Businesses are usually started because someone has something to sell. A product, a service, real estate, street tacos – you name it and it’s out there. But what’s your shtick? Others are doing it so why not you? If you’ve ever wanted to start a business, try these top tips for starting a business.
You can trade time for money (the job), or you can look deep into your soul and come up with something that others will like, something they will pay for. Something they’ll love just as much as you.
If you have something that someone wants, and you sell that item to them, you’ve just started a business. Can it be that simple? Yes it can, at least at first. Start small, think big, and down the road you’ll see small transactions and decisions grow into more substantial rewards in the form of cash, growth, products, vision, goals and success.
From the Beginning – Solve a Problem
Where to start? Most entrepreneurs either have a product they want to develop and sell, or they see a need they can fill. In almost every case, the need is a problem that needs to be solved. The solution to that need is your product. Say someone needs their lawn mowed and you step up and mow their lawn. Problem solved. You’ve just sold a service that solves their need.
Thinking bigger, you repeat this multiple times and soon you have multiple clients, all needing you to mow their lawns, every week, every time. You’re an entrepreneur, you’ve started a business.
Most problems, services, or ideas will use this same principle. Someone has a need and you find a way to help solve their problem. A business is born and everyone wins, especially you.
Get Organized – Make it Official
Now that you’re moving in the right direction, you’ll need to formalize your new business and create an official company, one that is recognized by customers, your community and by the state where you live.
You’ll need to start thinking about covering your costs, how to grow your business, marketing your products or service, how to protect your business assets and intellectual property. Although the start-up process and costs may be minimal, your business requirements and obligations will grow. Don’t overlook or ignore what will be required as you organize your company.
One Man Band or Corporation?
Most states require that you pay sales tax. If you are serious about growing your business, you’ll need to register with the state and city where you reside. You’ll need to organize your business as a Sole Proprietorship or as a corporation, such as a C or S corp, LLC or Non-profit. There are separate tax issues with each type of company, so study each and make your choice. Don’t shy away from these issues – learning what is required and how to structure your business will make you a more knowledgeable owner moving forward.
Also think about your skill-set, how you’ll perform each needed role or choose the option to bring in other people to help fill the positions of CEO/President, marketing, payroll/accounting, production/worker-bee and other areas specific to your business.
Shine Your Light – Become Visible
Your new business will need a website, hopefully with a name that customers can easily remember. You’ll want to consider how to use social media, if applicable, to put you and your business in front of your customer base. Along with your website, a Facebook business page, a presence on Instagram, YouTube channels and other on-line promotions can be important to growing your company image, your brand and your products.
You can also go low-key and do face-to-face marketing, distribute handouts, setup demo’s, give away your product or service for free to bring new customers on-board. Whatever it takes, don’t be afraid to put yourself and your image out there. You have a product that others need and you’re there to help solve that need.
Don’t Stand Alone
When starting a new business, it’s helpful to have good resources. Even the best entrepreneurs have mentors who can give trusted guidance and support when needed. In fact, this is why these guys are the best, because they know they can’t go it alone. Align yourself with others who have successfully done what you are doing. Pick their brains, take them to lunch, gain their trust and be sincere in wanting to learn. It’s not hard to start a business by yourself, but it is more difficult to grow a business without help.
Show Me the Money
Financing your business is critical to your success. This may seem obvious, but the way you finance your new venture will dictate how fast you can grow. If you have investors, you’re not the only one with a vote at the table. Those who are helping to fund your business may want a say in how the company is run. They will expect you to take their advice and to work closely with them to help protect their investment, which is you and your company.
You have some options when it comes to funding your start-up and each can affect your business in different ways:
- Grow the business organically – (no loans or investors), pay your bills and save with only the revenue you bring in.
- Bank or SBA loans – Instant money to get started and grow, but you are indebted to the bank.
- Private Investors – If you can get someone or a group to back your company, unlike a bank which sets the terms, you and the investors can determine the structure of your loan/investment. These agreements can be more flexible and tailored to both your needs and the investors goals.
You are the Captain
Starting and growing your own business can be a very rewarding experience. Using these top tips for starting a business will give you the head start you need to be successful. You’ll learn a lot about people, about money, how the system works specific to your niche. And, despite some possible failures, you’ll be better prepared to make the decision down the road to either trade your time for money (get a job) or sell yourself – your business.