Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thinking of starting a business?

Do you have a great idea for a business, but not sure how to turn that dream into a profitable business?  The first step to all things great, is certainly a dream however, starting a business takes more than that.  You need to have some money to get started, a creative and comprehensive business plan, perhaps employees and it might be necessary to contact an attorney and/or accountant.
Sounds scary?  It doesn't have to be, as long as you plan well.  Here are a few things to consider:
1.  Are you "in it to win it".  Starting your own business requires deep commitment, dedication and a lot of patience!  Make sure you have really thought this through.  Are you ready to get to work and perhaps make some sacrifices?  Do you realize the amount of time it will take to establish the business and really get it to a profitable state?  Do you have another source of income in the meantime?  These are some of the most important questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge.
2. What is your plan? A good business plan will detail the current structure of your business, the plan for its growth and a way to develop further opportunities.   While business plans will vary from business to business, a well-formed business plan will serve as a guide to help get your business up and running.   Your plan should continually evolve and be influenced by factors such as the economy and sales growth.  Most business plans consist of an executive summary, a description of the business, a marketing and distribution plan and financial and sales projections.
3.  Don't go it alone.  Don't start your business without the proper help.  Seek the advice of qualified professionals like successful entrepreneurs, coaches and mentors.  These people can give you insight and important information that can save you a lot of time, money and even heartache down the road.

4.  Location!  Location!  Location!Where do you want to establish your business?  If you service walk in customers, what kind of building is suitable?  What town or county do you want to be in?  What kind of money do you need for rent, expenses, etc?   What is most convenient for your clients?  Where will your office be?  How will it be set up?

5.  Finances What are your start up costs?  Many new business owners underestimate the amount of money needed to get their business off the ground.  It is really impossible to start a business with no cash investment.  There will always be things you need and you will always need a way to fund them.  First step is to make a list of all projected expenses from business cards to computer systems.  Once you have an idea of what you need and how much it will cost, the next step is to figure out a way to fund it.  Some ideas for funding include your own personal money, investors, a loan from the bank or perhaps a grant.  There are a lot of grant opportunities available from the state as well as private sources.
6.  Legal Matters What is the legal structure of your business?   Will you operate as a sole proprietor or will you be forming a corporation?   Should you be a LLC or an S corp?  An attorney can help you sort out the details in order to make the right decision.
7.  Pick a Name Unless you plan to operate as an independent contractor the name of your business is extremely important.  It is the first step in establishing your brand, so pick a name that suits you and your product or service well.  Once you have a name, protect it; so the next step is to legally register it.  Your registered name must appear on all government forms and applications, including licenses and permits.
8.  Get a tax ID number All businesses must pay federal, state, and sometimes local taxes. Most businesses will need to register with the IRS as well as state and local revenue agencies to request a tax ID number or permit to determine what taxes you owe.  Consult with an CPA if you have any questions regarding your taxes.
9.  Licenses and Permits Depending on the type of business you plan to operate, you might need a license or permit on a federal, state or local level.
10.  Know your BIG Why Operate your business with passion, clear intention and a deep understanding of your BIG why or purpose.  Your purpose is what will keep you going everyday.  Your passion for what you do will help you leap out of bed every morning to embrace what comes.  It will give you the fuel you need so that you are not living to work but rather working to live.

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