Startup Launch Checklist For You
So, You Want to be in Business?
It’s not as easy as you think ?….
TRUE STORY….as reported by John Stossel, FOX News.
Here are the facts: In Midway, Georgia, 2 Sisters, ages 10 and 14 opened a lemonade stand in their front yard. Two police officers bought lemonade. Next day, two different police officers ordered the stand closed.
Why? The girls had NO food service permit. County officials didn’t know how the lemonade was made or who made it. There were NO ingredients listed. Furthermore, their business was NOT registered as a sole proprietorship.
They had NO IRS Employment Identification Number, NO food preparation certificate and NO health department inspection. Besides all that, they had a safety VIOLATION against them; NO fire extinguisher on site.
Laying the Foundation for your Business, One Step at a Time.
Yes, the girls were OOB (out-of-business). Their business failed because they had NO startup plan. They went into business blind, without researching their course of action. They did NOT have a firm foundation for their startup business.
Regardless of what type of business you venture into, you must take the opening process one step at a time. You must think it through before you dive in headfirst. Gone are the days when all you needed to do was to print business cards and “Poof” you created a business. Today, there are numerous obstacles to overcome before venturing into the business world.
You need to lay the groundwork and create a business plan before you open the doors. You should begin by choosing your product or service. What exactly are you selling? Put the description in print. It emphasizes and clarifies the precise definition of your product. It allows you to envision the elements in your mind. Does it offer value? Does it solve a solution? Or, does it offer help and support? What is the price point of that value?You need to lay the groundwork and create a business plan before you open the doors. You should begin by choosing your product or service. #startuplaunch Click To Tweet
Your Startup Launch Business Plan
Then you should create and list your business plan. Again, write it down. Study it. Make it visionary. Examine it for any pitfalls, concerns, or problems. It’s easier to correct issues prior to your startup rather than after.
A major pitfall in starting your business is forgetting to protect your product legally. Determine if you need to establish copyrights, trademarks, patents, or special licenses. Remember what happened to the girls with the lemonade stand? They didn’t cover themselves with a permit or other necessary paperwork. And everything went downhill from that point.
The next step, in forming a new business, is to determine what legal type of business you intend to establish. Will it be an LLC, Corporation, partnership, non-profit, not-for-profit, sole proprietorship, or something else?
Finally-and this is the fun part- what’s in a name? You need to define yourself and your business product. It’s important to select a name that is marketable and memorable. But, at the same time, it should describe your product. When people see your company name, it should leave no doubt in their minds about what type of company you own.
Don’t Go it Alone.
You don’t have to be alone out there in that big new world of entrepreneurship. Search out the advice from others who have forged ahead into business before you. You can even start by soliciting help from the local business owners you frequent daily.
All businesses have the same things in common. They virtually share the same goals, issues, and problems. The basic concept of profit and loss is always prevalent in each business person’s mind, regardless of the size of their company.
Also, there is another source available where you can gain advice and mentorship. You can seek out help from The Small Business Administration, which was created on July 30, 1953, by the United States Congress through the passing of the Small Business Act. Their primary goal is to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interest of the Small Business and its owners.You don’t have to be alone out there in that big new world of entrepreneurship. Search out the advice from others who have forged ahead into business before you. #entrepreneurship. Click To Tweet
Ahhh, What about Funding?
Now, here’s a reality check for you – how are you going to fund this magnificent idea? Coming up with a product or service for your business is the easy part. Thinking back to the beginning and referring back to your original business plan, you should have included a vision for funding this brainstorm.
What financial backing will be the best solution for your business? In a perfect world, you could fund it yourself with savings. But that could be unlikely. A business loan or equity investment loan could be another alternative. If you are a non-profit, you could reach out for information in applying for federal grants.
But, if you are working on a shoestring, you could look for investors and/or partners. This type of support could take the form of financial capital, strategic advice, or networking opportunities.
If you decide to take that road, be sure to create a compelling presentation that includes your complete business plan. Present it to potential investors. Provide them with a clear vision of your business goals that can help convince them to support you.
Here are the Logistics of a Startup Launch
When you look back at the problems the two little girls had with opening their lemonade stand, you realize they (along with their parents) didn’t think it through, logistically. Granted, it wasn’t a lifetime business career. But, regardless, any size business requires the same kind of coordination of the many complex facets of their operation.
Professional support is essential when opening any business. The help and support of a banker, insurance agent, lawyer, or accountant could assist you in addressing all legal and financial aspects of your business plan.
These professionals can educate you in regard to the many legalizations necessary for your industry. They can guide you with advice relating to IRS issues, permits, licenses, and obligations you will have towards employees.
Make Space for a Team on Your Startup Launch.
Surrounding yourself with an experienced support team is the key to your success! The first and most difficult thing you must do is “Let Go”. You can not be everything to everyone all the time. You need to surround yourself with a team of people who can support and understand your business vision. Then, let them go ahead and do it!
The number of members, on your team, depends on the type and size of your business. However, you need to trust someone to be your eyes and ears in your absence. Finding and training these people are both costly and time-consuming.
Once you establish your support staff, they can be your greatest asset. Replacing them could set you back considerably. To retain their trust and support, you should consider their needs. Give them a reason to stay. Treat them with respect and dignity. They reflect your company.
Now that you have your team and plan in place, it’s time to find a suitable space/location, in which to conduct your business. Once you accomplish that, you will be well on your way to your “Grand Opening”.
Time to Market Yourself
You now have a business plan. And then you have done your homework. Next, you know what legal issues stand ahead of you. You have found your funding and are logistically organized. Finally, you have your team intact. You’re on the move to greater things.
Next, you need to brand yourself. Create your motto, mission statement, product purpose. The only question remaining is, “Who is your market base?” You need to do market research. What are your customer’s demographics? Starting with analysis by age, income, community, habits, and hobbies is a beginning. You can further customize your findings depending on your type of business.
Finally, you need to determine what marketing strategy is best for your type of business. You need to research what type of marketing tools will be successful in trying to get the word out about your new business venture.Next, you need to brand yourself. Create your motto, mission statement, product purpose. The only question remaining is, “Who is your market base?” #marketing Click To Tweet
How to Sustain Success from Your Startup Launch
Everyone has an Achilles Heel. Every business has a certain person, company, or industry that is in competition with your business. Learn from them. Who is your biggest threat? What sets them apart from you? What can you do to separate yourself from them?
Be sure you have all your “business tools” in place BEFORE opening day. It is far easier to test every phase of your business or product in advance. Failure to do so can cause chaos when starting out.
Lastly, learn to be a good leader. Consider the “less is more” attitude. You and your team are new to this venture. Your customers are new to you. By using a “soft touch” approach, it will pay dividends in the future.
Most importantly – listen and learn – from everyone involved in your new startup launch.
You can find detailed step-by-step tips and instructions about Founding your New Business, along with a startup checklist, in the Infographic below
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I’d love to know in the comments below if you had a startup launch plan for your business or if you are developing one to start your new business. Let’s discuss in the comments!
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