Entrepreneurship is booming across the country right now. A combination of the proliferation of the internet and ravages of Covid-19 have led many Americans to foster the desire to start a small business of their own.
The time is right for a variety of new products and services to hit the market, but there are many steps and considerations which must first be taken before these businesses can be opened. Owning and operating a small business is a difficult task and requires foundational and thorough planning. Here’s a short guide to the steps and considerations you should take if you want to start a new businesses now or in the near future.
- Develop a business plan to refer back to in the future
- Know your target demographic inside and out
- Pay attention to your business name and URL
Develop A Business Plan
A business plan should be at the top of your list if you want to open a new business. Business plans help you coordinate a plethora of other details, such as what financing you’ll have to start off, who your customer base is, what the culture and mission of your company will be, and how your company will function on a day-to-day basis.
The business plan offers a sense of true identity for your business, an anchor in a sea of change and turmoil that is the business landscape. If you find yourself or your company ever becoming off balance, the business plan exists for your to look back on and discover how you’re diverting and allows you to promptly get back on course without minimal confusion.
Choose And Know Your Audience
There is no more important component to running a business, no matter the size, than knowing your core audience. Your core customer base will be responsible for the majority of your sales and will give you the most positive and persuasive word of mouth among other potential clients. To truly get to know your audience, you should develop a “buyer persona.”
In this persona, you should have several key questions answered, such as: what is the yearly income of your main buyers? Do they live alone or are they married? Where do they live and how old are they? What are their greatest fears? They’re deepest desires? Answering these questions with in-depth knowledge will put you in the mind of your client and more easily allow you to gain their trust and market to them organically.
Structure Your Company
This is a legal step but one of the most important for any new business. Local, state, and federal requirements must be taken into account and adhered to if you don’t want to end up in trouble with the law. Structuring your business means choosing the way in which it does business and, ultimately, deciding on the taxation, paperwork, liability, and other legal considerations for the company.
Nonprofit companies work differently than for profit companies and each business structure has its own unique set of legal and formal requirements. On top of the business’ structure, you must ensure that you have the legal documentation and registration to run your company. Among other things, you need to create the articles of incorporation, obtain and employer identification number, and apply for any necessary licenses. To help you cooperate with all legal requirements, it’s best to have a business attorney in your corner.
Choose A Business Name And URL
The name of your company is critically important but one of the most overlooked aspect with many new small business owners. Many owners settle for naming their business after themselves or a loved one, failing to see their name through their customers’ eyes. Your name should pop and draw attention to itself while offering clear and vital information about what it is your new company will do.
Additionally, most experts on business agree that names should be no more than three words long, in order to enhance memorability. Once you’ve chosen your business’ name, you’ll also need a URL, which is how your business’ name will appear on your website. It’s absolutely essential that you choose a URL which won’t be confused with another and is a clear and concise representation of your physical business. Your URL should be as close to your business’ name as possible.
Invest In Graphic Design
The world of advertising and marketing is visual. You can’t skate by on simple words and well formatted advertisements. You must invest in a graphic design team to make creative ads for your and put your business in the mind of consumers everywhere. The design team doesn’t have to be large; in fact, it can be as small as one person, but it’s absolutely critical to help you create any and all visual signs of your company.
If you already have design skills and feel completely comfortable with designing your marketing your material yourself, you can take the initiative and be your own graphic designer. However, it’s never a bad idea to hire a third party who knows the principles of creative design and who can help take your company to the next level of engagement and visibility.