Critical Steps to Take When Starting a Business
Guest post by Chelsea Lamb
So, you want to start a business. While it’s true that running a business can be thoroughly rewarding, it requires you to work a little harder than the rest, and it also requires a lot of steps to be taken in the early stages. Some of the steps are quite fun, and others not so much.
Solomon Bruce Consulting is here to help you realize your business dreams. Here are some indispensable tips for getting your new business off to a great start—from choosing a legal structure to attracting clients.
Settle on a Business Structure
Every business needs a legal structure, as it will determine many factors of your operations, including the taxes you pay and protection from liability. The easiest structure to use is a sole proprietorship; many business owners who work alone go this route. However, as a sole proprietor, the government makes no distinction between your business and your personal identity, which means that your assets are not protected against litigation.
If you want to keep your personal identity and business entity separate, it’s better to form an LLC. This structure is easier than a corporation to set up and manage, and you still get asset protection along with various tax advantages.
Prepare for Taxes
No matter what kind of business you start, you will need to plan for taxes. If you operate alone, you’ll need to pay self-employment taxes. If you have employees, you’ll need to pay employment taxes. And some business owners are required to pay excise taxes. The type and amount of taxes you owe will depend on the kind of business entity you form. Study up now so that you don’t get into legal hot water down the road.
Figure Out How to Acquire Clients
Getting funding is another essential step in starting a business, but you often need to figure out how to attract clients before you score funding. That comes down to three primary tasks: marketing your brand, developing a sales script and sales process, and earning enthusiasm and repeat business from your clients.
Find your target client, and develop a unique brand identity that sets your company apart from the competition. Build a strong presence on the web through your website, social media, email marketing, and so on. Determine clear sales goals, establish a sales infrastructure, and use tools that can help you generate leads and sales. And make sure you maintain the quality of your product or service so that clients keep giving you their business.
If you need assistance with acquiring new clients, it might be worth investing in freelance lead generation services. You can easily find specialists on online job platforms who can attract clients via email and content marketing, cold calls, PPC advertisement, and other methods.
Most businesses need financing and startup capital in the early stages. Once you get to the point where you are seeing a steady profit, you likely won’t need to borrow money from other sources. However, until then, draw up a thorough business plan — complete with your growth strategy, funding needs, and financial projections — and explore your options with angel investors, small business loans, crowdfunding, and/or other types of financial assistance. Of course, if you have friends or family members who believe in your product/service and are willing to invest with no interest attached, that’s ideal!
You might think it’s easier to combine your personal finances with your business finances, but this is a recipe for disaster. Even as a new business, you want to be able to clearly see what you’re spending and what you’re bringing in, separate from all of your personal transactions. Opening a bank account specifically for your business is also necessary when it comes to paying taxes and employees, building a banking relationship for credit purposes and presenting a professional image. When choosing the best business bank account, look for an account with features that go beyond keeping your money safe. The ideal account will offer perks like free instant deposit, high-yield savings, payroll integration and cash flow projections.
Getting a business up and running involves exciting and mundane tasks. Make sure you handle both. And that includes setting up a business structure, learning about taxes, developing client acquisition strategies, and obtaining the financing you need to position yourself for success. If you get discouraged along the way, just remember your goals and keep pushing forward!
Image via Burst