By Lucas Bucl
With the economy rebounding, more people are thinking about starting a business. First, you need a great product or service idea. Now what? Here are five key planning steps to consider when starting a business.
1. Write a Business Plan – Once you have that great idea, resist the urge to immediately start producing and selling. The most critical step in starting a business is to outline a specific business plan. Recent research suggests that a business plan may double your chances of success. http://smallbiztrends.com/2010/06/business-plan-success-twice-as-likely.html
A good business plan should include the following:
- Outline your company profile and goals. This will identify how your product/service meets a specific need in the marketplace, identify your competitive advantage, and what you hope to accomplish.
- Where do you want to be in 3 to 5 years in terms of business size, revenue, profitability, and other key metrics? The details of your plan will define how you will get there.
- How will you establish and grow your business? Build a clear marketing strategy and include milestones and time driven goals on revenue growth and profitability.
- How will you fund the business and make it financially viable over time?
The US Small Business Association has some good tools to help create a business plan. Check them out here: http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/how-write-business-plan
2. Identify Key Professionals to Help You – Most importantly, you will a good accountant and a business attorney. The accountant will help you define your business structure, and establish proper bookkeeping and recordkeeping practices. The business attorney can also help you institute the best legal structure, as well as help write or evaluate legal documents such as contracts and lease agreements.
3. Select the Legal Structure – There are a lot of choices, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or a limited liability corporation (LLC). The entity type will depend on the nature of your business, though it often makes sense to set up some sort of corporation from a liability protection standpoint. Your accountant and attorney can help evaluate your options and make the right choice.
4. Funding – All businesses need capital. Determine how much you need to get started and sustain the business long enough to start generating the necessary revenue. Also, understand your limits in terms of the amount of personal capital you are willing to risk. If you need additional capital, there are various ways to get it. You could bring in other partners or investors to help fund the business, or there are loan options available from both government and private sources. Having multiple sources of financing and a back-up plan in case more funds are needed will create flexibility for you in case the initial financial projections don’t work out as planned.
5. Name the Business – Selecting the name of your company helps define your brand. Work to find a short name that best describe your business, is memorable, and is easy to say and spell. If you will have a strong web presence, picking a name that translates well into a web domain is also important.
Starting a business is an exciting and potentially rewarding venture. Careful planning and following these key steps will help set you up for success.
To outline your specific needs and build a plan, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Lucas Bucl –firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (913) 345-1881.