How to Start a Business: With Simple Tips: A business is defined as an organization or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities. Businesses can be for-profit entities or non-profit organizations. Business types range from limited liability companies to sole proprietorships, corporations, and partnerships.
In order to build and run a successful company, you’ll also need to create and fine-tune a business plan, assess your finances, complete all the legal paperwork, pick your partners, research apps for startups growth, choose the best tools and systems to help you get your marketing and sales off the ground, and a whole lot more.
- 1 How to Start a Business: With Simple Tips
- 1.1 1. Refine your business idea and determine your target buyer.
- 1.2 2. Create a business plan.
- 1.3 3. Choose a legal structure.
- 1.4 4. Comply with legal requirements.
- 1.5 5. Secure funding.
- 1.6 6. Create a website and social media accounts.
- 1.7 7. Sell your products and services.
- 1.8 8. Market your business.
- 2 How to Start a Business
- 3 Requirements to Start a Business
- 4 How to Start a Business Plan
- 5 How to Register a Business Name
- 6 How to Start a Business Online
- 7 Customer Acquisition Strategy for a New Business
- 8 Marketing Your Small Business
- 9 Keeping Your Customers Happy
How to Start a Business: With Simple Tips
1. Refine your business idea and determine your target buyer.
Having a business idea is only part of the journey. In order to be successful, you’ll need to do a bit of research before diving in and starting your business. In order to refine your business idea and set yourself up for success consider:
2. Create a business plan.
Your business plan maps out the details of your business including how it’s structured, what product or service you’ll sell, and how. Creating a business plan will help you find any obstacles on the horizon before you jump into running a business.
3. Choose a legal structure.
Your business’s legal structure can impact what you’re liable for and the taxes you pay. The most common types of business structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability Company, and corporation.
4. Comply with legal requirements.
In addition to choosing a legal structure, there are other requirements to follow to ensure your business is operating legally.
5. Secure funding.
When you’re starting a small business, getting loans from family and friends may suffice. However, larger ventures will require more capital.
While you may have a brick-and-mortar business, it’s nearly impossible to be successful without an online presence. Set up a website and social media channels to ensure potential customers can find your business online.
7. Sell your products and services.
Hooray! You’re in business. Now it’s time to make sure your sales processes are as efficient and productive as they can be.
8. Market your business.
You’ve created an awesome product and now it’s time to get the word out. Marketing and customer acquisition are key to helping your business grow.
How to Start a Business
- Write a business plan.
- Review the legal requirements to start a business.
- Determine your business’ legal structure.
- Register your business name.
- Understand small business tax requirements.
- Create a customer acquisition strategy for your business.
- Market the business.
- Sell your products and services.
- Keep your customers happy.
- Fund the business.
Starting a business involves a whole lot of moving pieces, some more exciting than others. Brainstorming business names? Fun! Filing taxes? … Not so fun. The trick to successfully getting your business off the ground is to meticulously plan and organize your materials, prioritize properly, and stay on top of the status and performance of each and every one of these moving parts.
From registering with the government to getting the word out about your business to making key financial decisions, here an overview of what you’ll need to do to start a successful business.
Requirements to Start a Business
- Create a business plan.
- Choose and register a business name.
- Apply for a Federal Tax ID Number or (EIN).
- Obtain permits and licenses.
- Get business insurance.
- Open a business banking account.
- Grow your business through marketing and sales.
How to Start a Business Plan
- Write an executive summary.
- Describe your company and business model.
- Analyze your market’s conditions.
- Explain your product and/or service.
- Outline all operations & management roles.
- Design a marketing & sales strategy.
- Detail a financial plan with business costs, funding, and revenue projections.
- Summarize the above with an appendix.
How to Register a Business Name
- Make sure the name you want is available in your state.
- Conduct a trademark search.
- If you are a new corporation or LLC, your business name will automatically be registered with your state when you register your business.
- If you are a sole proprietorship, partnership, or existing corporation or LLC, register a ‘Doing Business As (DBA) name.
- File for a trademark when you’ve chosen an original name.
How to Start a Business Online
Now that you’ve learned the tax requirements for a small business, here are some important steps for starting and scaling your business online.
1. Determine your niche and business idea.
Your business niche is your target focus area for your product or service. It’s important to choose a niche because customers like brands and businesses that specifically cater to their needs. In fact, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase products or services from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
When determining your niche and business idea, first identify your target audience and specify everything from their age to their interests. Then, use that information to figure out their principal need. If your product doesn’t resolve a specific need, your business will fail to get off the ground.
2. Conduct market research.
Conduct market research to understand what product or service you should offer, whom you should serve, and where you face the stiffest competition. From physical goods to digital downloads, understanding your market and competitors will help you determine how to best position your product.
Your research should help you create a strong selling proposition. In other words, what makes your business unique? Why should someone buy from you?
3. Learn online business laws.
While online businesses may require fewer licenses and permits than traditional businesses, there are still legal requirements that you will need to adhere to. Be sure to check:
- What kind of business license (if any) do you need to start operations?
- What legal structure makes the most sense for your company?
- Are there any permits that you need to obtain?
- Are there any inspections that you need to pass?
- Do you need a sales tax license?
- Are there any specific regulations applicable to online businesses only?
- What are the laws regarding hiring contractors and hiring employees?
4. Create a website.
After handling the research, taking care of legalities, and honing on your products or services, it is time to create your website. When creating your website, you will need to choose a strong eCommerce platform that will allow you to sell products online.
5. Set up shop.
Once your website is complete, it’s time to add products or services to your store. When adding your products, pay attention to product images and descriptions. Having a crisp image and a detailed but concise description will help your audience maneuver your website smoothly.
After you have finished setting up your store, it’s critical to ensure you offer a seamless shipping or delivery experience to your buyers.
Finally, you want to make sure everything is working before you hit the live button on your website. Make sure that everything is clickable and that all pages look good across all devices and browsers. Once you’ve checked that, you are ready to go live.
6. Grow your business.
Once everything is set up, it’s time to grow your audience. There are numerous ways to reach your target customer, including:
- Social media: Use hashtags and paid ads to expand your reach.
- Influencer marketing: Send free samples to “celebrities” in your niche.
- Facebook groups: Connect with your target market on this platform.
- Google advertising: Put your products in front of people all over the web.
- Content marketing: Publish blog posts to bring organic traffic to your site.
- Word-of-mouth: Encourage customers to spread the word.
- YouTube videos: Start a channel to showcase your products.
In the next section, we will discuss how to market and sell your products for your small online business.
Customer Acquisition Strategy for a New Business
Turns out that generating demand and earning customers needs to come before you can viably ask for funding from an external source.
Once you’ve registered your new business with the government and gotten the legal paperwork squared away, how do you go about, you know … acquiring customers?
Before you can receive any significant funding for your business (which we’ll talk about in the next section), you need to:
- Start marketing your business and building an online presence
- Get a sales process together and begin to sell your product or service
- Strategize how to keep your customers happy to earn testimonials, word-of-mouth referrals, and repeat business (to keep your customer acquisition engine going)
Marketing Your Small Business
A new company needs to start drumming up interest for its product or service even before it’s ready to ship. But there are a million different platforms and avenues you can use to drive awareness … so where on earth do you start?
1. Narrow down your target customer.
It all comes down to your target customer. You won’t be able to position what you’re selling to meet customers’ needs without knowing who they are. One of the very first questions you need to ask yourself is: Who wants what I’m selling? Who would find it useful? Who would love it?
Then, you need to dig in to who that person is or those people are, and what kind of messaging would resonate with them. That includes their backgrounds, interests, goals, and challenges, in addition to how old they are, what they do every day, which social platforms they use, and so on.
Creating very specific buyer personas can dramatically improve your business results. which includes buyer persona templates you can customize yourself. Once you’ve picked a buyer persona or two, print them out, tack them onto your wall, and think about their interests and needs before making every business decision.
2. Develop a brand identity.
In addition to researching your target customer, when you’re first starting a business, you’ll need to build the foundation for a strong brand identity. Your brand identity is about your values, how you communicate concepts, and which emotions you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business. Having a consistent brand identity to promote your business will make you look more professional and help you attract new customers.
3. Build your online presence.
With your target customer and your brand identity under your belt, you can begin building the core marketing elements of your small business, which includes your website, your blog, your email tool, your conversion tool, and your social media accounts. To dive deeper into these topics, read our beginner’s guide to small business marketing here.
4. Generate and nurture leads.
Once you’ve started building an online presence and creating awareness for your business, you need to generate the leads that will close into customers. Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into leads, and if you build a successful lead generation engine, you’ll be able to keep your funnel full of sales prospects while you sleep.
What does a successful lead generation process look like? Learn more about lead generation here, our free lead generation tool that lets you track your website visitors and leads in a single contact database.
Keeping Your Customers Happy
Getting new customers in the door is important, but retaining them is just as important. You can’t ignore customers once you’ve closed them – you have to take care of them, give them stellar customer service, and nurture them to become fans of (and even evangelists for) your business.
Think for a second about all the different ways reviews, social media, and online aggregators spread information about your products.
Here are some tips for how to keep your customers happy and stand out as a stellar business:
1. React quickly.
People expect fast resolution times (some faster than others depending on the channel), so it’s essential to be nimble and efficiently keep up with requests so that you’re consistently providing excellent service to avoid losing trust with your customers.
Pay attention to the volume of your company mentions on different channels. Identify where your customers spend the most time and are asking the most questions, and then meet them there, whether it’s on a social network, on Yelp, or somewhere else.
2. Keep track of touchpoints with individual customers.
Interactions with your customers are best informed by context. Keep track of all the touchpoints you’ve had with individual customers because having a view into their experience with your company will pay dividends in the long run.
How long have they been a customer? What was their experience in the sales process? How many purchases have they made? Have they given positive/critical feedback about your support experience or products? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a more complete picture when you respond to inquiries and will help you have more productive conversations with customers.
3. Create feedback loops.
From the moment you have your first customer, you should be actively seeking out insights from them. As your business grows, this will become harder — but remember that your customer-facing employees are a valuable source of information because they are most in tune with your buyers and potential buyers.
4. Create a FAQ page for your website.
Give customers the tools to help themselves, and scale this program as you grow. When you’re starting out, this might take the form of a simple FAQ page. Over time, as your customer base grows, turn your website into a resource for your customers and enable them to self-service – such as evolving that FAQ page into a knowledge base or library that answers common questions and/or gives customers instructions.