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How to Start a Business – What You Need To Know

Launching a business can be one of the most exhilarating moments in an aspiring entrepreneur’s life. Yet it can also be incredibly overwhelming and intimidating if you do not have a solid business plan in place.

Conducting the proper research to structure a business can mean the difference between a successful operation for years to come or closing up shop quickly. Here are some suggestions for preparing to run a thriving business.

Research Your Business Idea

You may think that your idea is new to the market. Don’t be so sure until you’ve done your homework. Research whether your product or service already exists. If there is competition, make note of how successful companies operate, and why others lag behind. Once you flip the sign in your door to open, keep your ear to the ground and get ahead of any encroaching competition.

Develop a Detailed Business Plan

Planning is crucial in business. Fly blind and you’ll crash hard. Many upstart businesses make the mistake of depleting their funds quickly due to poor planning and decision-making.

Your plan should cover all aspects of running an establishment. For instance, can your anticipated income make the rent? If not, do you raise prices on certain items? Can you find an equally desirable location at a better price? Have you sought out more competitive vendors? What are the pros and cons of taking out a loan? Challenge yourself and explore options to prevent potential cash shortfalls.

A strong business plan should also address marketing and advertising. New merchants will need to undertake a great deal of promotion. Once you settle into a groove, don’t assume your advertising costs will be static. Plan for the entire year, and beyond.

Location, Location, Location

You want to be the only game in town, so it may be wise to literally stay away from competitors. If you are opening a coffee shop, it might be best not to locate across the street from a Dunkin’ or Starbucks. Stopping at those establishments may already be an ingrained, hard-to-break routine for many people. Serving up burgers? Think twice about opening around the corner from a McDonald’s.

In addition, will an existing parking lot accommodate your customers. If you do not have a lot, make sure there is ample street parking. You don’t want to risk losing customers who find it too time-consuming to find parking around your establishment.

Register with Federal and State Government / Get your Federal and State Tax ID’s/Obtain Needed Permits from Your Town

Obtain incorporation papers, tax documents and all local and State permits before opening your doors. The last thing that you want is a burdensome government audit, or a municipal order to shutter your store until you pass health and safety inspections.

The steps outlined above are a good starting point in helping to build a solid foundation for a profitable business. But don’t stop there. Research the dozens of other steps, problem-solving methods and tips to get a head-start on the road to success. 

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