Organization and preparation is key when it comes to planning your business venture. There are lots of crucial lessons and new ideas you are going to learn along the way, but in the first instance, you should always have a checklist ready to know whether you’re fully prepared for your entrepreneurial journey, and whether there is anything you might have missed.
It’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that you have to be a master of every sector of the business, and neither does it mean you should be. While starting a small business will mean you are doing a lot by yourself to get it up and running, it doesn’t mean that you have to be an expert in everything.
Remember: Play to Your Strengths
You’ve chosen to begin your small business for a reason, and this will usually be because you have an idea or a skill which you are passionate about, and good at it. Playing to your strengths should always be at the forefront of your journey and this also means accepting and acknowledging the areas of business which you are weakest at so that you can employ alternative methods (such as hiring an employee or outsourcing) to make sure that everything relevant is still achieved.
Small Business Checklist
Your preparation checklist should be different to the business plan itself, and some of the points on your checklist may be long term and require revisiting on a regular basis.
- Choose Your Business Name
It’s never too early to start thinking about your business name. You cannot gain any proper progression — such as beginning to market your company or designing a startup website — if you do not yet know what you would like your business to be called.
Some tips when choosing a small business name include:
- Considering the tone of your business and a name which would adhere to that
- Making a memorable name which is catchy
- Trying out surveys or asking people for feedback on names you come up with before you finalize
- Short and simple is always best
- Check Your Desired Legal Structure
This means whether you are intending to be a Partnership company or a Limited company, and so on. For this you should consider long-term goals, or which options are best available to you at the moment.
- Write Your Business Plan
Your business won’t have a chance at succeeding if doesn’t have a proper business plan from the very beginning. A good business plan should include:
- A summary of the business
- A plan of operations
- A budget
- Business information, such as name and address (if applicable)
- Competitor analysis
- Market research
- Details of your product or service
- Your management team intentions (if you wish to employ a team or whether you will be working alone for now)
- How you intend to expand the team if you are looking to hire employees down the line
- Financial plan
- Business projections
- Open Up a Business Account
A lot of startups and entrepreneurs use a great deal of their personal finances to begin building their business and may also continue to fund their business from their personal account.
For the good of the business and also for your own healthy work-life balance, it’s a good idea to open a business account as soon as you can in order to separate your own outgoings and savings from business expenses and finances.
- Think About Marketing Efforts
Startup businesses can be marketed as soon as possible. You can still grow and build your business while marketing it as a startup. You can begin to use marketing techniques such as a new website unveil that says, ‘coming soon’, teasers and more.
To effectively market your business and drive sales, you need to implement proper SEO techniques from the very beginning. You should research guidance and tips on SEO for SMBs from authoritative sources and make sure that you’re doing correct SEO in everything you do. SEO is an essential tool for your marketing strategy and the growth of your business, so it’s important to get it right from the start.
- Decide Where You Would Like to Conduct Business
Is your business going to be an online business? If so, is it going to be run from home or a remote location? Or is your business going to be a physical store, or a physical office space with a large team?
You may not be in a position yet financially to be able to implement a proper working schedule or location, but it’s important to decide the best way for your business to be run effectively. If you’re going to have a team of people working remotely, then you need to get to grips with ways that remote working can be achieved successfully.
Also think about the need for clients or contacts to visit. Even online businesses may need a safe business place to hold meetings or meet with key contacts, and some may consider it unprofessional if you are running your business from your personal address and expect to meet clients there — it’s of course not impossible, however, but it depends entirely on how you want your business to be run and portrayed.
- Gain Your Licenses and Permits
If applicable, you may need certain registrations to operate your business legally and safely. Be sure to check any permits which may be applicable to your sector of business and the product or service you are supplying.
Starting and building your own small business is going to come with many checklists, both internally and externally. Not only do you need to have a business plan checklist for the startup itself, but you need to consider how running your own business can affect your own circumstances and finances, in regard to your location, working from home, your finances and more.
Let this checklist help you ensure that nothing is missed and that your business is a success.