How to Start a Small Business in 7 Steps

how to start a small business

A small business always starts with an idea. Maybe it is something you have been thinking about for a long time while working at your full-time job. Or, perhaps you had a breakthrough “epiphany” moment and came up with a brilliant new business idea. Good business ideas do not have to be unique, either. You can achieve success by offering improved versions of products or services already available, perhaps with lower price points.

Whatever the case, getting your small business off the ground does not require a boatload of money or years of management experience. All you need is a good business plan and strong business acumen. If you are unsure where to begin, this Balboa Capital blog post can help. It explains how to start a small business in seven steps.

Step 1: Conduct research.

Researching your market, competitors, and future customers will help you plan for success. Market research will help you determine your business idea’s immediate and long-term potential. In addition, the information you gather can be used when differentiating your brand and when developing your marketing campaign.

If you do not have enough capital to hire a research firm, you can research on the Internet. Libraries, industry associations, and state agencies are also good resources.

Step 2: Write a business plan.

A solid business plan is a challenge for many business owners. They are passionate about their ideas and want to get started quickly, and writing a business plan can slow things down. While creating a business plan is an involved and time-consuming task, it needs to be given your utmost attention.

Your plan will describe your business and the products or services it offers, along with all of the details relating to operations, financing, staffing, marketing, and growth. The primary sections of a business plan include an executive summary, business description, financial overview, marketing strategy, and sales objectives.

Step 3: Choose a business structure.

Choosing a structure can be confusing, as corporations, S corporations, partnerships, LLC’s and sole proprietorships each have their unique benefits. As a result, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney or accountant before making your decision. The type of legal business structure you choose will depend on liability, tax considerations, and record keeping.

Step 4: Select a name.

The name you choose for your small business is essential. It needs to convey what your company is about and resonate with potential customers and investors. Catchy, simple, and easily understandable names can grab the attention of your intended audience. Write all of your choices down and revisit them after a few days or weeks to see if you still like them.

After narrowing down your favorites, conduct an online search to determine if they are already taken. You can also check with the US Patent and Trademark Office to see if a name is trademarked. Once you decide on a business name, register it with your state or county clerk’s office. Then, hire an intellectual property attorney to trademark your business name for added protection.

Step 5: Get licenses and permits.

Depending on the type of business you are starting and the state in which it is located, you may need to get a variety of licenses and permits. Federal, state, and local governments require these. Consult with an attorney to determine which licenses and permits you need to comply with business laws. Not doing this can result in legal problems down the road, as well as hefty fines.

Step 6: Obtain business funding.

Most entrepreneurs are cash-strapped before launching their companies. If you lack start-up funds, there are several small business funding options for you to consider. Credit cards, crowdfunding, small business loans, and raising money from family members and friends are popular choices to finance start-ups.

Step 7: Launch.

After all of your hard work, it is time to make your dream of entrepreneurship a reality and launch your new business. Get the word out on social media and your website to make your launch a success. Also, send an email announcement to your friends, family members, and business contacts. New businesses are newsworthy, so call the editor at your local newspaper to let them know about your business and ask if you can be featured in a story.

The information in this blog post has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for tax, legal, investment, or accounting advice. You should consult with your accountant, lawyer, or tax advisor before making any business decisions or moving forward with business funding.