Do you have a great business idea but are not sure where to start? Although starting a business may seem intimidating, getting started is often the hardest part, which often keeps people from trying. While there’s a lot that you’ll need to know, much of it you may have to just learn as you go. If you think you are brave enough to turn your big idea into a real-life business, here are five things that will help you get the ball rolling.
Finding investors can be one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business. With many start-ups seeking attention from the same capitalists and angel investors as you are, you will need a plan to help yourself stand out. Here are some ideas on how to do this:
– Use technology. Technology has forever changed the business world. Now, you can use sites like Facebook or Angie’s list to create a free profile for your business. Not only can this get the word out about your business, but it can also help you find potential investors. If your big business idea involves producing a product, consider using websites like Kickstarter to find people to fund your production. Additionally, high-tech devices like electronic billboards may also help you gain the attention of investors.
– Make a list. Instead of casting your net wide and going after any investor, take some time to create a targeted list. This can save you time and energy by whittling your ambitious list of several hundred wildcard investors to a few good ones. It may take some research to find investors that fit your company, but it will be time well spent.
– Tap into your network. Your professional and social media networks are another great place to look for investors. For all you know, you may find that someone you are connected to can introduce you to an interested investor. Think about people you know from anywhere—church, high school, the neighborhood. You could have connections just waiting to be made.
In order to operate any business, there are federal, state and local laws that you need to be aware of. Many states will require you to get a business license. Although the requirements for the license may vary by state, the U.S. Small Business Administration website can help point you in the right direction. Also consider any patents or trademarks you need for your products. The last thing you want is someone copying your idea and getting a patent on it, rendering you unable to sell it as your own.
Even if you already have some investors lined up, raising funds is a critical part of starting a business. First, investors and lending institutions will want to see that you are investing in your own idea. This lets them know that you are serious about your business and that you genuinely believe you have a worthy idea. Secondly, the more money you have, the more resources you can pour into your marketing campaign.
Find a Building and Equipment
If you are starting a retail establishment or a business that deals directly with customers, your building will play an important role in the success of your business. Location, rent and lease flexibility are important factors to consider as you are looking for a building. If your business is more behind the scenes and doesn’t necessarily require a physical building, you still need a place to work. And as your business grows (which is the goal), there will come a time when you don’t want to be huddling in your basement or garage with all your employees. Also take into consideration the kind of equipment you will need. Depending on what your big idea is, you may need large equipment like screen printing equipment for a t-shirt business, or tubs and shower handles for a dog-washing business. For most businesses today you will need laptops or computers, and the professionals of Merchant Credit Card Processing suggest all start-ups invest in card-processing machines so that you have the ability to charge clients right on the spot. This will allow you to make sure you get paid, and on time.
Finding and hiring the right people is an essential part of the start-up process. Start by creating detailed job descriptions. Then use free classifieds like Craigslist or Twitter to help you find good candidates. This is another instance where you can network and look for candidates in those you know. Be aware, that hiring friends or family can often get messy. However, if you know someone looking for a job that possesses skills that will help your company it can be great to hire people you know. Make sure you properly interview and screen potential employees so that you are sure you have people working for you that you can trust and will work hard to build the business from the ground up.
If you have dreams of owning your own business, what are you waiting for? It will take time and perseverance, but if you are in it for the long haul, you can see your dream become a reality and reap the benefits of starting and owning your own business. If you are unfamiliar with what it takes to run a business, having a good idea is a start, but it won’t carry you through. You need to do research and consult with professionals so that you can make the right financial, legal, and business-related decisions. It will take more than just yourself to get your business off the ground, but if you are willing to work for it, you will see a great idea come to life before your eyes.