Ever wanted to strike out on your own? Have big ideas that may revolution
ise your profession? Then chances are, you’ve strongly considered starting your own business at some point or another.
Starting a business can be a great way for passionate and dedicated professionals to not only build up their own name and brand, but to perhaps even make a lasting impression or influential strides in their market niche. But regardless of whether you’re looking to start your own enterprise to make a good living, be your own boss, be a pioneer of innovation, or all of the above, putting together a start-up is a lot easier said than done.
There are a lot of considerations that need to be taken into account before opening your enterprise’s doors for the first time. We’ll be outlining some of the most important things that all entrepreneurs will need to do when looking to start their own company below. So read on to learn more about the logistics of starting your own business today.
1. Develop a clear understanding of the risks
There’s a reason why many entrepreneurs name public liability insurance as one of their most crucial preliminary expenses. There are risks associated with taking on any professional opportunity, but starting your own business is one of the riskiest endeavours you can take on. Because of this, it’s important for prospective business owners to equip themselves with a solid understanding of the risks that they’re likely to face in this new professional role.
For example, if you’re planning on providing a service like construction or plumbing work to your customers, you could be liable in the event that the work provided isn’t up to industry standards. Your business may also be forced to foot the costs of healthcare in the event that a staff member or even a customer is injured on your work premises or as a direct result of your business operations.
Understanding the risks associated with your sector and industry niche, and making sure that your enterprise will be insured and thus covered in the event of these risks, should be one of the foremost concerns for any aspiring business owners today.
2. Do some preliminary market research
Now that you have a clear understanding of the risks involved with this business venture, it’s time to start turning your focus on the actual opportunities that you could take advantage of as a fresh presence in your market niche. Most business moguls advocate that new enterprises seek to ‘fulfil a need’, or fill a gap in their respective markets. So now’s the time to identify that gap and determine what role your business will play in its wider industry landscape.
In other words, this is the point in your business development strategy where you try and think about your enterprise’s primary selling points and how you’d like to present yourselves. This branding brainstorming can be influenced by your own vision as well as any insights that you’ve been able to attain from researching your main competitors and their own recipes for success.
Your preliminary market research can also help you gain a clearer picture of the industry you’re looking to occupy from an entrepreneurial perspective rather than from the perspective of an employee. This is a crucial shift, as the new vocabulary and communication style that accompanies this transition can help you forge strong relationships with potential stakeholders. So long as you channel these findings and insights into your business map and any pitch documents, you should be able to find some interested parties to work with and put together a nice amount of start-up capital, which will naturally make the rest of this process just that much easier to navigate.
3. Outline essential supplies and equipment
Now in the digital age, no business can function without specialised equipment or technologies – the ‘tools of the trade’, if you will. This is why it’s imperative for business owners to do a little research to determine what supplies and equipment they’re likely to need in order to get their business up and running.
Think about your industry, the goods and services that you’re looking to provide, and what your company’s property, plant, and equipment (or fixed assets) is likely to look like based on its operations. For example, those looking to start up an eCommerce business are likely to need warehousing space to store their inventory, as well as web development and graphic design tools for building up their website and social media presence.
Contrastingly, trades businesses are likely to require a lot more specialised equipment like tools, as well as vehicles like trucks or vans to ensure that they’re equipped to service a wider area, allowing them to expand their prospective customer base. And business owners who are looking to operate out of an office space will need to source computers, office networking essentials, office furniture, and other office equipment, all alongside securing a commercial lease.
4. Prepare a start-up budget
Once you have a solid understanding of the equipment you’ll be requiring as well as what you’d ideally like from your business premises, the next step isn’t to go out and sign a commercial lease agreement or roll up to your local hardware store. Unsurprisingly, the next step of this process is to prepare a budget for your start-up.
This budget can be formed by examining your own finances as well as any funding you’ve been able to secure from interested stakeholders. Tally up the starter funding that you do have and use these figures to make purchasing decisions across your list of essential supplies and equipment.
Keep in mind that it is possible in most cases to claim back expenses made for your business before you’ve finalised your business registration. Just so long as you can provide proof of purchase and if required, records supporting that the purchase was made for business purposes and not for personal use. Any supplies or equipment purchased after you’ve registered your business can be claimed on your company’s tax return as per usual.
5. Finalise business registration and licencing
Now that you’ve got a solid business plan and budget in place, it’s finally time to register your business name and company details with your respective federal and state authorities. Registering your business should be pretty straightforward for the most part, as your federal governing body that’s tasked with handling business registrations will likely have a digital form that streamlines the process for you. All you need is to have all the information and documentation you’ll need on hand in order to fill out that registration form at your own pace.
Your business registration form will likely also ask you to define your business structure. This may involve selecting between a few different structures (i.e. sole trader, company, partnership, co-operative, etc.). Different commercial and taxation laws typically apply to different business structures so it’s important to input this information correctly in your registration documentation.
Alongside finalising your registration, now is also the time to secure all licensing and certifications that you or your business may require in order to begin trading. For example, if you’re operating a pub or a restaurant that serves alcohol, you’ll need to secure your licence to serve alcohol on your business premises. And for those looking to work in the construction industry or in trades, these sectors also require businesses and their employees to have select certification and licensing in order to maintain compliance with industry regulations. Be sure to look into industry standards in your region or country to ensure that your company adheres to these region-specific regulations.
6. Finetune your record-keeping processes
Once all your registration ‘paperwork’ has been filed, it’s time to start developing your company’s internal record-keeping processes. Although this administrative process is a bit drier than the other business development items on this list, this is a crucial component of preparing any viable company.
This is because having solid record-keeping processes in place for your enterprise can greatly simplify a myriad of routine business management tasks, spanning from onboarding and training new staff, to filing your tax return at the end of every financial year. So don’t skimp on this part of establishing your business. Invest in cabinets for the clear storage of hardcopy documents, and hard drives or network servers to help support the storage and organisation of company files and other digital assets, like your company intranet or any connected business management software.
7. Put together a reliable team
Last but not least, it’s time to start adding to your company’s staff roster. This is arguably one of the most exciting and vital components of building a solid organisation, as your body of staff will be your most valuable asset when it comes to cultivating a strong reputation and growing your customer base.
Looking for the right recruits can be a fairly daunting task, however, especially if you have minimal experience as a supervisor. So when in doubt, try to look for competency and strong referrals wherever possible. Reach out to your wider industry network and put out feelers for reliable and dedicated professionals to fill your advertised roles.
For instance, if you’re operating within the IT sector and you’re looking to build a team of developers, attending industry conferences or seminars can help you meet talented professionals who may also be looking to build something with you from the ground up. Or you could meet people who know people and start expanding your professional network through these referrals.
Building your own company from the ground up is no simple process, nor is it even a linear endeavour. You may find yourself returning to any of the items on this list over your business’ first few operational quarters, and perhaps even after a few good financial years.
If you do, remember that revisiting and amending your company’s operational guidelines, budgeting, and a plethora of other elements, is all part of the ongoing task that is business management. And with time, you will learn to trust your instincts, as well as your ability to respond in the face of changing circumstances and ever-evolving industry and economic landscapes.