These tasks do not necessarily need to be done in any particular order, however it helps to print out the list, stick it up in your work space, and tick off each task as it is completed, to motivate you towards your final goal. A successful business you can be proud to call your own!
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1. Decide what kind of business you want to build: Will you sell products, if so what? Will you manufacture, buy from elsewhere to sell or will you simply provide a service? What kind of service?
2. Research the industry. Look at similar businesses to the one you want to start.
3. Research if there is a market for your business.
4. Define the market or markets you will target.
6. Ensure no one else has the rights to the name you have chosen, or has a similar name that may confuse your clients, or cause you to lose customers to other similar business.
7. Find a domain/web host and register your website domain name: Be sure to follow the same procedure you did for choosing your business name. A good domain name is often the key to getting customers. For a good, reliable web hosting service I recommend a company like GoDaddy. There you can buy your domain name, and host your website.
8. Design a website: These days website designers charge a lot to build websites, and for a new business owner, this isn’t always an option. However, a good website gives visitors a good image of your company. If you have the money, money spent on a good website is never money wasted. However, if you don’t have the money, there are free website building sites that guide you through building a website and make it very easy for you to do so.
9. Choose an eye-catching logo. - Remember OSTA also provides Logo and Graphic design for prices you wont find anywhere else.
10. Decide on the kind of business you will set up (Sole proprietor, corporation or partnership) There are various benefits and disadvantages to both so again do your research!
11. Decide how much money you have and are able to invest in your business. If you can avoid taking out a business loan, then do so, as a new business can take time to start earning a profit, and you want to avoid accumulating too much debt. Of course there will be expenses, but try to limit it to the essentials, and speak to your bank, a mentor, or financial advisor to assist you. You can also reduce the money you need to borrow by planning in advance. That way before you start your business, you can begin putting away money for that time slowly, so that you are prepared when the time comes. Remember, there is no hurry, no one knows you are planning a business, and the more time you take and planning you do, the better your business will do.
13. Develop a business plan. This is essential as it forces to put everything in writing, and in doing so, it helps you too visualize your goals and objectives a lot clearer. It also helps you to think carefully through the whole process of starting your business, and can thus reveal any potentials or challenges you may encounter.
14. Develop a marketing plan: How are you going to market your business, and to who? Think of all the possible marketing and advertising avenues, and calculate the best techniques for reaching them.
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15. Prepare a method for monitoring income and expenses: It is important you have an efficient money monitoring system from the beginning, to ensure all is in line for the tax man. Keep business related receipts, with details about each if possible. Research in advance the specific expenses you can claim from the tax man, and organise your business in such a way that you can benefit from such claims.
16. Register your business and your business name, obtain a tax number, and any other documents your business will need to operate.
18. Design your businesses face to the public: As previously mentioned, a website is very important as it is often the first point of access to your business. So too is your office, business cards, letterheads, brochures and quite obviously yourself.
19. Decide if you need employees, full or part-time. Also be sure to check on the different tax requirements for hiring employees. If you need employees, be sure to clearly define their work responsibilities, payment, operating procedures, dress code etc. Make sure your employees represent the image of your company, and make sure they are well trained, prepared and are comfortable in their duties.
20. Set a date for the official opening of your business, and if possible plan an event with sales, and special offers to introduce your products or services to your customers.
21. Once you are open for business, go back to your checklist, marketing and business plans, and see if you missed anything. Remember a business is also not a static entity, and constantly needs to evolve to stay alive. As such, your business and marketing plans will also need to be updated and changed, because all the planning and research in the world cannot account for real world experience.
There are many things to consider when starting a business. This list is merely a guideline to give you a starting point. Add your own points to the list, modify existing ones to suit your needs, or develop a list of your own. The main point is to ensure that you’re organized, prepared and that you do all your research, before announcing your new baby to the world.
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By: Jayson McDiarmid