Building your own business from the ground up is an exciting opportunity, but it can also be challenging. Starting up a business involves planning, making critical financial decisions, and completing a series of legal activities. Scroll down to learn about the steps that might help guide you.
1. Conduct market research
Market research and competitive analysis may help you find customers for your business. The competitive analysis enables you to make your business unique. Combine them to find a competitive advantage for your new business.
Market research will tell you if there’s an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. First, it’s a way to gather information about potential customers and businesses already operating in your area. Then, use that information to find a competitive advantage for your business.
Use market research to find customers.
Market research blends consumer behavior and economic trends to confirm and improve your business idea. It’s crucial to understand your consumer base from the outset. Then, market research lets you reduce risks even while your business is still just a gleam in your eye.
Gather demographic information to understand better opportunities and limitations for gaining customers. This could include population data on age, wealth, family, interests, or anything else that’s relevant for your business. Answer these questions to get a good sense of your market:
- Demand: Is there a desire for your product or service?
- Market size: How many people would be interested in your offering?
- Economic indicators: What are the income range and employment rate?
- Location: Where do your customers live, and where can your business reach?
- Market saturation: How many similar options are already available to consumers?
- Pricing: What do potential customers pay for these alternatives?
Use competitive analysis to find a market advantage.
- Competitive analysis helps you learn from businesses competing for your potential customers. This is key to defining a competitive edge that creates sustainable revenue.
- Your competitive analysis should identify your competition by product line or service and market segment. Assess the following characteristics of the competitive landscape:
- Market share
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Your window of opportunity to enter the market
- The importance of your target market to your competitors
- Any barriers that may hinder you as you enter the market
- Indirect or secondary competitors may impact your success.
2. Write your business plan.
Your business plan is the foundation of your business. Learn how to write a business plan quickly and efficiently with a business plan template.
Your business plan is the foundation of your business. It’s a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. You’ll use it to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is an intelligent choice.
Business plans help you run your business.
A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through the critical elements of your business.
Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is an intelligent choice.
Pick a business plan format that works for you.
There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What’s important is that your plan meets your needs. Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.
Traditional business plans are more common, use a standard structure, and encourage you to detail each section. However, they tend to require more work upfront and can be dozens of pages long.
Lean startup business plans are less common but still use a standard structure. They focus on summarizing only the most critical points of the essential elements of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically only one page.
3. Fund your business
Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business. If you don’t have that amount on hand, you’ll need to either raise or borrow the capital. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to find the money you need.
Determine how much funding you’ll need
Every business has different needs, and no financial solution is one size fits all. Your financial situation and vision for your business will shape the economic future of your business.
Once you know how much startup funding you’ll need, it’s time to figure out how you’ll get it.
Fund your business yourself with self-funding
Otherwise known as bootstrapping, self-funding lets you leverage your financial resources to support your business. Self-funding can come in the form of turning to family and friends for capital, using your savings accounts or even tapping into your 401k.
With self-funding, you retain complete control over the business, but you also take on all the risks yourself. So be careful not to spend more than you can afford. Be especially careful if you choose to tap into retirement accounts early. You might face expensive fees or penalties or damage your ability to retire on time. So you should check with your plan’s administrator and a personal financial advisor first.
4. Pick your business location.
Your business location is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or launching an online store, the choices you make could affect your taxes, legal requirements, and revenue.
5. Choose a business structure.
The legal structure you choose for your business will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your liability.
6. Choose your business name.
It’s not easy to pick the perfect name. You’ll want one that reflects your brand and captures your spirit. You’ll also want to make sure your business name isn’t already being used by someone else.
7. Register your business
Once you’ve picked the perfect business name, it’s time to make it legal and protect your brand. Suppose you’re doing business under a name different than your own. In that case, you’ll need to register with the federal government and maybe your state government, too.
8. Get federal and state tax IDs.
You’ll use your employer identification number (EIN) for essential steps to start and grow your business, like opening a bank account and paying taxes. It’s like a social security number for your business. Some — but not all — states require you to get a tax ID as well.
9. Apply for licenses and permits
Keep your business running smoothly by staying legally compliant. The licenses and permits you need for your business will vary by industry, state, location, and other factors.
10. Open a business bank account.
A small business checking account can help you handle legal, tax, and day-to-day issues. The good news is it’s easy to set one up if you have the correct registrations and paperwork ready.
The following tips and checklists can help you with other essential parts of the process. But to avoid common mistakes, you should get advice from experienced business owners who want to help. Just like Medical Billing Opportunity, they offer different courses and webinars to help guide you into starting up a business or a Medical Billing Company.