How To Start A Small Business

How To Start A Small Business?

6 Critical steps to starting up a small business.

silhouette on orange backgroundI.    Create Business Plan
II.  Choose Your Business Structure
III. Register Your Business Name
IV. Obtain Business License and Permits
V.   Filing and Paying Taxes
VI. Employee Relations

 

Start a small business is not something we do on a day to day basis.  Today we live in an electronically friendly environment, and starting a small business is at our fingertips. The only restriction is knowing the steps in an order to start a small businessGreen lightbulb with start up business.

In my experience of helping small businesses get started, the first few months are the critical months. During these months, without question, is when an anomaly will be injected into the core process of the business. However small, the impact of this injection will be immediate, and while being most likely unexpected, it will remain undetected. Unfortunately, overtime, this is what destroys the large percentages of start up efforts. Knowing what this injection looks like, or how to mitigate against it is next to impossible. It will be as different as there are management styles, and business niches. The best way to keep the impact of any anomaly to a minimum is to take the time in the beginning to prepare a strong and deep business foundation.

Over the years of my involvement in start-up businesses, I have put together critical steps that, if done thoroughly, will fortify any start-up business, and give the founder(s) the confidence that they are indeed ready to open the doors.

These are the critical steps that will cover most of the start-up requirements of the state and federal governments, prepare your financial foundation, protect your intellectual property, while also assisting in staffing support.

 I.  Create Your Business Planchildren talking in a meeting

A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success.  This is a living document that generally projects about three to five years ahead, and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.

Your Business Plan should include:

1.  Cover Page: Include a short identification and a description of your business   activities.

2.  Table of Contents: This allows lenders, investors, or partners to reference a specific section of your plan.

3.  Executive Summary: Provide a total overview of your plan and outline the steps you will take to start and grow your business.

4.  Mission Statement: A mission statement answers the question “What is our current business?”. It identifies the purpose, market, and customers for the business. It provides a unity of purpose around which employees may focus.

5.  Business Background: Don’t forget to highlight your skills and experience in your industry.

6. Product Description: Briefly describe the main products of your Company: What is your product? What does your product do?

7.  Marketing Plan: Describe the products and services you offer, your market and pricing strategy, and plans to advertise your business.

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Apply for a Commercial Loan

Finding Start-Up Investors – Third Installment

How to apply for a commercial loan. This is my third and final installment on the subject of ‘Finding Start-Up Investors‘.  I wanted to cover the process of going through at least once, for obtaining a loan.  This is not the only method, but just one example.  One thing I have discovered in my own interviews with financial lenders during these past few weeks is the importance of a professional, thorough, and clear Business Plan. If this is something you need to do, and would like assistance, contact me and I will get you started.

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How to Apply for a Commercial Loan

Small business owners often need commercial loans to start up a business or to expand an existing business and make it more lucrative. Commercial lenders will evaluate your reasons for borrowing, your business plan and your personal credit score when reviewing your loan application. It’s important to choose the best lender for your borrowing needs and to ensure that your application represents your business well. Here are eight steps to help you apply for a commercial loan. (more…)

What Small Business Investors Are Looking For

Finding Start-up Investors – Three Part Series

Part 1: Finding Start-up Investors   – Where to Start

I have a client tackling the decision of if they should acquire outside start-up investors.  The client is in the beginning stages of developing a new division of their company. I have been brought aboard to find out as much as I can about outside investors. Already with the clients approval, I am running a three part series sharing with you my high level findings on outside investors, while maintaining the identity of my client.

At this time, my client has not decided to use or not use investors. Therefore, I am charged with the following:

  • Pro’s and con’s of obtaining investors.
  • How much of the capital outlay should be represented by investors.
  • How investors fit into the overall “team”.
  • How Investor’s effect the relationship with external entities: banks, clients, recurring bill collectors, etc.
  • Then, if investors are not to be utilized, what is the impact.

This will be a three part series, starting today. As always, I invite input from those of you who have experience in finding start-up investors, and those of you who may be investors for start up companies.

As I began my research I found myself with more answers than questions.  I found it relatively easy to find information to help a small business locate several options for investment avenues, investment types, and how to prepare the business for a potential investor. I also found several articles on the pro’s and con’s of some of the offered investment options: Angel, local/private investors, venture capital groups, and offering stock options.

However, after assimilating all the information I stood back and looked at my collection of information. I knew I was missing something, I just couldn’t figure out what it was.  So, I went to my financial institution and met with the investment manager. This is whengold investment angel hold a dollar symbol I had my flash of white light in my brain. The investment manager asked me, “How can I help you, Mr. Hall?” And my answer to him, was the missing piece that alluded me earlier. So, after a short meeting, and his offerings of luck, we shook hands, and I left.

Part 2: What Investors Are Looking For

The missing piece is this weeks subject. Last week as I reviewed my information there was that nagging feeling I was forgetting something. I was looking at my answers from my point of view, collected under the guide of what I thought I needed. When I sat with the investment manager and he inquired how he could assist me my answer was simply, ,what forms, information, data, account numbers, etc… will I need to represent our business?

This is the exact moment it white light hit me. In answering my own question, I realized I had put together my information based on what I thought I needed.  I need to look at the company as if I was entertaining the idea of investing in it. This changed everything.

What I am presenting today is an article I found to start you to thinking like an investor. Now, if like me, you have gathered a lot of information from your point of view, don’t fret, it is still needed. You will probably find you can toss some of it, enhance some of it, and gather additional information as well.  I hope you find this article helpful.

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Ryan Caldbeck – Author

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Entrepreneurs

 

5 Essentials of Small Business Investing

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The most important question for a small business investor is where to focus attention. What makes one company more interesting than another?  There are 28 million small businesses in the U.S., but few research services.  This provides great opportunities for above-market returns but also means investors must have an approach for determining which companies are worth focusing on.   After many years of investing in private companies, I have developed an initial framework–the first five things I look at when I see a new company.

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive; it’s intended only to serve as a starting point.  Valuation and deal structure, for example, are critical (likely an entirely separate post).  The principles behind this list could apply to many industries, but they are especially relevant to consumer and retail businesses, the industries in which I have the most experience. (more…)

Finding Start-up Investors – Three Part Series

I have a client tackling the decision of if they should acquire outside start-up investors.  The client is in the beginning stages of developing a new division of their company. I have been brought aboard to find out as much as I can about outside investors. Already with the clients approval, I am running a three part series sharing with you my high level findings on outside investors, while maintaining the identity of my client.

At this time, my client has not decided to use or not use investors. Therefore, I am charged with the following:

  • Pro’s and con’s of obtaining investors.
  • How much of the capital outlay should be represented by investors.
  • How investors fit into the overall “team”.
  • How Investor’s effect the relationship with external entities: banks, clients, recurring bill collectors, etc.
  • Then, if investors are not to be utilized, what is the impact.

This will be a three part series, starting today. As always, I invite input from those of you who have experience in finding start-up investors, and those of you who may be investors for start up companies.

Part I: Finding Start-up Investors   – Where to Start

We will start at what I consider the most obvious: The Money.

How Much Money Do You Need?

You need money to start a new business–but how much exactly? Here are eight easy ways to do the math.

April 1, 2000

From the April 2000 issue of Start-ups

Think you’re ready to start your new business? Not so fast. Before you take off, you need to know how much money it will cost to get started.

You may have a ballpark estimate, but that’s not detailed enough to create a viable business plan and actually get your business off the ground. Accurately gauging how much capital you need is crucial to success. Underestimate your needs, and you’ll run out of money before the business becomes profitable. Overestimate your costs, and you’ll never raise enough money to get your business off the ground.

Whether your start-up costs total $5,000 or $500,000, you’ll need solid numbers. The challenge is finding deduct startup business costsinformation that’s credible and reliable. The good news: You can get hard data, plus valuable insight, from a variety of sources. Here are eight places to explore:

1. People in the business. Entrepreneurs who own a business similar to the one you intend to start are a superb resource for start-up cost information, says Stephen Bates, owner of Management Analysis Group, a small-business consulting firm in Seattle. Your future competitors probably won’t want to assist you, of course, but entrepreneurs outside your geographic area are often more than willing to help.
(more…)

Delusional Optimism

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‘Delusional Optimism’

Key Trait of Entrepreneurs Is ‘Delusional Optimism’

A must have trait of entrepreneurs is ‘Delusional Optimism’. Every person who has the entrepreneur personality has heard someone ask them, usually a family member, “Are you delusional?” According to Daniel Kahneman, the answer is “yes”, but that is only half of the answer.  Daniel Kahneman, psychologist, Nobel laureate and author of the bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, says the answer to this question is ‘yes’.  Then adding the notion we, entrepreneurs, hopefully, also suffer ‘Delusional Optimism’. Have a nice day! (more…)

Entrepreneurship – Are You Ready

5 Questions to Determine If You’re Ready For Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurship

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Matthew Toren Contributor

June 19, 2014

The only difference between people who want to be entrepreneurs and the ones who actually are is the work and the risk of getting started. If you feel like you want to be an entrepreneur but aren’t certain if you’re ready yet, here are five questions to help you determine your capabilities.

1. How comfortable are you with being uncomfortable? Entrepreneurship will mean a lot of uncertainty.If you’re the kind of person who needs a lot of control and a strictly scheduled life, you may not be able to handle the ambiguity that surrounds entrepreneurism.

That being said, don’t think just because uncertainty makes you nervous you can’t be an entrepreneur. If you find you have a need for a controlled schedule, that trait could actually work in your favor.

Entrepreneurship requires long hours, hard work and dedication when you start out. Being able to manage your schedule and control your environment could help you with the organization of your business. However, you might want to plan before you leap in. A few great ways to do this are to stockpile savings, already have a business plan you’re prepared to work and seek out a community of support to talk you through the tough times.

2. Are you disciplined? (more…)

How To Avoid Copyright Trouble

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Avoiding Copyright Trouble When Using Online Images

BY Kristin Piombino   Visual content is all the rage these days.

But finding a photo that fits your article or an infographic about your industry can be difficult, especially when FBI Warningyou consider pesky things like copyrights.

An infographic from WhoIsHostingThis.com will hopefully make your visual content hunt go a little more smoothly. It explains what copyrights cover, the types of licenses images can have, and how to select a photo that’s safe to use. It also offers some basic photography tips.

Here are the types of photo licenses you should be aware of: (more…)

6 Productivity Apps

 6 Productivity Apps for the Entrepreneur On The Go

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Clément Delangue

BY April 24, 2014

 

To increase productivity, you probably spend most of your days jumping from a team meeting to an investor pitch and swinging by a startup conference to give a talk in the middle. This means that a lot of your time is spent on the go without the ability to open your oh-so-precious laptop and get work done.

Have no fear. There has been an emergence of mobile apps enabling you to be productive, no matter where you are. (more…)

Too Old to Be An Entrepreneur?

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Think You’re Too Old to Be An Entrepreneur? Think Again.
Photo of Cathrine Clifford  BY Catherine Clifford | April 1, 2014Think You're Too Old to Be An Entrepreneur? Think Again. (Infographic)

If Hollywood wants to portray an entrepreneur in a movie, then he — and it’s usually a he – is in his early 20s, may or may not have a college degree, is probably wearing blue jeans and a hoodie, and is a bit unkempt, with messy hair and facial hair.

That stereotype may appeal to our interest in a narrative where geeks take over the world, but the Mark Zuckerberg-inspired vision is absolutely only a part of the entrepreneurship story. Many entrepreneurs don’t even think about launching their own business until they are in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s, after years of work experience. (more…)

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