees (Google Drive is a great free option)
Starting your own small business
That’s it! These are the basic things you need to be thinking about when starting your business. By doing this before your business launches it will create a smooth launch and you’ll have fewer things to worry about once you’re started. I know it seems like a lot, but some of these things only take a few hours. Others may take a few days, but they are probably just as important. Make sure all of your legal documents are taken care of like EIN, Register your name, register your business with the state and the city, and getting a sales tax number. If you need to pay the workman’s compensation, make sure you get that and know how much it will cost you so you can price your products accordingly.
I truly hope this information gave you a better idea of the things that need to be done before starting a business. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out or comment below. As always, follow us on social media. <3