Starting a business is exciting. It’s tempting to launch as soon as you have an idea. You want to capitalize on the enthusiasm and momentum you’re enjoying. HOWEVER (not yelling, just emphasizing), there are a few steps to take and things to get organized before you start your business startup.
I know you’re thinking, “But, Theresa can’t I just get going and put things into place as I go along?”
Trust me, taking these steps will ensure that you have an easier time getting started and succeeding…
1. Check Your Business Name
It’s important that your desired business name isn’t owned by anyone else. You want to make sure that your business name has an available trademark. You can visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. If someone owns the trademark, it’s time to brainstorm a new name. If no one does, grab it. Also make sure that the URL or website address for your business is available.
2. Check the Legalities
Investigate what your legal requirements are. For example, what regulations govern your industry? What licenses, insurances, and certifications might be necessary for you to be legally compliant in your industry and your area?
You can do the research on your own. You can also hire a lawyer to help you make sure that your legal bases are covered. And taxes, they are another factor to consider. An accountant can help you with the financial implications and requirements for your business.
Every state has different requirements, so make sure you understand specifics for your area.
3. Paying Yourself
It can take a little while before you’re profitable. How will you live between now and then? Do you have money set aside? Are you going to work a full-time job and build you business on the side? If so, does this go against any company agreements? What are your living expenses and how will you cover them?
You’ll want to make financial plans for yourself. This may mean cutting back on personal expenses for a few months or working for a few more months on your new venture before you quit your current job. Some entrepreneurs wisely work part time while they launch their business. Then they have a little income to rely on and more free time to work on their businesses. These are just a few questions you’ll need very clear answers to before you get started.
4. Managing Cash Flow
Establish a budget for your business and stick to it. In fact, if you can save money in the beginning, do it. Only spend money on items that will help you build your business and will have a solid ROI (return on investment). Education, marketing and technology are three areas that can offer a solid return on investment.
5. Plan Your Time Before You Start Your Business Start-Up
Finally, make sure that you have enough time in your life to devote to building your business. You will work crazy hard when you start your business. It’s not uncommon to put in 80 hour work weeks. Yes, if you love what you’re doing then it’s not “work.” However, if you have other significant time commitments it can be difficult to find balance and to grow a successful business.
Starting your own business is tremendously rewarding. However, before you start your business startup, ask yourself the tough questions. Get realistic about your business and make sure that you get started on the right foot.
One book that I found very helpful and I still refer to is Nolo’s Small Business Start-Up Kit it covers legal requirement in-depth and they just published their latest edition, you can go check it out on Amazon (affiliate link).
Now go start doing some research!