Checklist for Starting a Small Business

In recent times, the number of new start-ups and emerging businesses has grown extensively. The worldwide economic slowdown, coupled with the increasing number of layoffs, has prompted people to think of various possibilities beyond jobs. In such uncertain times, it makes sense to be involved with something, over which one has maximum control. Naturally, small businesses and new ventures are on the rise, as more and more people delve into entrepreneurship.

However, starting a new commercial enterprise is no child’s play. There are many factors, that an aspiring businessman must take into consideration, during the initial phase. The following checklist provides certain guidelines, which would be helpful to those who want to start various small businesses of their own.

Points to Keep in Mind

☑ Ask yourself why: This is the first question you should tackle before undertaking any step. Ask yourself, “what is the precise reason that you want to start your own venture?” Be honest with your answer, as it will invariably affect the eventual success or failure of your new decision.

☑ Choose a name: Decide a good name for your business and register it with the concerned authorities. It should complement your attitude and clearly project your line of occupation. For example, you don’t want a name that leads prospective customers into thinking of you as an ambulance services provider, if tourism is what you’re actually in!

☑ Understand your domain: Identify and understand your domain area thoroughly. It is always important to know well in advance, the type of work which you would, and would NOT be doing.

☑ Identify your strengths: Focus on your strengths, and at the same time, figure out ways to tackle your weaknesses. Understand your niche areas, and design your work process accordingly to utilize it to the maximum.

☑ Comprehensive market research: It is imperative that you do extensive and thorough market research, pertaining to your domain. Identify your competitors and learn from their successes and failures.

☑ Set realistic goals: Setting goals is very important for your venture in terms of financial targets, sales targets, growth parameters, etc. Decide both short-term as well as long-term goals, but make sure that they’re realistic.

☑ Prepare a detailed business model: Once you are clear with setting your goals, you must decide the ways to achieve them. Prepare a proper business model/plan for this purpose. Thus, one must take into consideration a number of factors, such as the available resources, manpower skills, financial strength, etc. During this process, it is also advisable to take inputs from someone who is well-experienced in the same field. Hire a business consultant, if necessary.

☑ Get your legal licenses and permits in order: Once you start a business venture, you are automatically responsible for all its legalities and licenses. Make sure that you obtain all the necessary permits related to the above mentioned formalities, from the concerned authorities. Hire a legal adviser or an attorney, if needed.

☑ Develop an effective and efficient marketing strategy: During the initial phase, almost every business venture has to invest a considerable amount of time and money, for marketing of their services. Work out different types of marketing strategies, and select one which is the most effective, efficient, and best-suited to your needs.

☑ Have an RMMM plan in place: Preparing a Risk Mitigation, Monitoring, and Management (RMMM) plan is of utmost importance for your venture. It helps in identifying potential risks, dealing with existing ones, and can thereby protect your business from sudden disasters.

☑ Use your finances wisely: Unless you happen to be a billionaire in the first place, it is absolutely crucial that you learn to manage your finances properly. Keep a detailed written record of your expenses, profits, bank transactions, loan statements, etc. Hire a financial consultant, if necessary.

☑ Stay abreast of changing market trends: Market trends always keep evolving over time, and this change is inevitable. Make sure that you remain updated with respect to these changing trends in your line of business. This will enable you to adapt to new situations much quicker, and will also help you to stay ahead of your competitors.

Keeping this checklist in mind will surely be helpful, as you embark upon a new journey of a businessman. Work hard and keep faith in yourself!

Planning for Starting a Home Based Business

A home based business needs to have a proper plan in place for it to be successful. Working from home is a wonderful option for those of us who cannot, for whatever reason, go to an office for work. Several employment options exist for such entrepreneurs. However, to take advantage of the offers, you need to be well planned and organized.

Step One

First things first, you need to know in which area you want to provide work. For that you need to examine your skill sets and qualifications. That should give you a fair idea of which service you are able to provide.

Step Two

Even at home, you should have a dedicated work area where you can work peacefully. Finding such an area is the key, especially if you are staying at home because of kids or some other responsibilities. You need to find a time and place, where you would not be disturbed or distracted. You can then fix the number of hours, that you can devote to your work based on these factors. Your earnings would therefore depend on the number of hours you can spend working, and how fast you can do your work within these restraints.

Step Three

The next thing you need to have is a business plan. An ideal plan will outline the above mentioned factors in clear cut terms. An analysis of cost and market factors, will determine your cost per hour. You can thus calculate your projected income based on the number of hours you work.

Step Four

Once you have a plan in place, you need to apply for the necessary licenses and registrations. Check with your local government for the required formalities. It pays to have the paperwork in order, so as to avoid legal complications at a later date.

Step Five

The next step is, obviously, getting the work. If your work is internet based, then you need to look for websites where you can get such work. There are several wonderful websites where you can get such work on the Internet. However, if your work is not Internet based, then you need to generate work from other sources. Place an Ad in the local newspapers. Throw a launch party for all your friends and family, and put the word out there.

Going Further

Let the work come to you. Once you get the work, do it well, so that your clients remember you. Don’t forget to discuss payment terms before the work is done, so that there are no misunderstandings later. Word of mouth publicity only works, if you work well and deliver on time. As for publicizing your work via other media: you need to keep on doing it all the time, so as to generate constant work.

So gear up and get started. Well begun is half done! All the best!