Button up your business idea. Envision a product or service that’s unique and fulfills a need or solves a problem. Additionally, self-reflect to ensure you have what it takes to start a new business.
MARKET RESEARCH & TARGET COMPETITION
Thoroughly conduct market research. Examine the industry and trends in the market, research prospective customers and their buying habits, and identify competitors. Market research and competition analytics is an important process in small business stages.
DEVELOP A BUSINESS MODEL
Create a business model and test it. On paper, build the high-level framework that your business will operate in. Test the model by determining when the business will be able to cover expenses and realize a profit.
STRUCTURE THE BUSINESS
Sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation? Research which one best suits your needs and move forward with registering your business or corporation.
ASSESS FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Whether raising capital for startup or expansion, your options include self-funding, equity (angel and venture), debt (loans from financial institutions), and crowdfunding to help assemble the appropriate balance of funds needed for your business.
IMPLEMENT A BUSINESS PLAN
Define the strategies and goals of your business and how you will operate it profitably. This living document should be updated as needed and will answer many of the questions banks or investors will ask.
BUSINESS LICENSES, INSURANCE & OTHER REGULATIONS
Make sure your business is operating legally. It is advisable to seek legal counsel and authoritative resources.
CREATE BRAND IDENTITY
Plan your marketing strategy. Figure out what differentiates you from the rest of the market and capitalize on it.
REFINE, MATURE & INNOVATE
Your business plan must evolve. Recognize what worked and what didn’t by digging into your business’s analytics. Pay attention to your executive statements, which will inform your decisions about new opportunities.