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What are some essential steps to starting a business?

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Anthony’s Answer

Hey Azaria,

I would suggest speaking with the Small Business Administration to help you start the basics

www.sba.gov

Also, interview someone who you know who has their own business and ask them for advice as well.

Hope that helps

Thank you! Azaria W.

You are welcome Anthony Sharp - The Edutainer (HE He/Him/His)

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Timothy’s Answer

Hi Azaria!

Great question! As someone who is a business owner myself, I can tell you that a lot of what others have responded with will be very helpful in starting a small business. There is, however, one step that I didn't see mentioned which I believe anyone aspiring to starting a business complete first: make a business plan!

A business plan is your formalization of what you believe your business is/should be. It is something that will be your road map as you navigate the various steps of starting your business. An effective business plan will have a timeline of what you need to complete as well as your target for completion. The process of writing the business plan will also help you with coming up with ideas on how to accomplish things you didn't think about prior. A lot of times, aspiring business owners are very excited about the product or end result but forget all the steps in between to get to that point. A business plan will tie all your ideas together and be something that you can reference back to along your journey.

Spend some time with this step. If it is worth expending the effort to start a business, it is worth spending a bit of time planning beforehand. Your business plan will also help you when/if you will need to communicate your ideas to others, whether you are looking for partners for your startup or need to show someone how well thought out your idea is.

Finally, in addition to your business plan, the next most essential part of starting any business in my opinion is not second-guessing yourself. Starting a business is difficult. It can be even harder to find success. But you'll never be able to get to that point if you doubt yourself and/or overthink why you are doing it in the first place. If you are convinced that you have an idea that you love, go for it! File your Fictitious Business Name statement, open a business bank account and start your business! Being a small business owner can be incredibly rewarding and give you a fantastic amount of freedom! But you will never get there if you listen to naysayers or worry too much about all the technical aspects of owning a business. If you are passionate about what you will be doing, the rest will work itself out.

Good luck and I wish you a ton of success!

Timothy recommends the following next steps:

Make a business plan
File a DBA
Open a business bank account to separate business finances from personal
Find a good CPA who is willing to be a business advisor as well
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Bob’s Answer

Be sure to fully understand the problem you are attempting to solve as well as be able to characterize the type and numbers of people who have that problem. Is this a local, regional, state, federal or global problem? How is that problem solved today by other vendors? Why is your solution substantially better than others? What can you do that no one else can do? Can you protect your solution with patents, trade secrets, copyrights? Where do you fit in the supply chain (design, licensing, manufacture, distribution, repair, et cetera)? What is your business model (pricing for luxury brand or broad consumer brand, how will you make a profit)? Is the business sustainable ( once established can you grow the business w/other products or services)? Who is your first customer? If someone gave you all the money you need to fund the start up, what steps would you take?

Bob recommends the following next steps:

Read industry magazines on the industry you wish to enter. Attend industry shows to meet and network with industry leaders.
See if you are able to purchase an existing consulting analysis of the industry and supply chain.
Interview leaders and other entrepreneurs in the industry.
Obtain a job in a small company that focuses on the area of business in the industry you wish to pursue. Learn b/4 you invest time and effort.
Develop a funding plan to lay out what you know and what you do not yet know about the focused area of the industry you will enter.
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Padraig’s Answer

1. The business plan. You need this, and a full one at that with a complete financial plan. Once you have forecast your sales/planned the numb ers for the years ahead, cut them in half and test whether the business will work. Whatever you plan for, expect half or less.
2. The team. Unless you are a consultant or this is a lifestyle career, you must plan the team well. Investors invest in people first and foremost, so the team is EVERYTHING!
3. Know that Cash is King. You need to learn how to manage cashflow. Without understanding this, your business will fail. (I have been in a business where I held a cheque for €750,000, but had essential gone bust, as the cash never came in. This was due to poor cash management.
4. Prepare to wear many hats. IF you are setting up your business, you will be Founder/Owner/Director/HR/Manager/Procurement/Sales/Technology/Web Developer and so on... you need to have your finger on the pulse of every aspect of what it takes to set up a business.
5. Go 'Lean'. Read the Lean Startup. - Bootstrap your business, put everything in the cloud, but ruthless with contracts/financial agreements, secure beneficial payment days (90 days+). Have cash in the bank for 9 months salary at a minimum, but do not expect sales to come in, in tthe first 6 months.
6. IF you are selling product or services; understand that it will take you circa 3 months to generate sales and begin invoicing. It will take at least 3 months to receive settlement of those invoices. - Maybe longer! (Know your customer!!!! Be selective!!!)
7. Raise the correc tamount of funds beforehand.

These are tips. But before you do anything you need to know your product/service inside out, live it, breathe it. Know it sells already and its value.
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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hello Azaria,

Great question! In addition to the other responses, I'd like to add to do your research about the market in which you want to start your business. Make sure there is a demand-- or find a solution to a consumer's need. You sound like you have an entrepreneurial spirit which is awesome-- I would also suggest reading up on other entrepreneurs-- Daymond John is a great example in my opinion.

Good luck!

Thank you! Azaria W.

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Junnie’s Answer

Dear Azaria,

You are getting some really good advices from Bob, Kiirsten and Russell above.

Here are more information to help your thinking process:

1. Ideation: What kind of business do you have in mind?
For example:
What? What kind of value are you providing to your customers?
Where? Where are your customers?
How? How to reach your customers?
When? Are the products seasonal?
Who? Who are your competitors?

2. Define what success looks like so you'll know when you get there.

3. What will make the business worthwhile for you?

4. Cost structure:
Think about any one-time start up cost. Rent, website hosting fee, apps fee, etc.
What is your break-even point?
How much business do you need to start making money?


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Russel’s Answer

Must be what you love and NOT a hard burden that you hate. Decide if you want to be social and interact directly with all areas of the public or not.
Social and creative = Real Estate, Insurance Sales (Multiple areas), Pharmacy sales - (requires MBA)
Non public - delivery service - logistics - small manufacturing

Russel recommends the following next steps:

First have the funds to survive for at least one year without income
Next have a set absolute amount you have to invest
Next commit to woking 12 - 18 hours a day - after all it is your business
Next - determine what license - certifications - state and local if applicable
Franchise - if an option - must provide on-line interactive support on-demand

Thank you! Azaria W.

I know you will do great things .. never let ANYONE demean or crush your dreams! Investigate and gain knowledge Russel Arnett

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