Follow these steps for a successful business start-up
The secret to a successful business is out: there is no secret. Starting your own business takes hard work and a steadfast commitment. Keep in mind these few essential first steps, and you may well be on a path to prosperity.
“Starting a business means starting a business from scratch, buying an existing business, acquiring a franchise or taking over a family business,” says Paul ZeMenye, Business and Accounting Program Coordinator at Brown Mackie College – Kansas City.
According to ZeMenye, every business starts with an idea for a product or service. Once the idea is nurtured, the entrepreneur should find a support system. A support system may include family, friends and other people who may help to bring the business idea to reality once market research is completed.
ZeMenye says it is important “to perform market research/analysis to see if there is a need for the product or service. This may involve talking to neighbors, friends, presenting samples or performing the service as a courtesy or on a trial basis.”
Finding funds to start the business can be both challenging and frustrating, explains ZeMenye. “Bankers and other lenders usually are not very receptive to new businesses unless the business can provide some solid collateral to secure loans,” says ZeMenye. “A well-written business plan and collateral should help to secure a loan. Some people have taken advantage of introductory credit card rates to finance their startup operations. Although risky, it can be a very cost effective way to launch a business as long as the owner sticks to the terms guaranteeing the low introductory rate.”
Once your business is financially secured, your business should be organized into one of three fundamental types of business organizations: sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation. Although there are hybrid forms of business organizations, such as limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies and s-corporations, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Most hybrid organizations will have some tax and legal advantages over the regular forms of organizations, says ZeMenye. An accountant or business lawyer can help you determine the best business organization structure for your needs.
While seeking the help of an accountant or lawyer, you should also determine the name of your business. According to ZeMenye, your business’ name should be secured with the Secretary of State where you intend to do business. The name and location of your business should be adapted to the type of business you intend to conduct.
When choosing the location for your business, take your suppliers, market potential, cost and accessibility into account.
“Choose your location carefully,” says ZeMenye. “It is costly to change locations frequently.”
Next, write your business plan early in the process. It is your original marketing tool and should be an evolving document as you gain knowledge and insight in the process. A business plan should include a marketing plan, a human resources plan, a production plan, sales forecasts and a set of forecasted financial statements. Resources are available to guide you through the early stages of building your business. An organization such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), a resource partner of the Small Business Administration (SBA), voluntarily provides valuable assistance and expertise to new entrepreneurs. The SBA may also provide financial assistance, such as loan guarantees and set-aside programs, for certain groups.
“Many colleges and universities provide assistance to small businesses through their Small Business Assistance Centers (SBAC),” says ZeMenye. “They may provide assistance in matters such as business plan preparation, market research, networking and management.”
When it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, ZeMenye says the biggest mistake new business owners make is giving up after a failure. “Becoming a successful entrepreneur is a learning process. It may take several trials before getting it right. It is who and what you become in the process that determines whether you are a success or a failure.”
Courtesy of ARA Content