Starting a company should not be a tedious task. With proper advice and guidance, jumping into the business world should be a breeze. Yes, it takes time, dedication, and a lot of research, but at the end of the day - it is worth it.
If you want to start a business but are lost in all the documentation and to-dos, here is a short guide of what to do, to make your job easier:
Starting a Business 101: Step by step
1. Brand Name
First and foremost, start by choosing a name for your company and products. Brainstorming is a must. The brand name will stick with you for a long time. So make sure it fully resonates with the business and its values.
2. Target Audience
The next step is to define the target audience. A great way to define an audience is through creating a buyer persona. This is a scheme-like presentation of a research-based profile of the ideal customer. It includes demographic and personal information, as well as the characteristics, traits, and interests of the perfect customer for your business.
By creating this fictional persona you get to figure what your ideal client wants. Once you know that, think about the ways your product or service can help them. What problem can you solve? Use this to your advantage in your branding, content, and ads at a later stage.
3. Plans & Strategies
Pre-launch planning can make or break your business. This is a crucial step when starting a company. You need a thorough business plan, marketing strategy, and pricing plan. To create those, you might need to do market & competition research and market analysis.
Then it's time for goal-setting and roadmaps. Make sure the goals are realistic and can be measured. Set them high but not too high to achieve. Most businesses do not know overnight success, so try not to expect miracle ROI and campaign results during the first week of launch.
4. Business Compliance
When starting a business you need more than a viable business idea. As an owner, it is your job to make sure your documents are valid and the company is compliant with local laws and regulations.
Register your company name, choose a legal structure, obtain permits and licenses (if needed), set up or outsource your accounting. Our advice is, consult with lawyers and accountants once you start gathering the company registration documents. This way, you can be sure that the process will be smooth and unproblematic.
Register a company bank account. Open business accounts in e-wallets and other APM (alternative payment methods) if needed. And if you plan on starting an eCommerce business or one that requires any online payments, then implement a secure gateway to your site. APM providers can assist you with the technical part.
Branding is the way people perceive your brand - everything connected with your business should make you recognizable. For example, make sure your domain, email extension, and social media account names match. By doing that, people will instantly know how to find you online.
As for the textual and visuals, use a unified scheme for all digital platforms and offline advertisements. Choose brand colors, fonts and stick to them for all company designs. Only use original visuals and authentic texts, and add your logo and tagline to every piece of content you put out. A branding strategy can also be applied to sounds, slogans, etc.
6. Online Presence
Building an online presence from ground zero is not an easy task. That's why our advice is to start saving your place in the digital space before you officially register the company or right after you do.
How? Save your brand name in advance in the social media platforms you intend to have a business account in. Make sure you name these accounts with the same relevant @handle across all social media. Another thing you need to save (purchase) is a domain name that is the same as your business name and your social @handle.
If you have all of these set up in advance, once you start a business you can get on with creating a website, filling it with content, and start posting on social media immediately. This way you get to build an online presence without wasting precious time in the beginning.
7. Workspace Management
If you decide to open an office or physical store, please check all local requirements and regulations. Be ready for health inspections, external audits, etc. Hiring an office assistant or receptionist will make your life a lot easier.
Even if you don't plan on operating at a physical address, make sure you provide all the available office supplies and hardware to your team. And remember - a healthy work environment is crucial for the long-term well-being of any company, especially if it is a new business.
Every business needs certain software to get operational. Purchase helpful tools and don't rely on free trials and freemium versions. For social media managers, copywriters, and designers, tools like Canva and HemingwayApp are invaluable.
It's also a good idea to designate an online workspace for communication, time management, and task management such as Slack, Monday, Notion, etc.
You cannot be an expert in everything. Make certain to have finance and accounting professionals looking at your financial activity, stats, and preparing your official reports. This will let you stay out of legal trouble and can help you make smarter financial decisions for your starting business. Also, consider investing in finance management software.