Over 500,000 new businesses are founded each month. In fact, 70% of all businesses are owned and operated by a single person. However, neglecting to develop a business plan could impede your ability to achieve success.
In fact, only 33% of businesses survive beyond 10 years.
Use this new business checklist to plot your path toward success. With these tips, you’ll have direction before you launch your business. Read on to learn more.
If you don’t have a new business idea yet, take a moment to start brainstorming ideas. Consider products you already love, your talents, or passion projects you completed in the past.
Choosing a business idea based on your experiences, interests, and passions will encourage you to accomplish your goals. When you face challenges, you can consider why you decided to start your new business venture in the first place.
Here are a few small business ideas you might consider as you build your list:
- Real estate
- IT Consulting
- Graphic design
- Interior decorating
- Food services
- Pet walking or grooming
- Personal training
- Life Coaching
- Woodwork/furniture building
- Professional organizing
- Social media management
- Video production
- Marketing services
- Event planning
- Business Consulting
Determine how much time, money, and energy you can invest in your new business. You might want to start with a smaller idea before growing to offer new products and services.
Once you have a list, start narrowing down your options. Look for ideas or industries where there are gaps other businesses are neglecting.
Bring Your Idea to Life
Once you choose a business idea, determine if you want to manufacture, make, or resell a product.
Choose manufacturing if you’re unable to create a product on your own. You can outsource the creation process to an experienced manufacturer.
You might want to make the product on your own, get creative! Offer something no one else has on the market.
You can also resell an existing product if you want to launch your new business quickly. Look at products you already know and love. You can dropship or curate a product from another brand.
Don’t assume you know who your customers are or what’s happening in your chosen niche. Instead, gather research.
First, define your target audience. Who will buy your product? Consider the pain points they’re experiencing and why they need your product.
Learn more about your customers by organizing them into buyer personas based on demographic research. For example, you might group customers by age, gender, location, career, or income.
Identifying your target audience will help you:
- Make cost-effective marketing decisions
- Gather feedback
- Focus efforts on helping your customers
Next, gather market research. Use focus groups, surveys, or interviews to learn from your ideal customers.
Complete a market analysis to research your industry. Identify a smaller niche to simplify your strategy moving forward.
Analyze your potential competitors, too. Reviewing their existing products, services, and branding can help inform your choices. For example, you’ll need to define your unique selling proposition to set yourself apart from competitors.
Your unique selling proposition will give consumers a reason to choose your business instead of another.
Draft a Business Plan
Your business plan will allow you to prepare for all aspects of your business. It will outline your products, how you intend to make money, and your marketing strategy. Your business plan should include:
- An executive summary
- A business description
- Business goals
- Product descriptions
- Market research
- Marketing strategy
- Sales plan
- A business financial analysis
- Financial projects
If you plan on attracting investors, you’ll need a business plan to help them evaluate your business.
Choose a Business Structure
Choose a legal structure for your business. The structure will determine what you’re liable for, your taxes, and whether your personal property is protected.
Your options include:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited liability company (LLC)
- Limited liability partnerships (LLPs)
- Limited liability limited partnerships (LLLPs)
- S Corporation
- C corporation
Consider consulting a professional to determine which business structure suits your needs.
You can change your choice as your business grows.
Calculate Startup Costs
The cost of starting a business can vary based on your:
- Product (inventory, raw materials, supplier, etc.)
- Online store versus brick and mortar
- Marketing costs (logo, branding, print, digital)
- Team/staff (benefits, perks, salary)
- Operational costs
During the first year of opening your business, you may need to reinvest profits back into the business.
Account for as many business costs as possible when developing your business plan. Plan for unexpected costs (like taxes, legal fees, shipping, and business insurance).
Conduct a break-even analysis to determine when your business will become profitable. Try to determine how many products you need to sell to cover the production.
Measure your company’s profitability by determining your profit margin. If you sell a high volume of goods, you’ll have a lower profit margin. If you sell luxury items, you’ll have a higher profit margin.
Use your market analysis to determine how you’ll price your product.
Calculate your variable costs (costs that change depending on how much you produce). Add a profit margin. Consider your fixed costs (consistent costs, like office space).
Research different pricing strategies to make sure you’re competitive within your niche.
Keep your personal and business finances separate. Create a separate business bank account to remain organized.
Consider getting a business credit card for supplies and paying bills.
Determine how you’ll accept payments once consumers start purchasing your products. For example, will you accept credit and debit cards? You may need to look into a merchant account and payment processor.
If you plan to accept payments in person, consider investing in a point-of-sale (POS) system.
Apply for Licenses and Permits
Before starting a business, you may need to apply for licenses and permits.
For example, restaurants need to have liquor licenses and health inspections. If you plan on renovating a space, you might need a zoning permit. The city will require you to apply for a license specific to your field.
Take the time to determine what licenses and permits you need before launching your business. Reach out to your Chamber of Commerce for direction. You can also speak to industry associations, local business associations, or a business consultant.
Develop Your Marketing Strategy
A strong marketing strategy will help you acquire customers once you launch your new business.
First, develop a unique brand. Your brand includes your:
- Mission statement
- Vision statement
- Company values
- Font styles
- Imagery styles
- Color palette
Consider outsourcing your brand development to a marketing professional. Determine what marketing materials and strategies you’ll use to reach your audience.
Invest in a high-quality, user-friendly website. Your website will function as the foundation for other strategies. It also gives consumers the chance to learn more about your new business.
Don’t forget to take high-quality photos of your products (especially if you’re choosing the eCommerce route). Photos of your products will help consumers determine the value of each product. Consumers will feel more confident about purchasing your product if they can see it first.
Take lifestyle photos to showcase your product in action. Use these photos to tell a story about your brand or product. You can use these photos for social media marketing, on your website, or for your eCommerce product listings.
Look into strategies like content creation, SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing. If you need help, outsource!
A strong marketing strategy can help your business experience immediate growth.
Prepare for Taxes
Starting a business also comes with new tax responsibilities. You may need to pay your taxes throughout the year instead of waiting for tax season.
Consider working with a tax advisor as you get started. Filing taxes as an entrepreneur can feel complex, especially when you first get started.
Consider networking with other business professionals. Having a strong network can help you learn from other like-minded individuals. You can learn from their success stories or failures to set your own business up for success.
For example, you can reach out to Patch Baker Business. Partnering with an experienced professional can help you recognize areas for development and growth. The right partner will help you grow and scale your business rapidly.
You can join local entrepreneurship groups or begin networking online. Try to find business owners within your niche.
Their understanding of your industry and customers can give you an advantage.
Consider Hiring Employees
Once you’re ready to open your doors, determine if you need to hire employees. Some entrepreneurs prefer to work alone when they first launch their business.
If you plan to hire employees, consider payroll software and workers’ compensation insurance. Know what you’re looking for in a candidate before you conduct interviews.
Use This New Business Checklist to Start Strong
Having a business plan in place will help you remain organized and efficient as you start a business. Use this new business checklist to avoid any missteps. Once you complete these steps, get ready to launch your new venture!
Remember, networking or partnering with a business consultant can make all the difference to your success.
Searching for more tips? We can help.
Last Updated on May 25, 2023