Updated: Mar 2
1. Assess your KSD – Knowledge, Skill, and Desire
If you are starting a new business, it ain’t happening easy. Before you start, make sure you’ve assessed your knowledge, skills, and desires. Make a Venn diagram. You know, like this…
If any of those cross, that might be a good place to start. Don’t forget the biggest factor though. Make sure you love it.
2. Research the Market
If you have an idea, great! If you don’t have an idea, great! The two types of market research you’ll be doing are - looking at what people are spending money on and whether or not people will want to give you that money in exchange for your product/service.
Sometimes people get a business idea by stubbing their toe in the shower. Then they research to see how many other people are in that business. Some people notice that there is always one kind of bread that’s out of stock. They research to see if it’s because lots of people are buying that shampoo and if he compete by making his own shampoo.
3. Put your business plan in writing
Can’t stress this enough. You are going to be putting your precious time and hard earned money into this thing. Spend at least a week doing market research, calculating an operating budget, and setting SMART goals. If you don’t have time to do this, you don’t have time to run a business.
This will give you a long term plan and reveal any blind spots. It may even show that the idea would work, but you have absolutely no desire to do that idea every day for 40+ hours a week.
4. Make it official
Answer these questions:
i. What’s your business structure? Is it registered?
ii. What is your (official) business name?
iii. What’s your federal tax ID?
iv. What’s your State tax ID?
v. Do you have all the permits and proper license?
vi. Do you have a separate business bank account?
vii. Should you file trademarks, copyrights, or patents?
5. Get feedback
Ask your friends, family, people of reddit, anyone you can about your idea. You can even hire a company to put together a focus group to represent your target demographic. The numbers might look good, but there may be something missing that only people can tell you. What seems like a minor tweak can mean make or break for a startup!
6. Finance your business
To finance your business there are a TON of options. A couple of them: Save the money yourself, which is called bootstrapping. Find an investor, which could be a bank, a family member, or even an ANGEL. Seriously, google it.
7. Develop your product
How is this being manufactured, distributed and sold? Answering these questions early can save a lot of grief. They should also come up while making your business plan!
8. Build your team
Who is manufacturing, distributing, and sales?
9. Find a location
If you are opening a physical store, it’s real estate time! We aren’t going to try to get too deep into this in one paragraph, but remember there are only three things that matters… location, location, location.
10. Get business insurance!
This should speak for itself, but don’t leave out the insurance… There are lots of great business insurance policies and would be a great place to start your search. Make sure whatever company you go with understands small business.
11. Get some sales
Getting your first sale may be the most exciting and most important thing you’ve had happen in a long time! It’s addicting and will start to come together as soon as you receive that first check.