Skip Nav

How to Start a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Refine your idea

❶Build your team 8. Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above?

2. Write a business plan




How will you finance your startup costs? These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan. A lot of mistakes are made by new businesses rushing into things without pondering these aspects of the business. You need to find your target customer base. Who is going to buy your product or service? Conducting thorough market research on your field and demographics of potential clientele is an important part of crafting a business plan.

This involves conducting surveys, holding focus groups and researching SEO and public data. A guide to conducting market research can be found on our sister site Business. A business plan helps you figure out where your company is going, how it will overcome any potential difficulties and what you need to sustain it. Starting any business has a price, so you need to determine how you're going to cover those costs. Do you have the means to fund your startup, or will you need to borrow money?

Find out how much you're going to need. Experts generally agree that startup businesses often fail because they run out of money too quickly before turning a profit. It's never a bad idea to overestimate the amount of startup capital you need, as it can be a while before the business begins to bring in a sustainable revenue.

Best Alternative Small Business Loans ]. Startups requiring a lot more funding up front may want to consider an investor. Investors usually provide several million dollars or more to a fledgling company, with the expectation that the backers will have a hands-on role in running your business.

Looking for information on business loans? Fill in the questionnaire below, and you will be contacted by lenders ready to discuss your loan needs. Before you can register your company, you need to decide what kind of entity it is. Your business structure legally affects everything from how you file your taxes to your personal liability if something goes wrong. Be warned that this route can directly affect your personal credit.

You don't have to go it alone if you can find a business partner with complimentary skills to your own. This makes a business a separate entity apart from its owners, and therefore, corporations can own property, assume liability, pay taxes, enter into contracts, sue and be sued like any other individual.

This hybrid structure has the legal protections of a corporation while allowing for the tax benefits of a partnership. To become an officially recognized business entity, you must register with the government. While this is not required for sole proprietorships with no employees, you may want to apply for one anyway to keep your personal and business taxes separate, or simply to save yourself the trouble later on if you decide to hire someone else.

If you do need an EIN, you can register online for free. You also will need to file certain forms to fulfill your federal and state income tax obligations.

The forms you need are determined by your business structure. Some businesses may also require federal or state licenses and permits to operate. It might slip your mind as something you'll "get around to" eventually, but purchasing the right insurance for your business is an important step that should happen before you officially launch. Dealing with such incidents as property damage, theft or even a customer lawsuit can be costly, and you need to be sure that you're properly protected.

If your business will have employees, you will, at minimum, need to purchase workers' compensation and unemployment insurance. You may also need other types of coverage depending on your location and industry, but most small businesses are advised to purchase general liability GL insurance, or a business owner's policy.

If your business provides a service, you may also want to consider professional liability insurance. It covers you if you do something wrong or neglect to do something you should have done while operating your business. Unless you're planning to be your only employee, you're going to need to hire a great team to get your company off the ground. Figuring out how the team will work together Defining roles and responsibility, division of labor, how to give feedback, or how to work together when not everyone is in the same room will save you a lot of headaches down the line.

Running a business can be overwhelming, and you're probably not going to be able to do it all on your own. Describe your product or service. What are you selling? What's so great about your product or service? How will customers benefit? How is it better than your competitors products or services?

Do you currently have or anticipate developing a prototype, or filing for a patent or copyright? Note all planned activities. For example, if you are writing a plan for a coffee shop, you would include a detailed menu that would outline all your products. Before writing the menu, you would include a short summary indicating why your particular menu sets your business apart from others.

You may state, for example, "Our coffee shop will provide five different types of beverages, including coffee, teas, smoothies, soda's, and hot chocolates. Our wide variety will be a key competitive advantage as we can provide a diversity of product offerings that our main competitors are currently not offering".

Write your marketing and sales strategy. In this section, explain how you intend to penetrate the market, manage growth, communicate with customers, and distribute your products or services. Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above? Make a funding request. If you will use your business plan to secure funding, include a funding request. Explain how much money you need to start and maintain your small business.

Provide an itemized summary of how start-up capital will be used. Give a timeline for your funding request. To accurately complete this step, in some cases it might be necessary to hire an accountant, lawyer, or other professional. For one full year, provide monthly and quarterly statements.

Each year after that, yearly statements. These documents will be placed in the Appendix Section of your business plan. Include projected cash flows for at least 6 years or until stable growth rates are achieved and if possible, a valuation calculation based on discounted cash flows. Write the executive summary. Your executive summary will serve as an introduction to your business plan. It will include your company's mission statement and provide readers with an overview of your products or services, target market, and goals and objectives.

Remember to place this section at the beginning of your document. When was the business first conceptualized? What are some notable growth benchmarks? Start-ups will focus more on industry analysis and their funding goal. Mention the company's corporate structure, its funding requirement, and if you will provide equity to investors.

Existing businesses and start-ups should highlight any major achievements, contracts, current or potential clients and summarize future plans. This is the very last section and it's meant to provide additional information. Potential investors might want to see this information before making a decision. The documents you include here should support claims made in other sections of the business plan.

There should a section clearly outlining the risk factors affecting your venture and your mitigation plans. This also indicates to the reader how well prepared you are for contingencies. Review your business plan for spelling and grammatical errors. Do this several times before deciding on the final version. Rework or completely rewrite content to ensure it works from the perspective of the reader.

This is especially true if you are creating a "presentation plan". Read your document aloud. This allows you to detect if any sentences do not flow together well, and it also makes any grammatical mistakes more obvious. Make a copy and give it to a trusted friend or colleague to proofread and provide feedback. Create a cover page. The cover page identifies your document and gives it aesthetic appeal and professionalism. It also helps your document to stand out. Your cover page should include: The words "Business Plan" centered in large bold font, along with your company name, company logo, and contact information.

Not Helpful 11 Helpful What is a marketing business plan sample for a boutique and fashion store? Not Helpful 14 Helpful You can start with something small. Business cards, website, or anything that will alert people about your company.

You can even post flyers at your local church or grocery store. A business must be registered to make sure that it is legal and a viable choice for investors and customers. Not Helpful 3 Helpful Follow the steps in this article but craft it to make it specific to hardware.

Not Helpful 3 Helpful 3. Where does a tech company start? I need money for servers to run the service, but I need the service to earn money. If you don't have your own starter money or ways to create the income, the next best thing would be to find some investors and people willing to lend you money to start your business.

A good solid foundation and business plan showing them how you will become successful could help in getting that revenue.. Not Helpful 9 Helpful 3. How do I write a business plan for a distribution company? Answer this question Flag as How do I write a business plan for a lingerie shop? I have no capital but am planning to ask for funding.

How can I write a business plan for starting up an aviation service? How can I start a home appliance small business in India with 50k rupees in capital? What should I do for a cosmetics company's business plan? Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Quick Summary To write a business plan for a small business, start by writing an executive summary that briefly outlines your business. Did this summary help you?

Useful Small Business resources are available through city and state government agencies. Article Info Featured Article Categories: Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read , times. Did this article help you? Cookies make wikiHow better. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our cookie policy.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've .

Privacy FAQs

We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us.

About Our Ads

This guide will explain why a business plan is a must-have, provide a shortcut to the business planning process, help you collect important background information, and get you started with a working business plan outline. Oct 23,  · The rest of this article will provide the specifics of what you should include in your business plan, what you should skip, the critical components of the all-important financial projections, and links to additional resources that can help jump-start your plan. Remember, your business plan is a tool to help you build a better business, not just a /5().

Cookie Info

Here's a look at three apps that can help get your business plan rolling: 1. Enloop. From inspiration on starting a business to learning more about how to find solutions - make our site yours. Jul 11,  · How to Write a Business Plan for a Small Business. Three Parts: Preparing To Write Your Business Plan Writing Your Business Plan Finalizing Your Business Plan Community Q&A. A business plan refers to a written document that comprehensively outlines what your business is, where it is going, and how it will get 89%().