How to start a small business | personal financing

Starting a business can be an exciting time for entrepreneurs – a time full of big dreams for the future. But starting a business also bears big danger It requires a significant commitment (money and time) to achieve success.

While starting a business can feel overwhelming, following these steps can put you on the path to success.

1. Refine your idea

Even if you think you’ve got the next billion dollar idea, it’s important to think carefully about whether the concept is really a viable business.

“To really understand the market and the needs of the market, you have to ask yourself a set of ‘why’ and ‘what’ questions,” says Karen Kerrigan, CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. What problem will you serve in the market? “

Run your idea after trusted people in your network and ask for honest feedback. Think carefully about the criticism you receive and see if it helps you refine your idea. If possible, find a way to test your idea, whether that’s running a pop-up store or offering a free service to a few potential customers to see if the order meets your expectations.

2. Create a budget (for yourself and your business)

Although you may not need a formal business plan, you should have an idea of ​​how much money you will need to run the business and how your business will generate profits.

“Determining input costs, selling price, and all the components that make an economy work is critical,” says Tammy Halevi, CEO of Reimagine Main Street.

If you do not plan to withdraw a salary during the first years of employment, you will need personal savings Or other money set aside to pay for your living expenses until work begins.

3. Find out how to finance your business

While there is no one “correct” way to do this Business FinanceThis decision will subsequently have repercussions on the value and financial resilience of your business. The best source of capital for your company will depend on several factors, including your industry, your access to investors and Feelings about debt.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of businesses are self-financed by the founder or with money from family and friends, since more investors or professional lenders usually want to see a track record before parting with their capital.

4. Build your own team of advisors

At a minimum, you will need a small business attorney and accountant. They can help you figure out the best structure for your business (whether it’s a sole proprietor, LLC, or any other structure), and ensure that you set aside an appropriate amount of cash for taxes.

Hiring a great accountant can be the best use of Coin if you’re not a sole proprietor, says Venkat Krishnamurthy, head of small business networking platform Alignable. “You can do it yourself, but it’s not a lot of money and it will serve you well in the long run.”

5. Clean carefully

Once you can start scaling your business, take the time to build your business team. Remember that the first few hires will really help define the culture and tone of your workforce.

Adding an employee is a big step, because it will change the nature of the way you spend your time,” says Greg Ott, CEO of Nav for Small Business Credit Marketplace. “But it can also be a key to unlocking your company’s growth. It really is, for most companies, the path to expansion, growth, and more revenue.”

6. Marketing your product or service

It’s never too early to start marketing your business. The best approach will depend on your industry and your budgetBut it’s important to start thinking about branding and marketing early on.

While this will likely involve creating a website and using online marketing tools, it is also important to focus on building your network and word of mouth referrals. Try a few different methods to see what seems to work for your audience.

7. Getting ready for the hub

Remember, Amazon started as an online book seller and Netflix used to sell DVDs by mail. Successful businesses change over time, so expect to make changes to your business model if you see that one approach isn’t working.

“Many companies end up being in a different place than their initial starting point,” says Luis Ramos, director of business advisory at the Accion Opportunity Fund. “That’s why I always test the importance of showing up and testing the product first and foremost. You may end up learning fairly quickly that what you think the market wants is not what it wants or needs.”