Great things come from small beginnings, and in the realm of business, success begins with an idea. While there is no exact equation to a successful business, oftentimes, it depends on the foundations laid out at the very start.
The initial planning phase when starting a new business is considered the most critical. The long-term viability and the overall growth of a business rely very much on how it was carefully planned out, which is why it’s important for every business person — whether seasoned or new — to focus on their business’ key needs to ensure a good head start. Here we’ve listed the essential must-haves that every startup business needs to have in place prior to launching.
1. Business plan
Every business, however small, should always have a business plan. A business plan not only details every aspect of your business; it is also a valuable guide for stakeholders and investors to get a better understanding on your business and your goals. At the very least, you should have the following components covered:
- Executive summary — a brief on what your business is about; important when considering your elevator pitch
- Business description — includes a history of your business, what business need(s) you’re attempting to fulfill, product or service descriptions, business model, and business goals
- Business organization — details the management structure and key team players of your business
- Mission, vision, and overall business goals — this determines the general direction as to where you want your business to take
2. Financial backing
Money is quite possibly the most essential driving force in launching a new business. You should have more than enough money for the pre-launch expenses and the grace period between the time you begin to gain profit. It’s also prudent to have a financial plan in place, since mismanagement of money is among the most common pitfalls of startup businesses. You could either finance your business on your own or get outside help from a variety of sources such as the following:
- Angel investors
- Venture capitalists
- Bank loans
- Business incubator programs
3. Location for your business
While it’s not necessary to have a physical store, especially if your business model is focused toward online selling, it’s still important to have an actual location or a physical address where your business is based. This is an important requirement for business licenses and permits. Moreover, if you do need a physical space for your business — whether as a store, office, or warehouse — this could be an important step in order for you to factor in the leasing expenses required.
4. Licenses and permits
Most major cities and counties require businesses to obtain a business license and other permits even if you’re planning to operate home-based. This is to ensure that you have legal authority to do business in that area, as well as being necessary for tax purposes. Be sure to check with your respective local authorities for a list of required licenses and permits for the type of business you’re planning.
5. Branding strategy
Deciding on the identity of your business, or your branding, is as important as creating a business plan. Many startup businesses fail to recognize the value of planning beforehand the branding of a business prior to launching. However, it’s actually crucial for new businesses to project an impressive first look, and that all starts with a well-thought-out branding strategy. Your branding strategy should at least detail your brand colors, font combinations, logo, and the tone of voice of your marketing copy.
6. Marketing plan
Marketing is what propels a business forward. Even at the onset, it’s also important for businesses to have a solid marketing plan in place. Your market plan should detail who your target demographic is, as well as a thorough analysis of their needs and wants. An analysis on your competition is also valuable so that you’ll know how to position your key differentiators. It’s also crucial to include your brand positioning, marketing strategy, budget, and metrics and goals in your marketing plan.
7. Company website and online presence
In today’s digital world, it’s no longer optional for businesses to have a website, or at least a social media presence through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn — it’s now a necessity. The Internet opens you to billions of potential customers, which is why having a solid online presence through a business website or social media is critical to a business’ marketing success.
It’s worth investing in a custom domain name and having a mobile-responsive website created for your business. If budget permits, get help from professional web designers and developers. Although many content management systems (CMS) have made it easier for users with little to no coding knowledge to create a website, if you want more customization, it’s best to call on the experts.
Starting a new business is both an exciting and daunting feat that necessitates careful planning and implementation. While our startup business checklist isn’t exhaustive, this should be able to help you get started on the right foot.
If you’d like to know more about launching and promoting a business, visit our website for more information: https://www.ilfusion.com