words Al Woods
As with any new business, starting a startup will bring up many new, unknown challenges. However, this is especially true with a startup, since it is often short on resources that would be common in an established business or corporation. Before you dive into the world of startups, here are some things to consider to help ensure your startup’s success.
1. Register your business
It’s important to have your business registered in the state that you plan on doing business. This may also require registering with the federal government, depending on what type of business it is. Registering with the state usually requires filling out some paperwork and paying a small fee to do so. Some states allow filing for a DBA registration (Doing Business As) or using an assumed name if you are not using your given name when starting the business. Registration of businesses differs in each country, so if your company is in Hong Kong, you need a Hong Kong business registration number for it. Doing this research and getting the proper paperwork filed will help keep your business organized and legally protected.
2. Choose a legal structure
There are five common structures used when forming a startup: sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, S-corporation and C-corporation. Before choosing one of these structures, consult with a business attorney. That person will help make the process as smooth as possible and understand which structure is best for your startup. Each of these structures has their own benefits and disadvantages, so make sure you know what they are before picking one. You can also create a hybrid between two structures, but make sure you still seek professional advice.
3. Secure capital to start your business
Many people think all startups are launched with the founder’s own money. This is not always the case, though. Many successful startups have been launched because of funding either from investors or loans to get things started. Sometimes it is good to be creative in your method of raising capital, including getting an investor on board early, using crowdfunding or even using your credit cards if necessary. There are many advantages and disadvantages depending on how you go about raising capital for your startup. Just remember that legality comes into play here too, so make sure you know what it means to fund a company before doing so.
4. Develop a business plan
A business plan is a document that outlines all the important aspects of your startup. This should include the purpose of your business, your mission statement, your goals, and objectives, the market you are targeting (if applicable), what makes your company unique or better than competition, financial information on what you need to start the company and how much it will cost. If you are looking for funding to launch your startup, make sure to include that in the plan as well. Your plan should be very detailed but concise at the same time.
5. Choose a marketing strategy
Once your business is launched, there needs to be some type of branding involved. Usually, branding includes advertising, however, branding also means incorporating your logo into any print materials associated with your business. Branding can be broken down into two categories: product and marketing. Product branding is what you do to the actual product or service that you are offering. Marketing branding is how you get your potential customers to know, like and trust your brand enough to buy from you. There are several strategies for marketing a business, so make sure you pick one and stick with it.
6. Establish company policies
It’s good practice to have an established company policy manual for employees of your startup to review at least on a yearly basis or when there are changes being made within the company itself. Policies should cover everything from hiring to firing, wages to time off. Make sure all employees have a copy of the company policies, so they are aware of their job duties and responsibilities, as well as any potential consequences if rules are not followed. Also, it is good practice for management staff to sign that they have read the policies document annually or when there are changes being made within the company itself. This shows that you have your employee’s best interests in mind, no matter if they agree with every policy or not.
Why should your startup have a solid plan?
Creating a business plan is an important step for any start-up. Not only does it act as a guide for the company, but it is also a critical tool when seeking outside investment or trying to attract key employees. A well-written business plan shows that you have done your research, are knowledgeable about your industry, and have thought through all the significant aspects of your business. It can be used as a roadmap to help keep your startup on track and make sure you are covering all your bases.
There are many things to consider when launching a startup. By taking the time to do your research and planning accordingly, you will give yourself the best chance for success. Seeking professional advice is always a good idea, so don’t be shy about asking for guidance if you feel overwhelmed with any aspect of starting your company.