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Episode 21: How to Start a Business

WE will talk about all the steps to start your own business. — Support this podcast:

What Business do you want to start?– What do you want to do or sell? Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. Many small-business ideas carry low startup costs and can be run from home. What is your why? To refine your business idea, identify your “why,” your target customers and your business name.

You need to clarify why you want to work with these customers – do you have a passion for making people’s lives easier?

You want to define how you will provide this value to your customers and how to communicate that value in a way that they are willing to pay.  You will need a business plan – A strong business plan can help you prepare for every aspect of your business. Conducting thorough market research on your field and demographics of potential clientele is an important part of crafting a business plan. This involves conducting surveys, holding focus groups, and researching SEO and public data.  A business plan helps you figure out where your company is going, how it will overcome any potential difficulties and what you need to sustain it.

Finances – Many startups fail because they run out of money before turning a profit. How much revenue do I need to generate to cover all my expenses? Which products or services turn a profit, and which ones are sold at a loss?

Price a product or service. When most people think about pricing, they consider how much their product costs to create and how competitors are pricing their products. What are the fixed rates, what are the variable costs, and what is the total cost? What is the cost of any physical goods? What is the cost of labor?

Analyze the data. What volumes of goods or services do you have to sell to be profitable?  How can I reduce my overall fixed costs? How can I reduce the variable costs per unit? How can I improve sales? 

Make it legal — Go to legal zoom to find out what type of business you want or need. LLC, DBA, Inc. or sole proprietor. Register key documents like articles of incorporation or an operating agreement, a DBA, an EIN, income tax forms, and other applicable licenses and permits.

  1. LLC and a Corporation: Both protect owners so they’re not personally on the hook for business liabilities or debts. LLCs have one or more individual owners and corporations have shareholders. LLCs and corporations: You don’t get personal liability protection with sole proprietorships or DBAs.

  2. LLC and sole proprietorship: An LLC protects owners from being personally on the hook for business liabilities or debts. A sole proprietorship doesn’t.

  3. LLCs, S corporations, and sole proprietorships: are taxed once on profits received. C corporations are taxed twice; the business pays taxes at the corporate level, and shareholders pay taxes on income received.

  4. DBA: Most states require you to get a DBA if you’re using a business name that’s different from your LLC or corporation name. Entrepreneurs sometimes have more than one business going at the same time. It may make sense to give each business its own name, but setting up separate LLCs adds a layer of paperwork and complexity. A simpler approach is to give the LLC one name and set up DBAs for each of the business lines. For example, if you are a landscape designer who also mows grass in the summer and plows snow in the winter, you might call your business “Elegant Landscaping LLC” and have DBAs for “Perfect Lawn Care” and “Speedy Snow Plow Service.”

  5. Most small businesses are advised to purchase insurance or a business owner’s policy. General Liability Insurance covers property damage, bodily injury, and personal injury to yourself or a third party.

Unless you’re planning to be your only employee, you may need to hire employees.

A separate bank account just for your business helps keep your books straight and is easy to set up. A business credit card can keep your business and personal finances separate, and it can come in handy for purchasing supplies. If your business takes credit and debit cards, you’ll likely need a payment processor, a merchant account and card readers. Managing finances: Many business owners can manage their own accounting functions when starting their business, but as your business grows you can save time by hiring services like an accountant. Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and get a following of people ready to jump when you open your literal or figurative doors for business. Create a strategic marketing campaign that combines various marketing channels, like a company website, social media, email newsletters and opt-in forms.

Company website. Take your reputation online and create a website. I use WIX. Many customers turn to the internet to learn about a business, and a website is digital proof that your small business exists. It is also a great way to interact with current and potential customers.

Social media. Use social media to spread the word about your new business, perhaps as a promotional tool to offer coupons and discounts to followers once you launch. The best social media platforms to utilize will depend on your target audience.

CRM solutions allow you to store customer data to improve how you market to them. A good email marketing campaign can do wonders for reaching customers and communicating with your audience. To be successful, you will want to strategically build your email list

Logo. Create a logo that can help people easily identify your brand, and be consistent in using it across all of your platforms.

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