Starting a Business

By Pat Smith

When it comes to starting a business there are many factors to determine long before placing an 'open for business' sign at the front door. The first consideration is what type of business will be started and determining if there is an actual need for the products or services offered.

Starting a business without first conducting market research can result in immediate failure. When identifying customers it's best to follow the 'who, what, when, where and why' format. Doing so provides a realistic picture of if the business concept is viable and what strategies are required to reach business goals.

The most crucial element to any business is customers. Therefore, it is important to determine who your customers are; what products or services they buy; when they buy; where they prefer to buy; and why they would choose to buy from you.

Understanding the wants and needs of customers is essential for developing business and marketing plans. Entrepreneurs and small business owners often forego preparing a written business plan. Instead, they think they can just 'wing it' because they have information and ideas stored in their head.

Not having a written business plan is an ineffective way to start a business and can prevent owners from ever reaching their full potential. Those uncertain of how to write a business plan or in need of business startup advice should contact local Small Business Association offices or conduct online research.

Additionally, every business needs a strategic marketing management plan. This should encompass the various types of advertising strategies required to build brand awareness and develop a customer base. Marketing needs vary dependent on the type of business, but all require an employee or freelance subcontractor to implement marketing strategies.

Internet business marketing requirements will vary from companies operating a retail store or business-to-business service facility. Brick-and-mortar stores can benefit from incorporating online marketing strategies such as developing a website or engaging in mobile marketing or social media marketing.

It can be beneficial to work with an online media marketing consultant to determine which advertising methods yield the highest return on investment. These professionals review business and marketing goals, customer demographics, and advertising budgets to help companies develop short- and long-term goals.

Another consideration of starting a business is licensing requirements, insurance needs, product liability issues, and business tax reporting. Home-based businesses should become familiar with IRS regulations surrounding tax deductions for home office expenses, as well as self-employment taxes.

Companies with employees need to be aware of tax withholding, workers compensation insurance, and properly documenting out-of-state or alien workers. Depending on the type of business, companies may require employees to enter into non-disclosure or non-compete agreements. These types of contracts are best drafted by a lawyer.

Business owners will need to determine where they will conduct business and calculate costs involved. A small business operating from a home office may only require a computer, printer, and telephone while a manufacturing business will require office equipment, production equipment, and items necessary to produce goods.

Brick-and-mortar businesses will need to lease space or have a building built to specifications. Leasing and building company stores opens up an entirely new arena for starting a business. There will be legal contracts, building permits, and moving expenses that must be factored into startup costs.

Lastly, starting a business requires funding. Some people borrow money from family or friends, or use saved funds. Others require bank financing or capital funds from investors. Developing a professional business plan is crucial when applying for funds from banks or credit unions.

As you can see there are numerous steps involved with starting a business. However, you shouldn't let this stop you from turning your dream into reality. If you are determined to achieve success, but confused about how to start we'd like to help.

Online Marketing DNA offers a variety of online marketing packages and private business coaching to help business owners reach their goals. We invite you to browse our result-driven products and services. If you think we offer what you need give us a call to discuss your concerns about starting a business.

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Published on April 04, 2011

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