How to Start a Business FAQ
As with any start-up business, you first need to develop a business plan that covers the basics for getting the business off the ground - in writing. This includes a budget of not only financial matters, but time and resources as well. Planning is the key to success for any start-up. You also need to check with your local, county and state regulatory offices to file any appropriate paperwork to legally register your business.
Here are the basics for planning your start-up:
1) Different Goals Lead to Different Expectations. To get started, write down every realistic goal that occurs to you. Note the word "realistic".
2) Determine the Expenses/Products/Services Needed. What will you need to service your clients? What products can you offer to enhance your company's service package? What equipment, software, tools will you need to start the business? Phone, electric, rent, ISP connections?
3) Your Income Projection. Determining what realistic income you will have will determine your profitability level as well as the amount needed to get you through the start up phase that lasts from 6 to 18 months. Again, note the word "realistic".
4) Allocating Resources. How will you service all your clients? Who will be responsible for each and every activity required to run your business efficiently.
5) Time. Budget how much time you expect to spend on sales calls, client meetings, graphic design, coding, scripting and don't forget accounts receivable, accounts payable, marketing, etc..
6) Legalities. Speak with an attorney and an accountant to insure your enterprise is legally structured to your benefit. This is not information you rely on from online sources or mailing lists. You need specific information tailored to your unique business and locaiton. You will also need a solid contract for clients to clearly describe each party's responsibilities and liabilities. Here again, online templates may put you in legal jeopardy; have your attorney at the very least review these documents before you put them to formal use.
7) Research. Determine your target market and become an expert on who they are. Determine who your competition is and become an expert on who they are as well.
8) Niche? Find your niche and target it. You cannot be everything to everyone; especially during the inception of your business. Better yet, find a niche within a niche and make it yours!
9) Pricing. Determine your pricing structure based on your quality of work, experience and skill level. You also must consider what your target market will bear. You only have a limited number of hours in a day, week, month, year to become profitable. Time IS money.
10) Service, Service, Service. Without high service levels, you will not succeed. Determine in advance your customer service policies and priorities. Make sure your email gives a positive impression of your use of technology: OnlineNetiquette.com
Here are some resources to help you create your business plan:
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