by Uta Nelson
Being a new small business owner and enthusiastic entrepreneur, I wanted to share some thoughts building your own business as well as some valuable resources.
Where do you start? Answering this list of questions and moving towards completing some of the tasks will give you a framework for operation:
- What type of product or service would you like to offer? How much do you know about the product or service and where can you acquire additional knowledge about it?
- In what kind of legal business structure will you operate?
- Apply for a Federal EIN number through the IRS (see IRS website for more information, application can be done online)
- Who will your clients be and what kind of connection do you currently have to them?
- Start-up costs: How much funding do you need to start and run your business for two years (time it usually takes to get into the black)? How much do you have and what would your financing options be? (Grants are available for certain kinds of businesses).
- Look at financial tracking and accounting tools. I like QuickBooks (qb) because it is
- easy to use, has a great interface and training for it is easily available
- a cost-effective solution at about $10 per month for the basic online version
- versatile, among other functionalities you can import your own logo, create purchase order invoices
- designed to share with your accountant, taxes can be files easily based on your QB files.
- Make a budget. When making a budget in qb (available in the online version qb Plus, categories of expenses are suggested and facilitate the process. Meet with the accountant of your choice early, it is good to capture all that can be used for taxes early on while you have more time.
- Make a business plan for a one to five year timeframe if you can. What are your sales goals? Keep them realistic to avoid frustration. What are your running costs and what investments are you planning to make? Identify must-haves and nice-to-haves. Do you have to hire any outside help?
- Establishing a web presence is usually part of a company’s start-up costs. There are many options out there, from creating your own site with WordPress templates to very interactive custom sites. Start as simple as you can while keeping it professional, upgrade as you grow.
- Get noticed and get out there! Look for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services and advertise in places where you reach potential customers. Email blasts can be another effective tool of communication, just limit the amount sent every year. Join networking groups that interest you and small business associations, and get affiliated with a professional organization in your field of work.
A good mentor as a sounding board throughout this process is invaluable.
There are many resources that I found on my way to entrepreneurship, below are a few good ones:
- http://www.georgia.org/small-business/ : this site has a wealth of information on every aspect of starting your small business and it is easy to navigate. Look for a similar page for your state if you are not in Georgia.
- score.org, https://atlanta.score.org/ : free advice, mentorship, workshops and much more from retired professionals.
- http://smallbiztrends.com/ great resource for what is trending in the small business world.
- Get Clients Now! (TM): A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches by C.J. Hayden. My favorite book for building a solid customer base.
Please comment below if you have additional input or resources to share.