21 Steps to Starting a Business (You Don’t Want to Skip Any):
1- Create your business plan. What is the purpose of your business? Who are you selling to? What are you selling? For how much? What are the costs? What makes you different? What is your marketing plan? What partners will you need if any? What is your mission, vision, strategy and goals? What does your team look like? What are the roles, compensation plans, goals, etc?
2 – Develop your elevator pitch. Test it out on people to see if they would buy. Share your business plan/idea with others to gather feedback. Secret shopper competitors. Key to become a strong sales person or put somebody in charge of sales.
3 – Save or raise money. Need enough money to cover your start up expenses and marketing for up to a year.
4 – Pick a location. Think through the details and costs.
Choose your brand name. Something people will remember, ideally easy to spell. Make sure the domain name is available. Also check social media handles.
6 – Create your brand guidelines. Logo, brand guidelines — colors, fonts, taglines, brand voice
7 – Choose your business structure. (sole proprietor, LLC, C-corp, etc). This influences operations, taxes, risk and more.
8 – Register your business. Google search how to get your business registered and follow the steps. It may vary by state.
9 – Get federal and state tax ID numbers. Your state tax ID and federal tax ID numbers — also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) — work like a personal social security number, but for your business. Your Employer Identification Number (EIN) is your federal tax ID. You need it to pay federal taxes, hire employees, open a bank account, and apply for business licenses and permits.
10 – Setup business banking.
11 – Setup your accounting. Use a small business accounting program such as Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks. Hire a good accountant to assist you with everything. Watch finances closely. Educate yourself with some business accounting 101 courses.
12 – Apply for licenses and permits. Most small businesses need a combination of licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies.
13 – Get business insurance. Business insurance protects you from the unexpected costs of running a business. Accidents, natural disasters, and lawsuits could run you out of business if you’re not protected with the right insurance.
14 – Protect your IP. File for trademarks, patents, copyrights, etc.
15 – Pick a platform to use to manage and market your business that has everything you need.
Website / Online Store – Create your website. Get it perfect. Focus on your content.
CRM – Forms / Scheduling / Lists
Social – Setup and brand your social media profiles. Match branding of website.
16 – Go live in beta mode. Give your product or service away for free to a handful of people. Refine your processes, update your content, create sales materials/collateral, create email templates, etc. Capture reviews/feedback. Use as referrals/testimonials.
17 – Once ready, hit the gas pedal on marketing! (tech/tools, talent/time, fuel/budget)
18 – Do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. Optimize month over month.
19 – Create raving fans. Customer service should be your #1 priority. Create an exceptional customer experience.
20 – Give it time. You can adjust, but don’t quit. Keep the balance.
21 – Outside of this, do some research on what else is needed for your specific industry. Watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, read books and more.
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