An entrepreneur’s life is never easy. It’s like a roller coaster. It’s a tough game. No college or university can prepare you for this. You must learn while working. Starting your own business needs time and proper planning. You must promise to give your business total dedication and all your time till you achieve success. 10 out 100 entrepreneurs can survive the first year. This occurs due to lack of judgement and being uninformed. Remember, knowledge is power.
In this article, I have prepared a small business checklist for you which covers the things to know before starting a business.
Make a business plan:
A foolproof business plan can save you in the long run. One of the things you need to know before starting a business is to know to plan your business so you can achieve success. Take the time to write down the main points about your business like the marketing strategy, sales planning, funding options. Time limits etc.
Your planning should center on few things like how is your business can provide a service and if it has a marketing demand or opportunity. Also, you need to include in your plan about the exit strategy. Most business owners want their children to carry on their legacy. But you cannot force your children to do anything. So make an exit strategy in advance. Even if you want to sell your company or not should be included in your plan.
This is probably the most crucial part you should know before starting your business. It’s nearly impossible to start a business with personal savings. You must apply for funding to get momentum. Research all your financing options before settling with one. Keep a good credit score so you can get a loan with low-interest rate and good terms. Pay off your payment on time and avoid bad credit report.
Own your name:
Choose a name for your business that is available both for trademark and for internet domain name. To check whether the name is available for trademark or not go to trademark search online through the trademark website. Obtaining a trademark in the proper way can avoid any threat of risk. If a business has the same name as your, it can easily confuse your loyal following and it will be easy for any other businesses to steal your glory.
People put a lot of effort to find a unique name that defines them. So make sure your time is not wasted to find out a used trademark and domain name. If you want to check whether your trademark has been used or not, don’t just check the internet. And assume that just because you couldn’t find it on the internet, it’s is not there. Someone may buy the domain name and hasn’t used it yet.
Know the law:
Every business needs to follow some regulations and register to legally operate. Contact your state government to find out the licenses you need to apply for. Also, know the taxes you have to pay. As tax depends on the types of business you run and what industry you run in, contact a lawyer or accountant to know the types of taxes can be imposed on you. Take help from a professional to know if you are paying the right amount of taxes for the service or product you are providing. Also ask the experts if you have obtained all the necessary licenses. Make sure no technical legality stands in the way of your success.
Decide a living cost for you:
When you are making a business plan, make sure you include your personal expenses as well. If you are relying on your business entirely then you will have to maintain living cost with the business profit. Maybe you would cut all the extra expenses while building a business but you must need money for food, transportation, rent and most importantly health insurance. In addition, include unexpected expenses like car or house repairing in the budget for a rainy day.
Stop living in the past:
Business owners who have business experience often consider them to be experts. They want to operate their business in the same old-fashioned way. But they forget that marketplace become saturated quickly. Playing by the old book won’t bring any return on investment. You have to adapt to new rules and strategy to win over the previous place and make yourself noticed among thousands of young and old entrepreneurs.
Don’t involve friends in business:
Often people take advantages of your friendship and cheat you. This mostly happens due to involving all your friends in the business. After appointing friends, entrepreneurs usually think that they can lay low and stop checking their works. This attitude makes them feel like they don’t need to impress their boss and start being lazy.
Know the people are you working with and when they are letting you down, put your feelings aside and let them go. They will eventually find another job but if you keep letting them being lazy then you will only harm yourself.
Don’t go for discounts:
Many companies feel the pressure to reduce their price to make more sales. It’s important to bring as many customers as you can but you will also need to keep in mind that attracting your customers with a cheaper price won’t help you to win the race. While you are attracting your customers at unsustainable price levels, you are bringing in less and less revenue. It’s more important to add value to your customers than just lowering your price.
Failure is mandatory:
There is a saying that “the greatest barriers to success is the fear of failure”. You can let fear destroying your dreams. It’s very understandable to get panicked or stressed over workload but you must look at it from a different angle. The more you fail the more you know what works for your startup.
Focus on your team:
One of the small business checklists is that you must have a good team. Focus on your people, understand their need, train them enough to cope with the ever-changing workforce. Compensate them adequately, it doesn’t matter if you stay with them or not. Just keep training them.
Research the market:
Before you start a business you must research the market to see if your product or service has any demand. Many entrepreneurs try to reinvent the wheel. It’s not only time consuming but also will burn out your spirit.
It’s not easy to have a monopoly in the market. So it’s wise to not waste time and money on it. Instead choose a saturated market, this way you can make an inexpensive product and sell it quickly as it has a high demand.
Choose a niche:
Choosing a niche that works for you can be the difference between success and failure. Sometimes no matter how much you try, things just won’t work. Mostly because market conditions are not in your favor.
Maintain a balance:
A lot of entrepreneurs spend 14-16 hours a day on their business. This eventually breaks them down and damage their mental health. This way they burn out early and become unproductive.
When you start working fewer hours, you will find ways to do more work faster.
Save from early stage:
Savings give you option where big spendings give you debt. Save from an early age and invest that money in your business.
Manage your debt:
Many entrepreneurs use debt to start up their business. It’s very dangerous if you’re an entrepreneur for the first time. When your business model is untested, it can be very risky. Even when the business fails, the entrepreneurs need to pay off the debt as they personally guaranteed the loans.
Make sure your debt is within a manageable limit. You can take personal loans or home loans to pay for your business as they have fewer interest rates.
Get a mentor:
A good mentor can be like a parental guide. If someone holds you accountable for your actions and provides guidance then your journey becomes smoother. Choose a mentor who has succeeded in business, have faith in your work and idea and can give you an honest opinion.
Lastly, running a business is a long term commitment. You must be prepared to take every challenge and remove all obstacles and keep going on your journey to success. This is your business, only your dedication and long-term commitment can establish your business in the ever-changing market. Use innovative ways to make the best out of the little you have.
You will be surprised how much you learn over the years and this lesson will be your guide in the tough time. Believe in yourself and dream. Never give up your dream for anything in the world.