By Courtney Rosenfeld
Starting a business can be an exciting and profitable venture, particularly when you’re passionate about your work. Of course, to be successful requires addressing a number of not-so-glamorous elements of being an entrepreneur, such as developing a business agenda, ensuring you have all of your regulatory compliance issues well in hand, and thinking about operating and succession plans. Let’s break it down.
Business Startup Basics
Before launching your business, you’ll want to develop a comprehensive business plan. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), this will be particularly important if you’re seeking funding of any kind. A business plan helps you think through and articulate the operational elements of how your business will work. Things to consider include forming a limited liability company (LLC) to protect assets, and making a determination about how you’re going to handle financial elements and functions, like payroll, taxes, and accounts payable and receivable. You’ll also want to address financial elements around recordkeeping. Of course, you’ll need to ensure you have the appropriate business license and insurance, especially if you’re operating an e-commerce business.
Targeting Your Market
It’s important to identify your target demographic before you launch a marketing and advertising campaign. In other words, who is most likely to buy your products orservices, and how are they best reached? Once you know the type of customer you’re trying to attract, you can develop a targeted strategy. Social media can be an effective tool , as can creating a website and marketing your company through trade or industry groups. You can also start generating early word-of-mouth advertising through friends, family, colleagues, and any social or business groups you’re involved with. E-mail marketing can also be a smart approach, particularly if you’re operating an online business or have online components.
Creating an Operating Agreement
In conjunction with your business and marketing plans, you’ll want to develop an operating agreement to protect your assets, describe your business rules, and outline your business succession plans in detail. This will help ensure your financial assets are protected. The operating agreement may be built into your business plan or be a stand- alone component, but having such a document in place can help with seeking funding because you’ll be viewed as someone who has thought through all of the financial implications of how your business will run. Visit Zenbusiness to secure an operating agreement template.
Where To Get Funding
Small business loans can help a startup business secure the necessary elements they need to be successful. This might include a website domain, website design, buying equipment and supplies, and purchasing inventory or other products necessary to fully launch and operate your business. Before you can seek funding, you’ll need to have your business plan completed. Many banking institutions offer personal loans, while small business banks specifically service entrepreneurial-type endeavors. Other places to look for funding include the SBA and state grants through microenterprise initiatives.
Where to Get Help
Depending on the type of business you’re launching, you might find it beneficial to consult a tax attorney, a small business accounting firm, or an employment law specialist. Joining industry associations like chambers of commerce or Rotary clubs can also provide a means for networking, promoting your business, and participating in small business development programs — all of which can help you advance your company.
Starting a business can be immensely rewarding and has the potential to be very lucrative, as well. Ensuring you’re going about everything the right way before startup can help you devote more of your time post-launch to delivering exceptional service and building your customer base.
Managing Communications serves start-up businesses with marketing strategy to help you identify your targeted audiences and services or products which will be important to them. Then, we help you build a strategic plan to realize your goals. Often, we identify a service or market you had not even considered! We also implement as needed for digital and traditional content, ongoing consulting and a host of other services. Let’s talk soon! susan@managingcommunications.