If you are an ambitious person who has a passion and drive that you think is worth pursuing in the form of a small business venture, there are a few essentials to lock down before you do anything else. Consider this article your “Small Business Checklist” as you go about your journey toward establishing a small business corp.
Checklist #1: Make Sure Your Idea is Concrete
Of course, if you’re reading this article, you likely already have an idea of what you want to do. The next step is making certain this idea is not within a market that is too saturated to be successful. You want to be sure your idea or product or service has a population that actually wants or needs it. Is it useful? Interesting? New? If you said no to any of these, you may need to keep brainstorming.
The second part of making certain your idea has bones is identifying a clear point of difference. Is there something your company will offer that makes it different from the rest? For example, let’s say you are thinking of starting your very own seltzer brand. With so many seltzers on the market, you are going to need to have a key point of difference that you can market. One that shows people why they should buy your seltzer instead of White Claw or Truly, for instance.
Checklist #2: Write Your Business Plan for Your Small Business Corp
A lot of different pieces to a successful plan need to come together. But one of the most important pieces is showing the true value your product, idea, or service will bring to the customers. In fact, the entire time you write your plan, your mantra should be along the lines of “The customer knows best” type of lingo. Investors want to see proof that what you’re offering is going to benefit customers. Because that’s the only way to find success and a profit.
The key to doing this is finding the truth about your customers’ lives and what matters to them most. This could be material values, emotional, financial, anything–it just depends on who your audience is. Then, you find the truth about your company. Find what the bones of your company are, your true mission. Then, find the common ground between both of those truths to reveal what you are really trying to sell. Showing this and hitting hard on those points that benefit the customer are the keys to a successful business plan.
While the above needs to be the overarching theme of your plan, you need to have the data to back it up. Investors don’t want to see excess, and they can spot it from a mile away. Instead, they want the cold hard facts. They want numbers. If you can’t provide real data and analytics or psychology in some way, shape, or form throughout your business plan, that may be a sign you need to go back to the drawing board.
Lastly, you need to be clear and concise. You need to show everything worth showing, but do not include so much information that investors are overwhelmed and too overloaded to even read your proposal. Short and sweet and straight to the point wins the race in this case.
Checklist #3: Figure Out the Logistics
Once you’ve shown your business plan and hopefully locked down some strong investors, you have to get down to the nitty-gritty details. These are things like, first and foremost, figuring out your business owners, operators, managers, and more. Establishing who owns what, who has credit over which ideas, etc. are the first things you must do in order to avoid internal turmoil and litigation down the road when it’s already too late.
Next, you can start thinking of the more fun, creative sides of the logistics. These include things like your company’s location, your company name, your logo, branding, and more. This part is important, but it is also something that thrives when there’s passion and creativity behind it.
Lastly, you need to figure out your company’s logistics when it comes to more practical things such as tax statements and accountants, insurance policies, payment plans for employees, getting the necessary licenses/permits, etc. This may be the most painstaking part of setting up your small business. It involves input from third-party companies and outsourcing to other experts in those areas.
Of course, this is an oversimplified guide to what it takes to start a small business corp. But these three general checklist points can hopefully serve as a strong guiding force of reason as you go about this complicated, yet incredibly exciting adventure of running a small business corporation.