Many of us dream of starting a small business. Whether it’s the romantic ideal of being your own boss, or the desire to build something from nothing, having a dream is different than actualizing it. Often, it’s the fear of failure or the daunting amount of work that keeps us from being bold enough to launch that next brilliant startup.
An effective way to build confidence and remove the fear of failure is to break down the basics of starting a small business into smaller tasks. By completing these tasks one at a time, you may soon find you’re well on your way to laying a solid foundation for your bold, lean startup to thrive.
CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN
The assumption that one must account for every eventuality in a business plan, including a five-year earnings projection, is not only intimidating, but also becoming outdated. A popular methodology is emerging, called “the lean startup.” This approach relies on one’s ability to pivot—to try out new ideas, to discard them quickly if they don’t catch on, and to move on to the next approach. So, your business plan should be as agile as your startup approach. It can be a single page that addresses the following questions: Who are your customers? What are you offering? Would you buy it? Will you charge enough to make a profit? More information about lean startups here.
RAISE THE MONEY
Not having the money to fund your startup can be a perfect excuse not to pursue it. Of course, saving as much money as you can is great. Another effective way is crowd funding. Launching a crowd funding campaign generates support from friends and family, and forces you to create a social media presence. It also gives you early customer feedback—essentially a free focus group that gives you the opportunity to tweak and refine your idea before you’ve sunk a lot of capital into it, which is crucial for lean startups. Additionally, crowd funding is fantastic because it’s a means to avoid debt. Most people forget that it can take months, or even years before their business generates a profit. But don’t let that deter you!
INCORPORATE, REGISTER, AND OPEN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
Figuring out the legal structure of your small business (corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship) can be intimidating. If you don’t have an accountant or attorney already, Legal Zoom or 1800accountant are two companies that provide business assistance at a low rate.
Once your legal structure is established, it’s free to register for an employer identification number (EIN), which allows you to legally separate yourself from your business. You’ll also be able to open a bank account for your business, a necessary step to untangle your personal expenses from your business expenses. Some businesses require licenses to operate. Consult this link.
PROTECT YOUR DATA
Your business plans, bank accounts, and customer information are digital. Your new startup can only succeed if this data is protected. It’s crucial to ensure that not only are your computers safe from online threats and data breaches, but that your network, smartphones, and tablets are secure as well. Norton Small Business protects all of your devices and provides affordable and flexible security that grows with your small business. Add critical protection without adding to your to-do list.
Without customers, your small business is out of business. Building a strong social media presence is essential, particularly because you will most likely have a lean marketing budget. Start building your presence now. Even if it’s only a few tweets, or if you reach out to one to five people per day, the effects add up. More info on marketing strategies can be found here.
Additional startup resources can be found here.
You have the great idea. Now it’s time to build the great startup. Find out all the ways that Norton keeps your small business safe, so you can boldly go where your small business takes you. Click here to learn more.
First published July 14 2014, 2:00 PM
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