Starting Your Own Business: A Checklist

We are living in an age where people want to be their own bosses and don’t want to have to climb up the professional hierarchy in order to make something of themselves. Being part of the digital age, we as a generation are a lot more resourceful and ambitious and as a result we teach ourselves many things in terms of starting and running a business. However, with the willingness to learn and the drive to succeed, you may find yourself wondering where to begin with your start up. We have put together a rough checklist on your own business startup below.

Develop a Good Business Idea

Before you get cracking on your startup, it’s best you start with a business idea that is good enough to turn into profit. Something that is a good fit for you specifically, with a specific target market in mind, and a location that is ideal for this business. If you’re in this for the long haul, you need to pick something that you will live and breathe day in and day out. Ways you can determine this:

  • identify your own strengths and weaknesses (SWOT analysis)
  • jot down different business ideas that compliment your strengths
  • define what success is for you as an individual
  • do extensive research on the market and business category

Do Market Research and Test Your Idea

What defines a ‘good idea’? How do you really know if something is profitable? You can implement the learn planning methodology to help you figure this out. It also helps to go out and talk to real people that are considered your target market and ask them questions pertaining to your idea.

  • define the ‘obstacle’ your business will solve
  • Summarizes the ‘solution’ that your business is able to offer your target
  • establish if your business will withstand the test of time
    define your ideal target market, your market size, customer acquisition process, cost per acquisition, and the best place to locate your business
  • what advantages will your business have over competitors?
  • Establish the kind of team you’ll need to execute your business
  • validate your business idea with interview of potential customers
  • determine your initial price points
  • define your goals and milestone and how long you think it will take to achieve them

If You Need Funding, You’ll Need Formal Business Plan to Present

You will definitely need a business pitch and outline in order to receive funding for your business. If you don’t have concrete numbers on paper you will likely be ineligible for funding from any banks or financial institutions as a result. It’s important to be professional and have a detailed financial outline for your lenders so they can have a better idea of how they will be assisting you on this venture.

Brand Your Business

What really seals the deal for customers and financial providers alike is a well branded business and product. If you think that branding is just for the larger businesses you are mistaken. Branding is what helps make small businesses larger than life. It is critical for businesses of all kinds as it not only helps your target audience associate with you and recognize your product but rather it gives you an added opportunity to grab the attention of potential customers too.

  • choose the name of your business
  • choose a tagline
  • identify your ‘voice’
  • Create a logo
  • select a color scheme
  • decide your brand messaging
  • choose a typeface (font) and keep it consistent

Make Your Business Legal

You can’t comfortably open up shop without registering your business legally. This includes registering your name, applying for a local and state license, obtaining an employer identification number and other measures that are necessary in order to go ‘by the book’ and wil undoubtedly help you avoid any issues in the future when your business does take off.

  • decide your legal or business structure
  • register your business name
  • register for the domain that matches your business
  • file for trademark protection
  • register for federal and state licenses or any permits necessary
  • obtain your federal business tax ID number
  • find a reputable attorney to help you fine tune the process