How to Start a Business – Ultimate Start Up Guide for New Entrepreneurs
Starting a new business is an exciting but often stressful time. While every venture begins with a great idea, there’s a lot of things you need to do to prepare for future success. Fortunately, the wealth of information on the web can help you home in on a competitive niche, while new technologies can make running your business much smoother.
Becoming your own boss can help you to achieve a better work life balance, improve your health with a less stressful work environment and focus your time and energy on something that brings you joy. So, if you’re ready to get creative, think outside the box and join thousands of start ups and entrepreneurs who are changing their lives for the better, this one’s for you!
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of what you need to do to set the stage for success.
Understanding different business structures
One of the first things you need to do is choose a suitable business structure. This affects how much you pay in taxes, your options for raising money, personal liability, and the paperwork you’ll need to file.
Becoming a sole proprietor is the obvious choice if you want to establish a home business. You won’t be able to have formal employees, although there’s nothing stopping you from outsourcing work like accounting and marketing. A sole proprietorship is a good place to start if you have a low-risk business or you want to test your idea before moving onto a more formal arrangement.
Partnerships are a lot like sole proprietorships, except they involve two or more people running the business together. You can form a partnership informally by oral agreement, although it’s less risky if you set up a legal contract under the guidance of an attorney. You can also set up a limited liability partnership (LLP). This ensures partners won’t be responsible for the actions for other partners when it comes to liability.
Limited liability company (LLC)
An LLC is a more formal arrangement providing additional protection from personal liability. In other words, your personal assets won’t be at risk if your business files for bankruptcy or faces a lawsuit. At the same time, you don’t have to pay corporate taxes. Instead, members of an LLC are legally considered self-employed, and must pay tax, health, and social contributions accordingly. An LLC is best for medium- to high-risk businesses.
Corporations are more formal business arrangements, and there are many different types. A major advantage of establishing a corporation is that it forms a legal entity that’s completely separate from its owners and their personal assets. Corporations pay income tax on their profits, and they have several advantages when raising capital. However, in the case of C corps, you can end up paying taxes twice, in which case it may be better to set up an S corp.
Key Elements For Any Start Up Business
So once you’ve decided what type of small business you’re going to be launching, it’s time to start forming solid business foundations to support your company as you grow, generate money and build a team. Every business comprises several key elements. In bigger companies, these are represented by their respective departments. But, with smaller ventures, one person is usually responsible for multiple roles.
You’re in business to make money, so it stands to reason that the sales department is crucial for success. There is a famous saying “sales cures all ills”, without sales all other aspects of the business don’t really matter. In smaller businesses, sales teams are often also responsible for marketing and business growth. Salespeople are very much on the front line when it comes to your reputation, profitability, and customer retention. This includes forming a profitable and scalable pricing structure, making sure you have the software in place to support sales, understanding your target market and having the ability to nurture customers and help move them further down the sales funnel. As a small business, you’re going to need a reliable and easy to use CRM to help you to manage customer data, contact customers, analyze your sales pipelines and conversion rate, and be productive and efficient. Axiom Workspace is a fantastic CRM which has been designed specifically for entrepreneurs and start up businesses.
Although there’s some crossover between sales and marketing, marketing primarily deals with lead-generation. They find potential customers by creating leads for the sales team. However, they’re also responsible for CRM, since they often interact directly with potential and existing customers too. Marketing is largely about increasing visibility through programs like paid advertising, business blogging, search engine optimization, and social media marketing. In today’s competitive environment, marketing demands a scalable and flexible strategy.
Operations include a variety of formal business roles, such as accounting, legal, and finance. Bigger organizations, as well as those with more formal business structures, often have a wide range of legal and regulatory requirements they need to operate under. Some industries are subject to stringent regulations, and almost every business faces certain compliance rules to protect the privacy and security of their customers.
Setting up your technology systems
It’s often said that every business is now a technology company. There’s a lot of truth in that, since the technology you choose can make or break your business.
Email is still the preferred way to keep in touch in the business world. It’s essential for handling everything from sales to marketing. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll need a business email address at the very least. But, when it comes to using email at scale for sending out newsletters, you’ll need a suitable business email provider and email marketing software. Two major provider for email are office 365 by Microsoft and GSuite by google.
Accounting software helps you keep track of your finances, handle invoices, and send quotes and proposals for service-orientated businesses. It’s important to choose accounting software that suits your business structure and type, since it might not be easy to migrate your financial information to a new platform later on.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is much more than just a contact list. It provides a centralized location for storing all information on your customers. Using a solution like Axiom CRM helps small businesses automate many routine operations while also giving them access to the insights needed for smarter and more profitable decision-making.
Receive payments, pay for services and pay your team as a small business with an online invoicing software such as Freshbooks.com.
Time Tracking Solution Monitor performance, track the number of hours worked and discover where you can save money with a time tracking solution such as toggl.com
Setting up your technology systems to accommodate remote work gives you the flexibility to work with contractors, employees, and freelancers all over the world. Some examples include video conferencing platforms like Zoom, project-management software like Asana or Trello, and time-tracking apps like Harvest.
Professional Small Business Help
As a small business, it’s important to seek professional help when it comes to insurance, tax returns and your business accounts. Let an expert provide their professional help and advice and free up your time for creativity and business growth.
As a small business, or start up company, you need to consider whether you require public liability insurance and business liability cover. It’s always wise to protect your business from any unforeseen circumstances as you never know what the future may hold.
Hiring an accountant as a small business, can unlock business loans, business funding and business tax exemptions that you weren’t even aware of. You may think that an accountant is a business expense you simply can’t afford right now, but it’s worth doing your homework. There are some accountants that offer cheaper fees to start ups and small businesses.
Starting a small business takes a leap of faith and courage, but there are also lots of ways to mitigate risk. Most of it comes down to extensive research and planning and finding the right help with things like legal matters, accounting, and banking. But choosing the right software can also help enormously by significantly reducing the workload and streamlining many routine business operations.
Axiom Workspace helps you focus on what’s important by providing an easy way to manage customer information and drive smarter business decision-making. Start your free trial today to find out how it works.