Although it seems that many new businesses are launched every single day, it’s not always as easy as you think. There’s an endless amount of time, effort, and planning that goes into creating and launching a new business. From writing a business plan to consulting multiple outside parties in order to get established, reach your goals, and achieve success. Have a bright idea you’d like to transform into a business venture? We have the new business owner checklist you need to create, establish, and maintain your business.
Create a business plan
Your business plan goes into detail far beyond simply ‘creating a business to make money,’ although, this is the common business goal. There are a lot of fine details and answers to common business questions incorporated into your business plan, such as what your business is about, what value it brings to your customers, information about your competitors, market size, your goals and how you plan to execute them. Many entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with writing a business plan and some may lack understanding of its importance. This meticulous, yet valuable process will help you understand the fine details of your business and reveal opportunities you may not have thought about before.
Choose a business name
While your business name is all your own to decide, it’s recommended you choose something that is both unique, memorable and gives meaning to what you do. Also, when it comes to incorporating, if the name that you want to use is too close to that of an existing company, the Secretary of State will make you chose a new name for your entity.
Determine your legal structure
Whether you choose to become a corporation or choose an LLC, as the correct entity, you’ll need an experienced business lawyer to assist you during this process. Maintaining a relationship with that business lawyer is valuable to your company because they can assist you with the drafting or review of contracts, handbooks, and other important documents as well as advise you when you’re in a bind.
Solidify Your Relationship with your banker
Funding can often be difficult to obtain when you’re just starting out. While some folks think that friends and family will help with funding without all of the formalities, oft times such funding has more strings attached to it then the strings that your bank may require. As such, a solid relationship with your banker can help. Most good business bankers can act as an informal advisor to a new business owner when seeking to fund, including helping you out with the application process for SBA loans, business credit cards to fund immediate and necessary business items, and other options.
Build a website and develop a marketing plan
In today’s economy, how will people find you online if you don’t have a website? If you don’t take the necessary steps to develop a clear plan to market your business, you may not go far enough to reach your audiences. The process of building your website and developing a marketing strategy and plan should also begin with building your brand. Meet with branding or marketing consultants who can help you create the brand you envision. Usually, this process includes creating a logo and other branding materials that will be reflected on your website and your business materials. Many entrepreneurs overlook the value of marketing their business and miss out on opportunities to connect with audiences and obtain new customers. Your marketing plan can include everything from finding your target audiences to advertising to building relationships with your audiences and customers.
Order business materials
With your newly-designed branding materials and logo, you can order any pertinent business materials to give to potential clients. This should include business cards first and foremost, brochures or rack cards, and any items you’d like to include your business’s brand on. You can use any business funding you previously acquired to order your business materials.
Rent retail or office space
Working out of your home seems convenient until you need to schedule meetings with clients. Your business operation may not look the most professional if you have to host potential clients in your living room. Many entrepreneurs can be more productive when working away from home, also. If you don’t have the capital yet for your own office space, an affordable option is signing up for a membership with a co-working space in your local area.
Consult your insurance agent about coverage
Business owners, especially a new business owner, often overlook the importance of obtaining insurance to meet a business’s particular needs. What many business owners need to understand is that accidents can and will happen. It’s highly encouraged that businesses have at the very least general liability insurance to cover any general issues and it is recommended businesses evaluate their needs for insurance to cover data loss or worker’s compensation if you will have employees when starting out. More insurance coverage may be necessary for some businesses than for others, depending on the type of business, but it’s important for owners to assess the coverage needs now rather than later, even when you’re just starting out. Also, please note that your personal automobile insurance policy more than likely has an exclusion for accidents that occur when using your vehicle for business purposes. As such, sitting down with a qualified business insurance professional is a must to ensure that any potential exclusions are covered.
Secure your information
No business is too small to become a victim of ransomware or other cyber attacks. Ensure your data is always backed up, your business and client information is protected and hire an IT consultant to watch and safeguard your data for you.
While this checklist for a new business owner offers succinct information to create and establish your business, it is not exhaustive, and maintaining and succeeding is all up to you. Attending community events, network, advertise and more to launch your business to success. Consult your business lawyer for other important business to-do’s, like filing for trademarks and patents, and more. Business lawyers can also be a good source of referrals! If you are a new business owner or in the process of starting a business, feel free to contact me for small business legal counsel and advice.