Once you have figured out you are going to start your own business, you have made a life altering decision. There are so many different things to think about, but opening a business is truly one of the most exciting ventures a person can undertake. There are endless possibilities if you have creativity and the capital to make it happen. Here are some helpful tips to get you started on the planning process for your small business.
- Plan – You can never be too prepared for something, and if you are applying for external funding sources such as grants or loans, they are going to require a pretty comprehensive business plan anyway. It is worth it to just spend some time writing, considering various options, and putting it all down on paper and into spreadsheets. This can help you figure out timing issues, potential supply problems, whether you need office space or an event booth at a trade fair, and what sort of web site and marketing strategies you might want to employ. All of these things cost money as well, so outlining a detailed budget can help your business start out on more solid ground.
- Execute – After applying for grants or loans and securing funding, it is time to start your business! Your plan probably outlines what you need to do first and in what order, so start thinking about the first steps. If you are planning on taking your show on the road with trade show exhibits until you have enough clientele to open a shop, then you will want to work on that angle first. This can mean hiring a professional to help design your exhibit display, and teach you how to take it apart and set it up at each stop. You will need to research the trade shows in advance and register early on to get a good exhibit booth space, as well as consider whether you need temporary staff to come with you. If you are choosing to open a store front, then it is time to start shopping for a lease on a retail location. This can vary significantly depending on your budget and the type of retail, and location matters much more so here than almost any other facet of business.
- Watch your business grow – If you are following the steps correctly and you worked out a good marketing plan, you should start to see your business grow and develop with increased demand for your services or products. A good web site, social media skills, and proper search engine optimization can work wonders for a start up business, especially if you are able and willing to sell things online. Otherwise, at least showing off your portfolio and giving people a way to get a hold of you is a good start. At a minimum, you will need a good web site with an attractive logo and an easy to navigate home page. If there are other fancy bells and whistles that can be added, that does not hurt either.