Running a Business Guide
You have decided you want to run a business but have not yet got any plans in place. This guide to running a business will give you some ideas and tips for getting your new business started and maximize the chances of business success.
Sources of Inspiration for Starting a Business
First of all, consider your skills, education, and experience when deciding what type of business you want to start. You should then consider how your skills can be applied to a startup business and consider what could be successful in your local area.
Here are some ideas for running a business and to help you find inspiration.
Join a Business Community
A business community is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs in your area and often meet up regularly. You can meet other entrepreneurs whose services you might require, like accountants and graphic artists. You might speak to an attorney or a business advisor who can advise you on running a business from home legal requirements.
You will likely find that many people will share advice with you about running a business which can be invaluable when you are starting a business and your funds are limited.
Get Support From Friendship Groups
When you decide to leave employment and set up a business on your own, for example, a doctor leaving a practice to set up their medical practice, you can likely count on previous colleagues and friends to offer support. Your good friends who run their own business will have a wealth of information to offer and help you get your business on the right track.
Business Leader Autobiographies and Leadership Books
There are a lot of inspirational books about business leaders that can help inspire you when planning a start-up business. Consider reading the book 'Starting and Running a Business for Dummies' by Colin Barrow to help you work through the process. Autobiographies of inspirational business leaders can also be inspiring and help you with great ideas for your business.
Local newspapers can help you get an idea of gaps in the market. Local directories and advertisement-style magazines can also help. For example, perhaps you want to set up your own gardening business. There might be many lawn-cutting businesses in the area but not many offer garden maintenance, so you might want to do some market research to see if this is a viable option.
Find a Mentor
A business mentor can be a great asset when starting a new business to help you work through decisions and help you to explore new ideas and concepts. Mentoring can be rewarding for both parties as it enables sharing information, ideas, and knowledge.
You can find information about and links to mentors on the US small business Administration website. A mentor can be an invaluable support while you are running a business.
First Steps for Running a Business
Here are the first steps of our running a business guide. So, what do you need to do to get set up?
Do Something You Love
The most successful businesses are run by those who are passionate about their company, services, and products. They surround themselves with people who also love what they do, and this enthusiasm is infectious.
Thoroughly Research your Business
Research all aspects of running a business from potential market size to competition. Don't forget competition from businesses that overlap yours. So you want to produce a specialist BBQ meat store with sauces. Your competition will be local supermarkets, large brands, organic meat suppliers, farmers' markets and restaurants.
Keep an open mind and research all your options before deciding which business entity you want to form, where you want your premises to be, hiring your first employee and all the other decisions you will have to make. Use the internet, books, peers and friends, and social media. There are so many ways to research your business plans.
Plan Your Business
This running a business guide would not be complete without suggesting that you need a business plan. Look for a template online and then work through it. Be realistic at each point and you can build your business plan as you go.
A significant aspect of your business plan will be your marketing plan. A good business plan template will have several categories for you to fill in but you should include your target audience, how you will reach them, marketing strategies, and your budget, among other aspects.
Leave your job
Knowing when to leave your job and commit to your new venture is probably one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business; only you can tell when the right time to do so is. You will need to ensure you have funds to cover the time it will take for your business to become profitable.
You might be able to work freelance or reduce your hours to part-time to blend the transition from employed to self-employed. This can offer the advantage that you still have some reliable salary coming in but it might make you appear less committed to your new business venture.
Remember that Google imposes a six-month penalty on new business websites; this can make it challenging to get enough traffic through your site in the first six-months. Look at what funding you can secure for your new business. This might take the form of a loan, a grant, venture capital or crowdfunding, etc.
Form Your Business
You need to decide which type of business entity you want to set up before you start running a business, e.g. sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. If you are a professional, you need to register as a professional business entity and be licensed. A Legal Stepz course will help you work through the process of business formation or how to register a trademark.
You will also need to register your business name if you choose to use a fictitious business name. If you use your given name, for example, Jane White Decorating, you can start your business. If you choose to use a fictitious business name e.g., White Unicorn Decorating, you will need to check your name is original and register it as a fictitious business name.
Get Training and Become an Expert
Training while setting up your new business is a great idea. Consider where you have gaps in your skills. You could take a course in accounting if you are not confident about this. If you plan to offer a dog grooming business you might want to consider a qualification in dog or pet care.
Certification is a great support to your credibility in business and can boost your confidence too. It is a good idea to continue training while running a business because new skills and expertise will help your business to grow.
Strive to become the best at what you do. Continuing to develop professionally by observing competitors and peers, trying new strategies, learning more about your industry, and listening to others. Feedback is important for development, so try to listen to suggestions.
Choose your Business Location
You will need to find a suitable location for running a business. This might be a spare room, an office building, or hiring an office. Where you decide to set up will depend on what you feel comfortable with and the scope of your business.
For example, an accountant might want to set up a room at home and mostly work online. They might want to hire an office and have a space for clients to visit. Another option would be to hire a small office with space for a reception and other accountants as employees. It will depend on your business vision, funds, and goal.
Business Success Tips
Your business plan will help you focus on aspects that will help you achieve success in running a business. You will need a clear USP, which is your Unique Selling Point. A USP is what makes your company stand out. Clear goals will help you identify your direction.
Treat your Business Professionally
Make sure you start your business as a business, it's ok if friends and family are customers, after all, that is how Amazon started. However, you need a strong sales strategy to grow your reach. Remain professional at all times. Your marketing strategy can help you work out the style and approach for your business.
When running a business, offer great service or products and excellent customer service. Selecting the right staff and managers, depending on your business set up, will also impact on your success. Keep your goals in mind but learn to adapt along the way.
Be Confident and Reliable
Much of running a business involves being able to adapt. When something doesn’t go well, learn from it, change it, and move in a new direction with confidence. Whether it’s other managers, or staff, they all need to know that you are reliable and will stick with the business when it is going well and when you encounter difficulties. Your staff should know what to expect from both you and the business. Some business entities are legally required to have a specific organizational structure.
Ask for Referrals and Reviews
Reviews are an essential aspect of business success today. They provide social proof for customers and clients. When running a business, you must frequently ask for reviews in various places, including your website, Google, social media, etc. There are a whole variety of ways to get reviews. You can ask personally, send email message requests to customers, etc.
You and your Startup Business’s Money
An important aspect of running a business is to have a good cash flow. This means you need to get enough money coming in and also not spend too much. Here are some tips on how to manage your startup's money.
Find Out About Investment
There are several options for investment, but not all might be suitable for your business. To apply for a business loan, you will need your EIN, or employer identity number from your Secretary of State website. This is part of forming your business which you can find out more about at Legal Stepz.
You can find about small business grants on the US Small Business Association website or your Secretary of State website.
If you have friends and family keen to invest in your business venture, this is another option. Or you might wish to start a crowdfunding campaign which friends, family and the public can support.
A limited liability company, or LLC, is a legal business entity that means you are liable for just the assets you have invested in your company. It has to be set up in a particular structure with an operation agreement and members.
Get Paid What You’re Worth
Ensure that you have covered all your costs with your pricing structure. A common mistake is to forget to include the costs of packaging. If you offer a service, research the current going rate and consider where your business sits. Do you price yourself lower because you are less established? Or are you offering a premium service or product so you can charge more?
If you want to offer a discount across your services and products do so because you have a reason for it and make sure you are still making a good profit. Don’t accept offers without a good reason.
Avoid Unnecessary Costs
Try to find ways to keep costs down. You might want to hire an office in a particular area but do you have the funds? And for your accounting, it might be cheaper for you to take a short course in accounting and learn to do it yourself than hire an accountant. You can always transfer to an accountant or a bigger office as you grow.
There are several options when forming your business. There are some running a business from home legal requirements. You might wish to consult an attorney but this can be costly and take up time. There are online formation companies that can initially look quite affordable but costs can increase depending on the type of business entity you wish to form and additional services you require.
A DIY business formation could mean you miss out on steps. An alternative like the Legal Stepz course with a video and accompanying workbook to help you work through the formation process is an affordable option.
Manage the Cash Flow
Keep a careful eye on your cash flow. Many companies fail because they spend large amounts of money on one aspect such as marketing or website design. Try to keep spending balanced across all areas of business development and relevant to the stage of your business development.
Final Word: Running a Business
When you start a new business, there is a lot to do and there are many running a business from home legal requirements. When deciding the type of business entity you want to set up you might choose to form a limited liability company or a corporation. You will also need legal documents like an EIN before you can employ anyone.
Legal Stepz was created to help you produce legal documents without a lawyer by following the video and step-by-step course. Have you tried the Legal Stepz courses? Let us know in the comments below.