There’s no way around it—starting a business is difficult. There is no clear-cut path to success. Fellow entrepreneurs should treat the following list as a set of guidelines—not necessarily as a checklist. Even if you complete the below tasks, your business may not glean the results you want. Nevertheless, here are some essential tasks to consider when starting your own business.
- If you’re on this page, you already have a vague idea of the type of business you might like to start. Now, it’s time to see if it’s as unique as you thought. Does the idea have potential to succeed? A successful business will either solve a problem, fulfill a need, or offer something the market wants. Run your idea through a validation process before going forward.
- Make a plan. A plan can help you and potential investors visualize your future business in a very real, tangible way. This is a blueprint that will guide your business from the start-up phase through establishment. Using a business plan writing guide will aid the process.
- Plan your finances. Not all small businesses require a lot of money to operate. However, start-up money is nearly always necessary in order to cover those first few expenses. Put together a spreadsheet that estimates the one-time startup costs for your business, such as licenses and permits. Then, create a spreadsheet to anticipate what you need for the next twelve months—utilities, rent, marketing and advertising, supplies, production, &c. When combined, those numbers equal the initial investment you will need.
- Secure your finances. Once you have a better idea of your initial business costs, brainstorm ways to raise the money. Apply for small business loans or grants. Consider using crowdfunding tools like Kickstarter.
- Consider and/or secure the following necessities: Licenses and permits, supplies, equipment, office space, associations, subscriptions, memberships, operating expenses, legal fees, employees, freelancers, and contractors.