There are approximately 30 million small businesses in the United States. However, only a small percentage of these small businesses succeed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year, and over 50 percent fail after five years. Many factors contribute to a business’s failure, but one of the main contributors is a lack of proper planning. Below are ten steps business owners can take to help create a successful small business.
- Draft a Financial Plan
A financial plan is crucial when starting a business. Financial plans should include the estimated amount of money needed to start the business, a breakdown of how the owner intends to use the funds, how the business owner plans to raise funds for the business, and a list of potential investors. If you need funds to start your business, you’ll need to research Wilmington business loans, or other business loans available in your area.
- Write a Business Plan
A complete and thorough business plan is essential to the success of your business. A business plan includes a title page, an executive summary, business description, marketing strategy, competitive analysis, design, development plan, operation, management plan, and a financial plan. Each part of your plan needs to be well thought out, clear and congruent.
- Conduct Market Research
It’s imperative that prospective business owners conduct proper market research after a business idea has been identified. Conducting market research is vital because it allows business owners to better understand potential consumers. This way, owners are able to tailor products and services to meet consumer needs. Other benefits of conducting market research prior to starting a business include lowering potential risks, increasing sales, saving money, and improving consumer relations.
- Choose a Business Structure
A business owner should consider selecting a business entity prior to registering a business. Most small businesses are either limited liability companies or corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships. These business entities differ in many ways––including liability and how taxes for the business will be filed.
- Choose and Register Your Business Name
Selecting a business name is also an important part of starting a small business, so business owners should take extra care when choosing a business name. After the name has been selected, the business owner should check to make sure the name has not already been taken. After the name has been selected and confirmed, the business name should then be registered accordingly.
- Secure Licenses and Permits
Permits and licenses are required in order to start and run most businesses. And, these permits and licenses are based on the type of business that is being started. Business owners need to secure these various permits and licenses before the business is up and running.
- Develop Your Products/Services
Developing the product and service offering is also a very important part of starting a business. This is because it’s a way of bringing your idea to life. It’s important to create a team or find a reliable manufacturing company that will help in building your products or services.
- Choose a Business Location
Business locations can be either be at offices, actual storefronts or simply online. Business owners need to take each of these into account, and identify what each can offer when selecting a business location. If it is a storefront, remember: Location. Location. Location.
- Build a Team
Creating a successful, driven team is vital to the success of your small business. During this step, business owners should select potential team members and staff members that will help grow your small business and make it thrive.
- Promote Your Business
Small business owners should start promoting the business as soon as the business is up and running in order to attract customers. The marketing strategy should already be outlined in the marketing plan, making it easier to reach new clients and grow your brand’s awareness.