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Starting A Small Business

April 29, 2021
Bill Kimball

guide to starting a business

Keeping your personal and professional finances separate makes doing your business taxes much simpler and can help you automate some of the financial steps to starting a business as well. There are plenty of businesses you can start with only a small startup cost, but others will require money for inventory, equipment, or physical space.

You can download our free Lean Planning Template right now to get started. You need to plan, set goals, and above all, know yourself. You could conduct a SWOT analysis on yourself to figure this out. Before diving into the details of your potential business, it’s best to take stock of yourself and your situation.

At its core, a business plan helps you prove to yourself and others whether or not your business idea is worth pursuing. It’s the best way to take a step back, look at your idea holistically, and solve for issues years down the road before you start getting into the weeds. A professional website is critical to the long-term success of your business, regardless of what industry you are in.

  • It is worth the modest investment of a few hundred dollars.
  • The employee must promptly disclose to the company any inventions, ideas, discoveries, and work product related to the company’s business that they make during the period of employment.
  • Do send the pitch deck in a PDF format to prospective investors in advance of a meeting.
  • On a piece of paper, handwrite a plan for your business.

Business contracts are legally binding written agreements between two or more parties. They are an important part of business and such agreements need to be created and/or negotiated carefully.


Before you register, you need to make sure the name you want is available in your state. Business names are registered on a state-by-state basis, so it’s possible that a company in another state could have the same name as yours. This is only concerning if there’s a trademark on the name. If you are a new corporation or LLC, your business name will automatically be registered with your state when you register your business. Finally, financial projections will be made, and short-term and long-term goals will be set for the business. Once you’ve outlined your costs, you’ll need to justify them by detailing your financial projections.

If you haven’t hired people for the planned roles yet, that’s OK — just make sure you identify those gaps and explain what the people in those roles will be responsible for. The only way we can hope to differentiate well is to define the vision of the company to be an information technology ally to our clients. We will not be able to compete in any effective way with the chains using boxes or products as appliances.

Start by checking out our guide to small-business grants. Then, head over to Grants.gov, which is a searchable, online directory of more than 1,000 federal grant programs. It might be a long process, but it doesn’t cost you any equity. While some things you can do on your own, it’s best to consult with a lawyer when starting out, so you can make sure you’ve covered everything that you need. If someone doesn’t like one idea, it doesn’t mean they hate everything you’ve just said. Remember that these people are trying to help, and they might just be pointing out a smaller problem or solution that you should look into further.

Build Your Business

One of the most important systems for a small business is an accounting system. Paperwork is a part of the process when you start your own business. Don’t forget to register your domain name once you have selected your business name. Try these options if your ideal domain name is taken.

guide to starting a business

In fact, office perks can turn out to bemore like traps than real benefits. Make sure everyone understands the vision and their role within that mission at the very start. Also, make sure you have the necessary certificates or educational requirements, so that when someone inquires about your service, you’re ready to jump at a good opportunity. Rates can vary for engineers depending on their specialties, so make sure you’re not paying an overqualified engineer when you could get the same end result for a much lower price.

You could acquire another business, start targeting a new market, expand your offerings and more. But, no growth plan will matter if you don’t have the two key attributes that all growing companies have in common. Especially if you’re looking at an older building or if you’re starting an online business, make sure the space can support your high-tech needs. If you’re getting serious about a building, you might want to hire an engineer to check out the state of the place to get an objective evaluation. When starting the hiring process you need to take a lot of things into consideration, from screening people to asking the right questions and having the proper forms.

Step 9: Define Your Brand And Promote Your Business

Investing time and money up front to obtain legal advice can save you from considerable headaches down the road. Your country’s laws will outline the different business structures you can form and whether or not you need a business license to get started.

guide to starting a business

And, we offer lots of tips on how you can find a balance running your new business and making your family happy. There’s a time in almost every entrepreneur’s career when you feel like you’re going it alone. When you first start your business, there’s a good chance that you will be.

If you are simply creating a business plan in order to stimulate a discussion with potential partners and associates, you may want to consider opting for a “startup plan,” also known as a feasibility plan. As your business grows you can flesh out the sections as you see fit. If you do need to write a formal business plan document, you should follow the outline below. Here’s the thing, your business plan does not have to be a formal document at all if you don’t need to present your plan to outsiders. In the simplest terms, a business plan is a roadmap—something you will use to help you chart your progress and that will outline the things you need to do in order to reach your goals.

Deciding on the right business structure and entity for your needs, searching for and finding the right business name and how to go about filing and registering your new business. Understanding your current skills and expertise, how to find out if your family is ready, deciding on the lifestyle you want and balancing running a business against having a day job.

Your business name is the single most important identifier for your new company. It’s how your customers will identify and remember you. It’s part of your company’s brand identity and will influence your logo design and your entire visual brand.

You should also search your home state’s database of registered businesses. Be sure to search for similar names to avoid confusion in your market. Every business needs to know who its customers are. Conduct some market research to understand typical consumer behavior, pain points and market trends in your chosen industry, so you can see where your potential startup might fit in. This is especially important right now, given the current economic climate and how typical consumer activities and lifestyles have changed in light of COVID-19. Before you start a business, you’ll need to research, plan and execute some important pre-launch activities if you want to set yourself up for success. You’ll also need to think carefully about your business plan and model to determine how it will fare today and in the post-COVID world.

Steps To Starting Your Business

You’ll also identify your growth plan and set targets and measures for your marketing and sales activities. A business plan is a living document that maps out the details of your business.

guide to starting a business

Sometimes the best naming ideas come after bouncing names with a friend as a second opinion helps give you a different perspective. So feel free to get a second opinion if you feel stuck when choosing the right brand name. The business name you choose should be catchy, memorable, easy to spell when heard, have available usernames and a domain, and be concise. The important thing to stress about a partnership is that you really need to know how well you work with someone. How have the two of you managed conflicts in the past?

Our services include design and installation of network systems, training, and support. Here’s where you can go into detail about what you’re selling and how it benefits your customers.