Starting a Business from Scratch

Starting a business from scratch can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you do your research, you may find that it’s much easier than you think to start your own business and work for yourself! There are many different types of business and small business ideas out there.

Follow this guide from the beginning to the end on how to start a business and you’ll be well on your way to making your dream of being a business owner come true!

Research Your Market

In the early stages of building a business, developing a strong marketing plan and doing the appropriate market research can mean all the difference between having a successful business and being another business statistic.

Look for companies like yours who are already selling in your market. That way, you can figure out what’s working for them and start adopting those strategies to help you become more successful. If there isn’t any competition, look into why not. Do you offer something better than competitors? Is there some element of customer service that customers aren’t getting at other places? Are you targeting a niche market where no one else is focusing? And if so, will they come to you with open arms? There may be another reason that no one else is doing what you’re doing – it just might not be enough of an opportunity for anyone to take advantage of it yet. Get out there and do some networking!

Create A Plan Of Action

Starting your own business is exciting, but it’s also daunting. Even if you have an idea, it can be tough to know where to begin. Some of your first steps will be learning about what’s required legally (are you going to need an LLC?), identifying customers, and setting some basic goals—for example, are you trying to support yourself while doing something you love? Or maybe you want to get rich quickly? There are a lot of considerations when starting your own business, so don’t rush into anything. Sit down and figure out what’s important to you—and build from there.

I would strongly advise that during this phase you don’t forget to write a business plan. You don’t need to have every detail, but even just getting the basics down and in front of you can provide incredible value. You can always continue adding to it and truly getting a full scope on your business. A good business doesn’t just happen.

Decide If You Need Help

If you don’t have any background or industry experience, hire a professional to help guide you through some of these details. A business lawyer can advise you on whether you need to register your business with your state government, how to incorporate and how that might affect tax liability. An accountant can often help determine when it makes sense for you to incorporate. (For example, he or she might encourage you not to become an LLC until your company has reached $50,000 in gross annual revenue.)

There are many professionals that can help from financial planning to business insurance. Networking groups such as your chamber of commerce can be a great way to meet some of these people and also start building your brand. There’s much you can learn just from your casual conversations with these experts in their industry.

Decide On A Legal Entity Type (LLC vs S Corp, etc.)

Choosing your business entity is one of those details that most people ignore—but it’s really important. Basically, you have to decide whether you want to operate as an individual or a corporation. While there are some pros and cons for both, most small businesses are structured as limited liability companies (LLCs). But before you go with an LLC, make sure you’re in compliance with state regulations. In California, for example, there are two options: general partnerships and limited liability partnerships (LLPs). In order to form an LLP in California, all of its members must be qualified foreign legal entities—otherwise known as corporations. If no member is a corporation, all members will be held personally liable for debts incurred by the LLP.

Even though incorporating may not be essential for your new business, it can wise not just for legal reasons but also for credibility: An incorporated business often looks more professional than one that’s operating as an LLC or sole proprietorship. It may also be necessary if you want to accept credit cards or open a bank account, as well as if you need to obtain any licenses or permits.

Starting a Business From Scratch!

Form An LLC or Sole Proprietorship

Once you’ve established your company, one of your next steps is to file either as an LLC or sole proprietorship. Which you choose will depend on a variety of factors. For example, if any of your business partners are using their own money to fund your startup, they’ll likely want some legal protections that an LLC affords them. On the other hand, if you plan on using only personal funds (or maybe an SBA loan), then forming as a sole proprietorship might make more sense.

Develop Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing can be intimidating for many entrepreneurs, but you don’t have to be an expert to market your business well. No matter what your product or service is, there are basic marketing concepts that apply. Take time to understand who your target customer is, what your niche is and how you’re going to reach them. Now that you know who your customers are, what do they care about? How will you position yourself and make sure you attract them? What makes you unique? Write down at least three answers for each of these questions and develop a strategy based on those answers.

Get Online

There are lots of ways to get online, but for most people, there’s one tried-and-true option: starting your own website. You can either pay for web hosting and build your own site using templates or code, or you can use an application like Squarespace (for simpler sites) or WordPress (for blogs) to make it happen. To help you decide what’s best for you, we created our own guide: How to Start a Website in 5 Steps.

You’ll also want to start claiming any relevant social media usernames and creating a facebook page. This can even be an effective way to build your name before you launch. Pinterest can be a fantastic way to get in front of people if you’re familiar with the platform, or maybe LinkedIn if you’re looking to reach professionals in a particular industry. Many people underestimate LinkedIn, but it can be an incredibly powerful tool. Instagram or Tiktok may even be right for you depending on the clientele you inend to market to.

I also like to keep my eye out for new social platforms as they’re a great way to “land grab” and grow your audience as the platform and user base take off.

Grow

No matter how good your idea is, you’ll need to spend time marketing and branding. Developing a website, online store or business plan can take time—and if you have no budget for these steps (or no interest in doing them yourself), you may want to hire someone to help or maybe even look for someone to partner with! Finding a good partner with complimentary skills can provide an invaluable asset. 

A strong mentor will give you honest feedback about where things are going right and wrong, save you time and offer other crucial advice on which issues to tackle first. They can often act as sounding boards during your toughest moments. So go ahead, ask around; a little networking can go a long way when starting out as an entrepreneur!

Alway keep an eye out for new opportunities to grow your business. The more you practice this skill, the more opportunities you will see all around you. Starting your business from scratch is certainly no easy ask, but once you get up and running, there’s no limit to what you can do.

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