Tips for Starting a Small Business

So you’ve got a killer idea and a big vision, and you’re ready to start your own business. The question is, where do you start? If you’re looking to turn your vision into reality, the road to success can be bit overwhelming and rife with challenges. While the obstacles in your way can be daunting, arming yourself with the right strategies and business acumen can help you turn your once-in-a-lifetime idea into a rousing success. Read on for the best tips for starting a small business and watch your startup up take off in no time.

Scout out the Market

In order for your business to survive, you’re going to need customers. If you haven’t already explored whether there’s a need for your product or service, there’s no better time than the present.  In this day and age, this step can be as simple as a Google search or chatting with people in your community. If they need is already filled, what about your product or service is going to provide added value? Take a look at competitors and consider what you will bring to the market that makes the difference to potential consumers.

Make a Plan

A detailed, well thought-out business plan is perhaps the most important step in starting your own business. What are your goals, and how do you plan to achieve them? A high-quality business plan will answer just that, and serve as your roadmap to success. Business plans can run the gamut from formal to informal, one page to 100. What you need depends on the type of business you’re starting and who the intended audience of your plan is; for example, an internal document for your organization’s personal use will look very different than a plan designed to entice potential investors. If you’re totally stumped on where to start, take a look at a few how-to guides and examples.

Self-fund Whenever Possible

The harsh reality of starting your own small business is that it may be a while before you turn a profit. That’s why it’s important to fund your own business, whenever possible, rather than taking out a loan. It can take months—in some cases, even years—before you begin to take home a cut of the money your business is making. It may be even longer before you’re in a position to start paying that loan back.

If you don’t have the funds to start your business yourself, consider whether it might make more sense to hold off until you’re in a better place, financially. And if you must take out a loan, it is absolutely imperative that you fully understand the terms, and that you have a realistic plan for paying it back.

Location, Location, Location

This one’s important for a multitude of reasons, as your location can make or break the success of a fledgling business. Questions to ask yourself when choosing a location include:

  • Does this make sense financially and can I afford it long term?
  • Does it allow me the space I need as my business grows?
  • Does the location make sense for my potential customers?
  • Is it easily accessible and is there enough parking?
  • Am I too closely situated to my competitors?

All these factors (and more) can play an important role in your business’s viability to thrive, so choose wisely.

Surround Yourself with Only the Best

Employees, that is. An untrustworthy staff is a massive stress that you don’t want to endure. Ensure you have a staff that you trust to get the job done, and done well. Adopt an employee screening strategy as part of your hiring process, and conduct a full background check on each prospective employee, regardless of position. ShareAble for Hires, a new brand by Transunion, offers a comprehensive background check that includes insights into an applicant’s criminal history and financial past—giving you the information you need to make a confident decision.

Starting and maintaining a small business is no small feat, but with these tips in mind, you’re better prepared to make a successful go at this popular entrepreneurial endeavor.

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