According to Forbes, there are 3 essential factors that make or break a startup. They are mastering your market, having the right founders, and hiring the right team.
But how do you go about perfecting these three main aspects of a successful startup? Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone, or blindly.
Here’s a simple starting a business checklist with 10 things that will help you nail those essential elements and start turning your efforts into cash flow. You got this, now get ready to grow!
Starting a Business Checklist
You can find an endless plethora of online tips for helping your business grow, but sometimes simplicity really is key.
As you review these 10 easy tips, remember that market refers not only to the size of your potential customer base but the timing with which you present your new business.
The founder’s idea is essentially that your business has the ability (and monetary resources) to recruit the right leaders from the start. The team aspect is quite self-explanatory. How well is your business staffed, from logistics to sales, to make every aspect of things run smoothly?
Now on to the simple tips:
1. Make a Plan
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
Before you even think about launching a business or even a website, you better have every tiny detailed nailed down. This includes everything from employee responsibilities, product prices, hours of operation, your company “vision statement,” how to handle customer service emergencies and more.
If you’re unaware of how to make a proper business plan, then you may be jumping the gun a bit with this article.
First things first, get your business model established and down in writing. Once you have a plan, you can adapt and modify when necessary.
2. Create a Budget
The majority of new startups don’t start making millions overnight. In fact, we can’t think of a single one that did. This is why creating your business budget is an essential first step to a successful startup.
You need to keep careful records of where every penny is invested.
You also need to be aware of where your own personal living expenses will come from for the first year (or several), until your business starts earning. The old saying is true, “you have to spend money to make money.”
But that means you need to know how you’re going to pay your mortgage and buy groceries until you have a steady income.
The topic of branding could be an entire list in itself. Branding is so vital to the success of your business that you really need to get it right the first time.
This is why we recommend giving it thought and research before you throw a logo or cover-photo out there.
Consider color schemes, fonts, and the “life ideals” of your target audience. You are creating a brand that your niche can identify with. The question is, how well do you know your audience? Will your brand appeal to them? Do you have the analytics to back it up?
Don’t brand blindly. Base your logos, images, everything on the research of your target market.
4. Choose a Name
Funny that this important checklist item is often overlooked. Before you can create a website or start selling anything, you need to choose a good business name.
Preferably one that is unique, memorable, and has the potential for ranking high on Google searches.
5. Register Your Domain Name
What’s the good of a clever, perfect business name if the domain isn’t available? You want to register your domain name as soon as you can.
Choosing something like “firstname.lastname@example.org” makes you seem small-beans and unreliable. Show your audience you’ll be around for a while and get a legit web name and email address.
6. Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row
Even if you’re a brand new startup, it’s wise to have an attorney and/or account help you with incorporating your business so you’re protected and not left subject to losing your assets.
Decide whether you’ll go the route of sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation.
Don’t forget to apply for an EIN, employer identification number. Make sure you obtain the proper business licenses for the state or country you are in. Be sure to do your research on what permits or licenses you need if you are running a business out of your home or apartment.
You can get into a lot of trouble, heavy fines being the least of your worries, if you don’t take care of the legal aspects of starting a business before you start selling something.
7. Plan Your Social Media Strategy
If you plan to run a successful startup, social media is a must. However, it’s no longer enough to simply create a Facebook profile up and call it a day.
You need to develop a thought-out social media strategy before you create any accounts. Things like:
- Publishing calendars
- Image styles
- Font styles
- Editing rules
And much more should all be decided upon before getting started.
8. Market Yourself
Awareness is a buzzword among entrepreneurs nowadays. Marketing your new business is one of the main major keys to success.
This will include everything from Google Adwords, search engine optimization, publishing of quality, keywords appropriate content, social media advertising, beautiful graphics like these signs, radio spots, t.v. commercials, whatever type of marketing you’ve found will be most effective at reaching your audience.
Again, doing your research beforehand will save you time and money, while raising awareness about your new business at the same time.
9. Start a Revenue Stream
As soon as you can, start generating revenue. New businesses take a lot of cash to get up. Most of the items on this list can be accomplished with little or no money to start.
This is perfect for helping you get things flowing and raking in as much revenue as you can before moving on to more advanced business-growing steps like renting office space.
10. Design a Website
Even if your product or service isn’t ready to be sold, having a website with company information and details helps build your credibility.
It also allows you to start building that ever-important search engine reputation so future customers can find you.
Ready to Roll
This “starting a business checklist” will help you get the ball rolling right. If you create a solid foundation from which to launch your new business or product line, you are far more likely to succeed.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes weeks, months, or even years to get your business off the ground. With perseverance and the right business plan, your business can make it!