A lot of us dream of one day owning a successful business. Inspiration is simply what drives us to dream big. However only a few become motivated enough to actually take the first steps to start a business.
Even thinking about owning a business with massive loans can be nail-biting scary, especially after seeing media reports of countless failed startups and lost investments. But this is why it’s important to do your research before starting any process.
For some business owners, a home or a van is where it all began.
For example, I remember my uncle — owner of an art gallery — started out selling frames out the back of his rusty white van. With patience, his clientele grew tremendously, which led him to open up his own store.
Just a few weeks ago, I decided to pay my uncle’s art gallery a visit. Keep in mind, I hadn’t seen him in over half a decade. Walking in there, it looked more like a Best Buy on Black Friday rather than an ordinary gallery. There were so many customers that people were literally getting pushed left and right.
I was stunned to see how much his business grew. At the moment, he makes a good amount of money. Good enough to buy a three-story house and pay off several cars.
My uncle’s gallery is just one example of many successful business stories. But of course, not all businesses can succeed by starting at home or in a van.
Reading Entrepreneur articles, forum posts, YouTube videos, media reports, anything that can further your knowledge of how businesses fail and succeed, can help you avoid dangerous obstacles.
How To Start A Business
Many ask the basic question, how exactly do you start a business, the right way?
First off, it would be beneficial to begin by creating a business plan. It also wouldn’t hurt to seek advice from others or attend counseling services. Lucky for you, free counseling exists — so take advantage of it while you still can.
If your business is online: Let me start off by saying: creating an online business is simple. I’ve personally launched several small businesses — and most went great. However, the tricky part is buying the right domain name and performing the right Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
GoDaddy is perhaps the most popular hosting service available. Domain names can go for as low as $2.
When it’s time to register a domain name, it’s also time to get creative. Your domain name should be short, easy to remember and catchy. Long domain names — as well as dashes — should be avoided.
Once your domain name has been purchased, it’s time to get a good hosting plan with privacy protection. It’s important to keep your information private and away from snoopy people.
Your nice and clean website design should dazzle visitors upon contact. WordPress, a free Content Management System (CMS), is considered the best by many. Website designs for WordPress, also known as “themes”, are free — unless you want a very creative looking one.
With this in mind, your WordPress website should have a catchy homepage, along with the following pages.
- Terms of Service
- Blog (Optional)
In the case of the blog page, it’s optional, however, writing a few articles a week on a topic related to your business can be beneficial for SEO purposes, traffic, and readership. Extra Space Storage, for example, has their own blog page with DIY lifehacks, among other things.
After your website is fully functional, it’s time for SEO, PR, and marketing.
If you need to find a location for your business: Choosing the right location for your business can make a critical difference in terms of revenue. This requires lots of planning and researching on topics such as demographics and local competition.
Budgets, state laws, and taxes, should also be taken into consideration during the planning stage. This might sound a bit obvious, but deciding on a location with the most exposure should be the most important part of your planning.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), you should be paying close attention to the following six factors.
- Brand Image – Is the location consistent with the image you want to maintain?
- Competition – Are the businesses around you complementary or competing?
- Local Labor Market – Does the area have potential employees? What will their commute be like?
- Plan for Future Growth – If you anticipate further growth, look for a building that has extra space should you need it.
- Proximity to Suppliers – They need to be able to find you easily as well.
- Safety – Consider the crime rate. Will employees feel safe alone in the building or walking to their vehicles?
- Zoning Regulations – These determine whether you can conduct your type of business in certain properties or locations. You can find out how property is zoned by contacting your local planning agency.
Financing Your Business
This is where it starts to get a bit more complicated. Without government backed loans, venture capital, or GoFundMe donations, it would be very difficult to properly open up a business — unless you’re filthy rich. I wrote a piece on small business loans and their backing by Congress.
Federal tax obligations should be your next target. There are several types of business tax forms.
- Income tax
- Self-employment tax
- Taxes for employers
- Excise taxes
You will also need to decide what type of business you wish to establish.
- Sole Proprietorship
- S Corporation
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Afterward, it’s mandatory to register for state and local taxes — giving you your own tax identification number. Additionally, you will need to officially register your business and get the correct permit and license to operate.
Last Advice For Online Businesses
The internet is a place where a company with a net worth of $100,000, at a cat’s jump, can rise to $5 billion. Mobile apps are the most popular startups that can generate a ton of revenue in a short span of time. The key goal of a successful online business is a good PR team, SEO and social media marketing.
All in all, starting a business is time-consuming and takes a ton of dedication. You don’t necessarily need to quit your day job to start one, as TIME points out. You just need a good plan, financial funding, staff group and a whole lot of determination.
If you have these four factors, then you might just pull it off.