Entrepreneurship is a not an easy venture. You will surely be met with all kinds of setbacks, loopholes and uncertainties while trying to establish a new company or brand.
If you’re amongst the growing number of people who’d like to attain lucrative self-employment, here are our four key steps to starting your own business without wasting precious time and financial resources.
Research Your Idea
The most important thing to remember if you are considering starting a business is this: diligently do your research! People who rush things tend to suffer in the marketplace and squander precious resources more than those who actually take their time.
Start by methodically researching your business idea. Is anyone else doing it? What’s the competition like? Do consumers and businesses have viable substitutes if they don’t choose your product? Does your product really solve a pesky problem? Is the demand going to be great enough in the future, not just for a year or two? Once you’re completely convinced you have the virtual better mousetrap, then you can proceed.
Write a Business Plan
Thankfully, there’s dozens of business-plan-in-a-box resources available online that have made it easier to write up a perfect business plan!
Even though you’ll be the only person who’ll be working in the business, writing a business plan still helps you to answer critical questions that you need in order to have a strong chance of success. Such questions will include:
– Who are my customers? What problem does my product/service solve? How will I price and market my product? and What are my financial projections for the business for the next 3-5 years?
Handle the Paperwork
We know it sounds boring, but it needs to be done! Starting a business comes with a variety of paperwork requirements that can’t be overlooked, including: Filing for applicable licenses and registrations from your state’s government.
Get guidance from your state’s Office of Taxation website on which forms you will need to complete. If proprietary intellectual property is an important asset to your business, you need to protect it immediately. Even though filing for trademarks and patents is expensive, it’s far more costly to battle someone over rights down the line.
Market Your Brand
The internet is teeming with marketing platforms that don’t cost a dime—you just need to do some diligent research. Registering your business with Google Places allows it to be found more easily on Google searches and on Google Maps. Yahoo! and Microsoft’s Bing also have big databases that are free and certainly worth the few minutes it takes to set up.
If you’re interested in creating a website for your product, make sure you acquire Internet domain names that may be important to your business (.com, .net and .org at the very least and consider .biz and others, too).
Oh, and don’t forget to check out any special government programs that may provide startup capital.