Starting Your Own Business – A Handy Checklist

Starting Your Own Business
Dreaming of starting your own business? This handy checklist provides vital pointers that will make the process of launching your startup a lot easier!

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The path to success after starting your own business is never a straight line. 

Some entrepreneurs make the mistake of launching without proper preparation, increasing the odds of failure. In fact, statistics show that in 2021, over 14,000 cases of business bankruptcy were filed in the US. Tens of thousands more simply cut their losses without declaring bankruptcy, or aren’t included in official figures because they weren’t formally registered at the time they went bust.. 

Don’t get it twisted, we’re not saying you should abandon your dream of starting your own business. You just need to have better preparation, a handy checklist of sorts to guide you on every step. Despite the many challenges, the future is looking bright for small business owners. 

In 2022, one survey showed at least 65% of small business owners reported being profitable. What’s more, 75% of owners surveyed report being ‘somewhat happy’ and ‘very happy’ with their decision to start a business.  

Who’s to say your business can’t be profitable as well? It can! And here’s your chance to make it happen. 

Read on to discover some handy tips and tricks before starting your own business.

Identify a need in the market

Your business won’t achieve much success if your idea is only as good as the current alternatives. Remember, there is always a gap in every market, no matter how innovative the industry already seems. 

The product or service you offer doesn’t need to be a technological breakthrough the world has never seen before. It can be as simple as solving a problem in the market better than anybody else can.

There are many stories about entrepreneurs solving daily life problems and turning that solution into a business. Simon Grabowski, CEO of Clickmeeting, had this to say in an interview with Entrepreneur:

“I started my first business (Clickmeeting) because I needed a tool to send automated emails to my subscribers. Since I had knowledge of programming, I eventually found a way. As it turned out, others also had the same need.”

Clickmeeting now has over 350,000 customers and is available in over 160 countries.

Create a business that you’re passionate about

An innovative idea will get your business started, but your passion is what keeps it going. If you’re passionate about your business, it inspires your employees and entices investors. 

“People care deeply about who’s behind the companies they’re purchasing from,” wrote Emily Heyward in an article published in the Harvard Business Review. “It’s hard to feel a personal connection to a faceless corporation. It’s far more rewarding to support brands that are built by individuals with a compelling story.”

Check out the competition

Standing toe-to-toe with established competitors is not easy for a startup. Before starting a business, you need to have complete knowledge of your industry. Competitive research will help you map out strategies for how your business can compete.

Think about it this way: How can you stand out when you don’t even know what you’re going up against?

Here’s how you can conduct effective research before starting your own business:

  • Determine who your competitors are 
  • Research your competitor’s sales strategy and its results
  • Evaluate your competitor’s product pricing and product promotions
  • Analyze your competitor’s product marketing scheme and content strategy
  • Identify what kind of platforms your competitors actively use

Ensure that your business is legally compliant

In every business, there are legal requirements that need to be followed. It helps level the playing field and keeps everything in order. As an entrepreneur starting a business, learning all the different regulations takes a lot of time. When you’re starting your own business, time is not something you have a lot of! 

professional men shaking hands starting your own business
Image source: Kampus Production

To keep your business legally compliant, there are a multitude of factors that need to be considered. 

Some of them include:

  • Company formation
  • Certificate of good standing
  • Company renewal and revival
  • EIN
  • Certificate of amendment
  • Foreign qualification
  • And more

What’s more, one mistake in encoding and filing legal documents can mean penalties or the dissolution of your business. To help you with this task, it’s best to hire registered business agents. These professionals will take care of all your legal documents, ensuring you always maintain good standing with the state. 

Surround yourself with people who can help you grow

Successful entrepreneurs know when to delegate tasks and seek advice from experts. 

A lot can go wrong in any business. And having to solve everything alone can be daunting, especially wheen you’re just starting your own business. This is where a mentor can help. 

Apart from their knowledge and experience, mentors can provide valuable connections to help your business get ahead. 

One study by UPS found that 88% of small business owners consider having a mentor invaluable. Startups that receive mentorship reportedly face a higher likelihood of survival after five years in business than those who don’t.

Listen to your customers

Once you do start your own business and see positive revenue, continue to innovate. The best move any business can make is to invest in improving its products and services. And who better to ask than the people who use your products and services? In fact, one study found that 81% of companies view customer experience as a competitive differentiator. It helps improve revenue and reduce overall costs. 

“I started over and hustled to find what our customers really needed. Then I offered it, even without the right pricing, details, or layout. I did it for little to no cost, just to learn from them,” said Ashley Alderson, CEO of The Boutique Hub.

By listening to your customers, you can make informed business decisions. What’s more, it also improves customer loyalty. 73% of consumers say a positive customer experience influences their loyalty to a brand. When their voices are heard, it makes them feel valued that you’re interested in helping improve their overall experience.   

Final thoughts on starting your own business

With more businesses popping up each day, the margin of error gets smaller. As a startup business owner, you need to take calculated risks. If you want your business to be successful, make sure to do the following:

  • Identify a need in the market. 
  • Research on the competition
  • Create a business that you are passionate about
  • Surround yourself with people who can help you grow
  • Ensure that your business is legally compliant
  • Once your business is up and running, innovate and listen to your customers

Remember, the market is always changing. You must prepare yourself to change along with it. 

The path to success is not easy, but doing what you love will make it easier. Don’t dive into starting your own business if you aren’t ready to commit to it. Successful entrepreneurs all have one thing in common: A burning passion for their business.

“The only way to do great work
is to love what you do”

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple

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