4 answers

What are good steps on starting up/maintaining a business?

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4
100% of 4 Pros

4 answers

Kelly’s Answer

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I sought the advice of my sister who has successfully started two different businesses:
Some tips on how to start a business. The answers provided already are very good I would consider all of their ideas in addition to this:

1. Spend some time thinking about the reasons you want to start a business, what motivates you, the ideas you have, and start organizing this information. Think about what your objectives are, and collect this as data that will be instrumental in writing a business plan. Identify your unique strengths, weaknesses and resources. Do not underestimate the importance of assembling a business plan!!! It should cover a complete spectrum of all aspects of a business that need to be addressed for success. Look for a template and go through the steps to pull it together. (look into a way to tap a “Business 101 for dummies” in book form, workshop or website)
2. Research and Reconnaissance are really important. Learn as much as you can about the industry/market you are interested in. Take every opportunity to look more deeply into the businesses and brands you admire, for inspiration.
3. Do your homework, by learning about the mechanics of starting a business- your state regulations, business filings, tax implications, funding options.
4. Find a way to test out your idea, like through surveys, interviews, product/service trials with people fitting your potential customer base.
5. Recruit a coach or mentor with experience who can advise you, provide feedback, help you network for resources.
6. Be prepared to be passionate about your new venture, and to work hard at making it a reality even when things get tough. Know that you will need to be resilient and keep a strong positive attitude.
7. Enjoy the process and the exciting learning experience you are launching by starting your own business!
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Jessica’s Answer

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In addition to what Ryan said above, talk about your idea out loud as much as possible before you invest any money. Have information interviews with your potential customers. Find out if they would find value in what you are offering, get an idea of how much they would be willing to pay for the said product or service. Then you know you have something the market wants, otherwise you might have an idea that is forward thinking that the market is not yet ready for but can be taught. If your idea can be implemented without a lot of capital, you might want to conduct a proof of concept. If you need capital, there are lots of ways to find investors, google crowd funding, kickstarter, etc. I just completed an MBA course and the book was really good 'Patterns of Entrepreneurship Management' by Jack Kaplan and Anthony Warren. It takes you from A to Z when it comes to concept to cash. Including the energy and mindset it takes to start your own business. Good luck!
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Gabe’s Answer

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The most important thing, from my perspective, is to develop a business plan. I suspect the small business administration has sample plans or guidance in that regard. Also know that if one venture does not work, others may and in a big way.
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Ryan’s Answer

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Running your own business is a complicated and difficult undertaking, but has the potential to be very rewarding. I just started one myself about a year ago; it is not as successful yet as I imagined, but, in all honesty, I haven't put the the work into it that it needs to be successful.

First thing is first, you need an idea for a business. This takes creativity, and patience. One does not simply sit down on the couch for 20 minutes brainstorming and come up with an idea for a legitimate business. You need to examine yourself, your environment, your community, and find something that you think people need and either aren't getting, are getting enough of, or aren't getting it in a good enough quality.

Once you know what goods or services you want to deliver to people, you need a basic business model. Which is a fancy way of saying, how will you make money? This takes A LOT of research. What goes into making your product/service? What are your competitors doing? What do you need to do to differentiate yourself? How, and how long will it take to find customers? It also takes a lot of work determining your expenses. Do you need training? Office supplies? Computers? A vehicle for transportation? What does advertising cost? Do you need workspace? Storage space? Employees or partners? Etc. etc.

The first two steps alone took me months. You may be able to just that timeline one way or another, slightly, but at this point you're not making a profit yet - so you're probably working another job to pay the bills, or going to school to educate yourself.

Once your confident that you have a sustainable idea, and that your idea has the potential to earn more money that it will cost to sustain it, then it is time to move forward. For me, that meant registering my business with the state, trademarking the company/product name, obtaining a Tax ID from the IRS, and then using my state business license and Tax ID to open a banking account in my business' name. I then loan my business some money, and used that money to buy a website, social media pages on all the big platforms, and buy the basic hardware I would need to do conduct my business (in my case, cameras, microphones, computers, video editing software, etc.).

Once you have what you need, you launch, which is to say you start advertising and acquiring customers (and retaining customers). There are many tips and tricks here, from soliciting reviews, offering return customer discounts, offering incentives to customers who recruit other customers, creating mailing lists, etc etc. Its difficult to get into specifics without knowing exactly what your business is. But, like I said, this step is months away. I would focus on the business idea and the business plan first. Cross the customer acquisition and retention bridge when you come to it.
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