Entrepreneur Guide: How To Start A New Business?

There are 582 million entrepreneurs in the world and this number increases every single day. No matter how massive this number appears, not all entrepreneurs become successful in their business ventures. As a matter of fact, 22.5% of the small businesses fail in the first year itself and 42% of the businesses fail because of no market requirements. This is the result of rushing in without any plan of action. 

This implies that the journey of entrepreneurship isn’t another walk in the park. Becoming an entrepreneur is an intriguing idea but without prior research and planning, it can turn into a bad life experience. Even though there are no eligibility criteria for becoming an entrepreneur, the aspiring entrepreneurs must at least have a well-defined plan of action. Setting the right foundation of an infallible business is important and it begins with research and the right attitude of the person behind it. 

When talking to aspiring entrepreneurs, we found out that most of them are aware of what they should do but are uncertain about the process and the right time to launch. Some even revealed that they were working day and night to gather the initial business investment cost. We also found out that a lot of the employees at different organizations had already tried launching their own business venture that failed miserably and now it is off-limits. 

If you have a business idea you should think of launching a business. If you have a well-researched business plan for it, JUST DO IT!

The minimum requirement to launch a new business is to have a unique business idea and a determination to transform the world with it. THAT’S IT! 

Okay, that’s not it. Having an innovative business idea does  not mean the business will establish and become successful on its own. There are several steps that come before launching the business such as brainstorming the business name, registering it to get the license, gathering capital from investors, designing the logo, hiring the team, building the development strategy, marketing it to the right audience, etc. It can become overwhelming too soon and if you do not have a vivid vision about how you should be executing your plan of action, chances are that everything will just flare up, leaving you and your potential idea in tatters. 

And we definitely do not want that. So, here is a detailed guide with all steps that thoroughly describe the process and clarify all your doubts about launching a new business in any industry. 

All About Idea Inception & Refinement

Of course, you have a business idea. That’s why you are here. But have you evaluated your business idea carefully? Are you certain that it WILL deliver desired results in the real world? 

I know you will not have a definite answer to these questions but the answers aren’t necessarily required. Although what you do need is to focus on refining your idea and creating a road map of how you are going to turn it into a reality. Most likely, people with business ideas, like you, might already know of the industry they wish to enter and take over. So, you must focus on researching the market of the chosen niche or industry. 

This includes several segments such as competitor analysis to understand what your business needs to do and what not. Understanding the market needs before launching the business is utterly important to save yourself from becoming just another fiasco that new businesses refer to learn from. When you look at all your potential competitors, you should be able to think of some competitive edge that you can offer to your customers. It can be a faster delivery system, better quality products or services, cost-effective goods, or something new that adds value to the customers’ lives. To put it succinctly, you, as a business must know as to WHY YOU ARE LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS? The answer can either be focused on personal grounds or business market grounds. The latter one, apparently, holds more scope and makes more sense. This phase involves a quick evaluation but well-detailed research is carried out in the next phase when you begin writing the business plan. 

Launching your business just because you think your idea is brilliant will get you nowhere until you have understood the needs and preferences of the market. Learning about the reasons for opening your new business are crucial for evaluating the business idea’s value. 

Opening A Franchise Is Also A Great Idea!

Not all people can get revolutionary business ideas but that does not mean they cannot become good entrepreneurs. Opening a franchise of an established business can help you skip the initial ideation steps and research steps. All you need is financial assets and maybe, a suitable business location. 

This phase is going to help you strike out all your assumptions and vague ideas. So, if you feel that the fizz of your idea is all gone now, then it is time to brainstorm other ideas that can benefit you as well as your customers while improving their lives. 

Let’s Create The Business Plan Now!

I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of this one but the chances of your business failing are the highest without a business plan. Here, I said it! 

So, we need to begin this one with some fundamental questions that are listed below: 

  • What is the purpose of launching your business? 
  • Who are your customers or the target audience? 
  • What are your business objectives and goals? 
  • How are you going to finance all the business costs? 

These questions are the basis of writing a well-structured business plan. If you are going to rush in without giving a thought about if your business is even required, you aren’t going anywhere. 

Market Research: Thinking With Everything In Front Of You!

Rather than relying on your assumptions and delusional plans, it is wiser to collect all the actual facts and figures and then create an intelligent business plan. It includes surveys, group discussions, competitor analysis, market analysis, public data research and analysis, etc. 

Besides analyzing the competitors, businesses must emphasize fathoming everything about their target audiences including their interests, preferences, needs, behavior, etc. It is crucial to get inside their brains to find out what they like and dislike to offer what they will choose over others. Demographic information helps in understanding such parameters of your business market in great detail.

For market research and surveys, you can either use tools such as Survey Monkey, CoolTool, Competitors App, etc. or you can hire market research analysts who can dig in all the information of your market to help you launch with a solid plan. Our marketing research experts can also guide you in conducting detailed and insightful market research. Get in touch with them to learn more. 

Having An Exit Strategy Is A Smart Strategy!

It is good to be optimistic but at the same time, it is safer to be realistic. When writing the business plan, you must have a holistic approach that enables you to foresee the future of your business and handle every situation accordingly. 

Quite a lot of relentless and fanatical entrepreneurs only focus on launching the business too soon without any preparation of an exit strategy if the business fails. We often neglect the importance of the exit doors in the airplanes, office buildings, shopping malls, schools, hospitals, etc. It is because we are never thinking about the worst situations all the time but we must be prepared for it when the time comes. This is the reason we have been participating in mock drills since kindergarten. So, it is important to think about the exit doors just when you are preparing the blueprint. Moreover, if you think of pitching your business idea to venture capitalists to receive fundings, you would be required to have a solid exit strategy in place. 

Business leaders who do not develop an exit strategy often face consequences like ruined company reputation, wrecked family relations, and an indelible scar on their mind. Therefore, you and your team should build at least 3 to 4 pre-determined exit routes that will help you handle the worst business scenarios and crises. 

Based on the type of your business, you can look for exit strategy templates online. These templates will help you outline the possible challenges and risks that you might confront so that you can list methods and ways to overcome them and become a sustainable business. 

How Much Money Is Enough Money? 

As you would expect, starting a new business involves financial investments. So, it is essential to determine if you have enough funds to launch and then keep your business running. It is even more important if you are planning to leave your job and you should be able to support yourself when focusing on building your own business. Therefore, assessment of your finances is a prerequisite step in launching your company to ensure that you do not deplete all your monetary resources just before you start making considerable profits. 

Overestimating the startup capital can help your business take enough time to start bringing in the revenue while maximizing the ROI. To help you estimate the capital investment accurately, you can conduct a break-even analysis that allows business owners to reckon when their business will become profitable. You just need to use this formula: 

Fixed Costs/(Average Price - Variable Costs) = Break-Even Point

 This formula can be used as a tool that helps entrepreneurs find out the minimum performance required for a business to accomplish to prevent losses. Moreover, this intelligent formula also helps in understanding the source of profits so that you can adjust your production goals respectively. Break-even analysis can further help you in many ways. 

  • Determining Profitability: Entrepreneurs can utilize this formula to find out how much revenue they can generate from their services and products in order to cover other business expenses. 
  • Pricing Products/Services: Learning about the fixed rates, variable costs, and the total cost plays a pivotal role while deciding the pricing of your products or services. After that, you can consider comparing the pricing with your competitors. 
  • Analyzing the Data: With break-even analysis, you can also analyze data to find out how much quantity you must be selling to be profitable. To optimize business costs, you will have to analyze data to find out ways of decreasing variable costs per unit while also improving the sales. 

Optimized Costs Are Profits Too!

It is easy to get carried away to overspend when setting up a new business. Initially, if you are spending on fancy furniture or workspace, you will get distracted from your business objectives. So rather than overspending on the stuff that you do not require to get your business going, let us create a plan that lists the essential business expenditure. 

Find Out If You Need Financial Assistance!

If you do not have enough funding to kick-start your business, you can always opt for financial assistance from banks or investors or take the help of crowd-funding platforms. Taking a bank loan can help you bear the setup costs but it can be a bit challenging sometimes. In case you fail to take out a bank loan, you can get help from organizations that help connect entrepreneurs with potential lenders such as Small Business Administration (SBA) that aids American entrepreneurs but you can look for the ones in your region or country. 

Startups that require considerable upfront investment can choose to bring investors on board. Venture capitalists are always looking for promising business ideas to invest in so that they can grow too. Another way to gather the funding can be through crowdfunding campaigns that allow entrepreneurs like you to raise small amounts of money from several small investors. Crowdfunding has been a successful source of raising capital for countless organizations across the world. You can choose a reliable crowdfunding platform as per your business domain. Here are a few examples that you can choose from Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, CircleUp, etc.

Choosing The Appropriate Business Bank!

The size of the bank matters when you want to choose it for your new startup. Smaller banks can cooperate better with local businesses that are just entering the market. Unlike big and international banks, small banks would not have rigid selection criteria for providing loans. You get to build a personal relationship with small banks that will help you go through tough financial situations in the business. They would not mind if you miss a payment once in a while because of a trustworthy relationship. Additionally, there will be quicker decisions at their end since not many branches will be involved in decision making. 

Smaller banks are good but how to choose the right one then. You need to contemplate a few aspects such as if the bank suits the banking needs of your business (which you should have written by now). Having discussions with every shortlisted bank will help you clarify your doubts and choose the most appropriate bank for your business. 

Determining Legal Business Structure 

When you register your business, you must know the nature of it beforehand. The type of your business will affect all your legal decisions such as filing taxes, managing policies, etc. If you are the single owner of the business and plan to manage all your debts and accounts single -handedly, then opt for sole proprietorship. However, you must be aware that it will directly impact your personal credits. 

There is another popular business type called the partnership business. As the name suggests, this type of business involves two or more business partners who run the business together. Entrepreneurs normally look for co-founders who can bring complementary skills on the table and help them establish a business with better vision and mission from the start. 

To make your business a separate entity and not a personal one, you should build one of various kinds of corporations. By creating such corporations, you can own property, pay taxes, sue, get sued, assume liability, enter contracts etc. in the name of that corporation and not your personal liability. 

Another business structure that is commonly implemented by business owners across the world is the limited liability corporation. This structure allows you to get legal protections of a corporation and tax advantages of a business partnership.

So, you must analyze your business requirements to decide the business structure that you should adopt. If you do not have much knowledge in this field, it is better to get in touch with a legal adviser who can show you the suitable steps in finalizing the business structure before registering it.

Registration With The Government 

It is time to make your business a recognized entity by registering it with the government. You must submit an articles of incorporation document to the government authorities. It is a legal document that includes details such as business name, address, company structure, stock details, etc. 

In case your business structure is of sole proprietorship or general, you would be required to get a DBA (doing business as) certificate which can be your company’s fictitious name. Your local state government will be able to help you better in this process. You might want to register for relevant patents and trademarks as well for legal protection. 

As per the regulations in your state or country, you might also require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Tax Identification Number (TIN). In case of sole proprietorship, you do not necessarily require this but it is advisable that you get one to segregate your company taxes from personal taxes. According to your business structure, you will be required to fill certain forms and submit a set of documents which can vary as per your state, country, and local tax obligations. 

The process of registering business can vary as per your country, state, and government authorities. So, you must find out what all legal formalities you need to complete and must proceed accordingly. 

Do you have all the required licenses and permits? 

Certain industries require businesses to have state or local licenses and permits to run. You can visit the local city hall to find out the licensing requirements of your business. After finding out what all licenses and permits you need, you can apply for them at the local licenses and inspection department of your city. 

A food delivery business needs a general business licensing but it will also need a food-vending license along with a food handling permit. Therefore, you must research about all the licenses and permits you need to launch your business without any legal complications. 

Certain trades require entrepreneurs and contractors to have professional licenses to offer their services. For instance, companies hire individuals with commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate their logistics transportation such as buses, trucks, etc. Similarly, if an individual wants to become an independent financial advisor, he/she should have series 6 license, series 7 license, series 63 license, and series 65 license to sell investment products.

Further, you must ensure if your business needs a seller’s permit that allows your business to collect sales taxes from your customers. Seller’s permit is also referred to as permit license, resale ID, reseller number, resale permit, reseller permit, state tax ID number, certificate of authority, or reseller license permit. 

Again, these requirements will vary as per your business type, state, and country. So you can go to your state government’s website to find out all the detailed information about it. Your business might just need a single license and you will be good to go. At the same time, it can also require tonnes of verification and licensing to begin with. So, do your research and get ready on that account. 

Is Insurance Policy Important? 

Certainly, it is one of the most important steps before launching your business officially. By now you have enough clarity on how much investment and risk you are going to put into your business. So, you need to make sure that you are legally protected with relevant insurance policies. 

If you are going to hire employees, you must, at least, buy unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. Additionally, you might need other kinds of coverage as per business location and industry. However, small businesses can buy the GL (general liability) insurance that covers damage caused to property, body injury, and injury to yourself or the third party. Businesses that offer services need to buy professional liability insurance policy. This insurance protects you if you do something that you weren't supposed to do while running the business or if you neglect something that you were supposed to do. Home based businesses will require to buy home business insurance. 

You can research all the insurance types and determine which ones do you need. You can take help from a blog where Forbes has listed 13 types of insurance that every small business owner should have.

Choosing The Appropriate Business Location

Business location matters a lot, especially if you plan to launch a brick and mortar business. Commercial business locations can be picked as per your target audience, market industry, and many other factors. Co-working spaces are also a smart choice for people who are just starting. 

So, you must need to figure out your business’s initial location because it will be used in your success stories. Whether you begin from your home, your college dorm, a garage, or a co-working space, it will all make sense once your business runs successfully. Having said that, measure all the options before making your final choice. 

Building A Team That Understands Your Business

If your business is going to be a solo ride, then you can skip this step. However, for great businesses and brands, great teams are required. Entrepreneurs should have an eye for good talent, skill, and attitude. When hiring people for your new business, you must not rely on another resource. Choose people who understand your vision and are as passionate as you are. Hiring will be an ongoing process but the initial one is the most critical as it will form the founding team or the core team of your business. The core team will affect the business growth, work culture,  and reputation of your company. 

To hire high-quality employees for your new business, you should research and prepare adequate documentation. Before deciding your salary budget, you must find out what are the standard rates for different positions in the industry market. This will also help you in determining the company investment. You should also consider putting up an employee benefit program, incentive program, and other important employee policies in place because while recruiting people, you will need to explain about your company policies to the candidates. 

As a new business, you will be required to put in extra efforts to build trust with the candidates. Having said that, you must choose trustworthy people, maybe people who know you personally and are interested in working with you. Investing in people with long-term plans will take you in the right direction, especially when you are establishing a new business. 

It is really crucial to understand that entrepreneurs are going to spend more time with their founding team than their family or friends. Therefore, they should put in more time and effort in finding the perfect fits rather than just selecting random candidates on the basis of competitive CVs. 

Software Systems For Efficient Business Management

Running a business means taking care of countless things simultaneously with complete efficiency. It is fortunate to be living in the technology era where we have software for everything. So, you need to consider having a few software solutions accessible for seamless execution of business processes and activities. 

When starting as a new business, the most important system that you need is the accounting system. You would require it on a regular basis for budget creation and management, price management, taxation, invoices, etc. There are various accounting solutions that you can choose as per your budget. To begin with you can opt for any free accounting system such as Wave. As your business grows, you can switch to more efficient and premium accounting systems like Xero (Mac users), Zoho Books, QuickBooks, FreshBooks, etc. 

If you are launching a restaurant or a retail shop, then you will need to set up a point-of-sale system for smooth customer checkouts. Other than collecting payments, POS systems can help business owners analyze sales, stocks, and other accounting parameters. Based upon your needs, you can choose from the best POS systems such as Square, Shopify, ShopKeep, etc.   

If your business requires project management, then you might as well consider looking at some basic project management software to begin with. Trello, Basecamp, JIRA, and other similar project management tools can help you and your team to manage their day-to-day tasks efficiently. 

Some companies also offer complete office suite software that helps you manage sales, accounts, databases, customer relationships, documents, projects, etc. using a single interface. To find out if you must invest in such software, you should again pay attention to the most fundamental business requirements that must be fulfilled for kick-starting. 

Does your business need vendors? Do you know how to choose them? 

Even when you have your own team, there will be some needs that will be fulfilled by third party suppliers or vendors. There are third party vendors in every industry who are willing to partner with entrepreneurs like you to help you grow your business. That said, you must be very careful while choosing your vendors as you might need to share sensitive and confidential information with them. 

To choose reliable business vendors, you should ask them for existing client references that will help you understand how they have been performing in the industry.  You must ensure to verify their backgrounds and history so that you are not risking your or your client’s information to some fraud agent or agency. 

Time To Brand Your Business & Advertise

Every business needs to reach out to its target audience to get noticed and then sell its products or services. For that you need to build your brand identity through which you can interact with your customers on several distinct platforms online and offline. 

Branding begins with choosing the appropriate colors, fonts, symbols, images, etc. that resonate with your brand’s vision and mission. You have to keep this in mind that people are not going to see you but your brand whenever they are searching for services or products. Therefore, an impressive and consistent branding across different social media platforms, websites, white papers, flyers, brochures, advertisements, and other marketing material is crucial in making the right impression.  

Grabbing attention in the ultra-competitive world has become rocket science. Having said that, you need to have an experienced marketing ninja beside you to create a solid advertising and branding strategy. Creating an efficient sales funnel, customer journey, and content strategy will help you create awareness about your brand to eventually bring in consistent business. Most of the entrepreneurs assume that marketing comes after launching their product or service offering. They neglect the need of laying out the groundwork even before the business starts operating. So, the process needs to begin just when you are working on development of your product. 

Invest In Marketing Parallely!

Learn about your competitors’ marketing strategies to get an idea of how the people in your market are reaching out to the potential customers. You should try to innovate with latest marketing trends while keeping the interests and preferences of your target audience in mind. With people becoming more aware about the concepts of consumerism, they do not fall for clickbaits or other tempting marketing campaigns. The consumers have started opting for businesses that value them and not see them as mere sales targets. 

Modern customers wish to have control on what kind of content they should receive, so you should implement opt-in marketing communications called opt-in forms for building better customer relationships. When you contact individuals with their consent, they perceive your brand as more professional and empathetic. To implement such opt-in forms, you might need to refer to the guidelines given by the Federal Trade Commission in the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The violations to this law can cost you a hefty amount of money. 

Email marketing and newsletters can be one way of reaching out to your customers. You should also have your brand presence on social channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. Every platform works differently and as per your business requirements you can choose your social marketing platforms. 

Paid advertisements can help you reach out to more customers in a short period of time by spending your marketing budget on regions where you think your target audience is. This is not advisable for businesses that are just starting because it can eat up a lot of your initial business expense.However, if you plan on getting quick results then you can begin with paid advertisement but you should be able to maximize the advertising ROI for your business to be profitable. 

Nurturing Your Business Like 

Your launch and first sales are only the beginning of your task as an entrepreneur. To make a profit and stay afloat, you always need to be growing your business. It's going to take time and effort, but you'll get out of your business what you put into it. 

Collaborating with more established brands in your industry is a great way to achieve growth. Reach out to other companies or even influential bloggers and ask for some promotion in exchange for a free product sample or service. Partner with a charity organization, and volunteer some of your time or products to get your name out there. To grow your business quickly, check out our business growth tips. 

While these tips will help launch your business and get you set to grow, there's never a perfect plan. You want to make sure you prepare thoroughly for starting a business, but things will almost certainly go awry. To run a successful business, you must adapt to changing situations. 

"Be prepared to adjust," said Stephanie Murray, CEO and founder of Fiddlestix Candy Co. "There's a saying in the military that 'no plan survives the first contact,' meaning that you can have the best plan in the world, but as soon as it's in action, things change, and you have to be ready and willing to adapt and problem-solve quickly. As an entrepreneur, your value lies in solving problems whether that is your product or service solving problems for other people or you solving problems within your organization."