Starting your own business can be both an exciting and scary endeavor. Not only will you need passion and perseverance to weather the ups and downs, but you’ll need to be prepared well in advance of putting up that Open Sign if you want to make it in the long run. If you are thinking about starting your own business here’s what you need to know to get started.
- Understand your finances. Know how much money you need to launch your business and what personal finances you have to support it. Do you need to take out a loan or obtain investors to launch? What do you need to earn each month to be financially secure? Every penny counts!
- Create a business plan. Not only will this keep you organized and on track, but if you need to finance your business launch, your financial institution will want to see this. A 3 year plan can help you determine what you need to get your business off the ground, inventory, expenses, employees, a growth plan, etc.
- Do your market research. Make sure you have a product or service that people want to buy. Is your market saturated already with similar products or services? What problem does your product or service solve and how will you market it? Validate your business idea.
- Know who your target client is. What demographic or type of people will you be marketing too? Can you easily reach them? Get feedback from people who are in your target market and find out if they would purchase your product/service and why or why not.
- Have a support network. Most likely you’ll need a lawyer and an accountant who can help you set up the business and manage your finances. You may also need to establish a list of vendors or subcontractors whom you can trust to get you product or work done on time. You won’t be good at doing everything, so having a network of people who can handle what you can’t will be key.
- The 9 to 5 work day doesn’t exist. When you start your own business, be prepared to eat, sleep, and live your business at least for the first few years until it gets off the group and you can hire people to start managing the day to day operations.
- Join a Chamber of Commerce or other local business groups to start networking and getting the word out. You may be able to get some referral business from these avenues and reciprocate by sending referrals to others.
- Get the word out. Once you launch you need to create some buzz. Consider getting the word out on social media, hosting a grand opening or open house, and spread the word to your network – nothing beats word of mouth advertising! Paid advertising may be an option as you start bringing money in the door.
Launching a business is no small decision. But it may be the best decision you make. Having a realistic idea of what to expect and the hard work involved will help you on the way to being successful. If you have any questions about what Business Perks and Lending options are available, give us a call or stop into one of our branches.
Margret K. Warner
Vice President, Commercial Lender
Director of Business Services