In 2019, there were 30.7 million small businesses in the US, which made up 99.9% of all companies. Owning a small business comes with a ton of benefits.
You enjoy the benefit of independence and control over your business. Moreover, starting a small business gives you liability and tax benefits. Small businesses feature fast market responsiveness and do not require a huge amount of capital to kickstart.
Nonetheless, most individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit wish to start a business but lose track along the way. Check out this small business checklist to get you started.
Conduct Research to Determine the Viability of the Business
Every entrepreneur enters business with high hopes that it will succeed. But the viability of your business idea depends on how much work you put into it.
Do not rush to start a company just because a random idea came into your mind. Take your time to understand the market. Understand what your competitors are offering customers and the money and resources they are putting in and getting out of the investment.
Consider if your business idea is ideal for the long term, especially if you dream of expanding your company in the future.
Understanding the market gives you insight into what you should expect. You can weigh your options and settle with the most profitable. Although business success is not guaranteed, it will help if you venture into it with a plan and clear expectations.
Create a Business Plan
A new business plan is more like a roadmap. It guides on how you will structure your small business, fund and grow it. A business plan helps you establish the resources you need to start the company and other critical elements.
Besides streamlining your startup process, having a clear and comprehensive business plan is the trick to acquiring funding from investors. If they find your plan clever, with high chances of getting returns, they will be willing to put their money into it.
Therefore, a business plan is a smart way to sell your idea. Take your time to craft a convincing and professional plan.
Choose a Business Structure
The legal business structure you select dictates all your business elements. These include your operations, taxes, and the risk you are willing to take.
It will help if you choose a structure that gives legal protection and minimizes the number of your personal assets at risk. The main business structures include:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited liability Company
Take your time to understand the features and requirements of each of the business structures. Weigh their pros and cons and settle with the most suitable depending on your budget and future plans. After deciding on the structure, it will be much easier to think of a name for your brand identity.
Think About Business Financing
Capital is the most critical element in business ownership. You cannot possibly start a business if you lack adequate finances to fund the required resources.
Note that how you choose to fund your business will impact the structure and operations of the organization.
Start by determining how much funds you need for a start and in the long run. Then, decide if you can fund your company with your savings or you need to borrow a loan. You may also seek help from family and friends or look for investors for venture capital.
Apply for Business Permits and Licenses
Nearly every state demands every small business owner to have certification to prove that their companies are legal and compliant. When applying for a license, you will undergo some evaluation to determine if you qualify to offer the specific products or services.
Research your state and county regulations, considering that industry licensing requirements differ from one region to the next.
The licenses are at state and general or local levels, and you may need both. The license and permit required depend on your sector, niche, location, and your state’s requirements.
Think of the Best Location and Rent a Space
If your budget allows, it will be best to have a brick-and-mortar business. Having a physical location helps build trust with local customers who wish to come and view your products.
In this case, start planning early and select a suitable location for your small business. Consider the traffic on the site and ensure that the area is discoverable and accessible.
Furthermore, pay attention to your budget to ensure that the space is not too expensive. Otherwise, you could harm your business’s startup capital.
Set Up Your Website
Whether you have a physical location or wish to run your business purely online, a website plays a massive role in your company’s success.
A site is more like a virtual shop where consumers can view and order your products. It helps you reach customers beyond your local region. A website provides a convenient shopping experience, especially in this era where individuals prefer shopping online.
Invest in a good website design. And optimize it to maximize discoverability.
Insure Your Business
Running a business involves lots of risks. A natural disaster could hit your company. A client could file a lawsuit against you, or someone could get injured on your premises.
These are just some possible reasons to consider insuring your investment to protect you from liability and offer you financial security if the unknown happens.
Use a reliable business insurance calculator to compare rates from different insurers. This allows you to determine the average cost of your business insurance and select a company with the most attractive terms.
Think of Accounting
Start by opening a bank account, specifically for your business. This makes it easier for you to handle taxes and other financial-related operations.
Once the account is set up, select an accounting program to keep your books in order. Decide if you wish to hire an accountant or are capable of handling bookkeeping by yourself.
Leverage a Small Business Checklist to Transform Your Idea Into Reality
Whether you are a student, young parent, or retiree looking for an income-generating activity, you cannot go wrong by starting a small business. The above small business checklist will help turn your idea into a smart business with minimal errors and inefficiencies.
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