So, you have decided that you want to start a business. What should your first steps be and how should you get started? The initial planning steps for a business are often the most critical to determining its long term viability. It’s important that you focus on your company’s key needs to get off to a good start. The first thing you’ll need to call yourself a “business” is some interest from potential clients or customers. What need are you going to fill for someone? Answer that question, then start thinking about the next steps. To help you on your path to entrepreneurial greatness, listed below are four must-haves that will put your new business on the road to success:
A Carefully Crafted Business Plan
If you want to be taken seriously in your entrepreneurial venture by investors, than you need to start with a business plan. A business plan is a document in which you state all of your goals and your plans for achieving these goals. Everything from your growth strategy to your financial plans are contained in the business plan. A business plan shows potential lenders that you are serious about your idea. A business plan helps to sell your business for you because it explains exactly what your company is about. A great resource for helping you create your business plan is the Small Business Administration’s website.
A User Friendly Website
Just about every single credible business today has a website. Creating a website is a great way of informing other people about your business without ever having to say a word. A website gives you an online presence and gives you the flexibility of marketing and selling your products online. For some businesses a great website can even negate the need to have a physical location. You can sell anything from tangible products to information via the world wide web. Your website says a lot about how serious you are about your business. Remember your website will keep advertising for you long after business hours are over.
A Catchy Business Name
You want a company name and motto that causes people to associate your company with your products. For example, what do you think of whenever you hear the slogan, “You’re in good hands.” Your mind probably flashed to an Allstate commercial. You want your business name to become synonymous with what you do. Think outside the box and pick something catchy that will stay with people. Moreover, look at how the term “Googling” something has become synonymous with searching and how “Kleenex” has become closely integrated with a tissue. That is great brand name recognition! Pick a name that people can easily spell and pronounce. This is important.
A Great Business Card
Getting your business name into the marketplace is one of the toughest challenges for a startup. A business card can be a great asset to your marketing efforts. People often underestimate exactly how having a good business card can help their business grow. A business card is the one takeaway that you can leave people with long after your conversation. Too many people buy the cheapest card they can find or just make their own cards. Be creative in designing your card. Look for cards that are unique and different from the plain standard white cardboard. A great business card will start you off on the right foot by making a great impression. You may also want to invest $50 to $100 and get a freelance graphic designer to design something for you so it has a professional look and stands out. This person could also help you design a logo.
What are some things that you would consider essentials for a successful business?
(Photo credit: Murat Erturk)