There are a LOT of things to consider when you’re starting a business. The important thing to remember is that it’s not impossible. It CAN be done. These guides aren’t meant to overwhelm you, they’re designed to give you things to think about and make sure that you cover all your bases. Some questions will apply to you, and some won’t. Disclaimer: Consider reaching out to your local Small Business Administration office as well as a lawyer, an accountant, etc., to get specific information about what your business needs. And, you can always get a customized plan, one-on-one help and advice by choosing of the Start+Up packages.
Questions to Answer
The following are general questions that you’ll need to answer regardless of what type of business you’re considering. Then, we’ll get into specific questions for businesses that are product or service-based.
The following questions are categorized by whether your business will be selling products or services. If your business will consist of both products and services, be sure to check out both sets of questions.
If your business is product-based, answer these questions.
If your business is service-based, answer these questions. And, read this book on pricing for service-based businesses. It was written for virtual assistants, but it applies to anyone with a business that offers services. It shows you how to maximize your profits and covers all aspects of pricing, including how much to charge for your services. Check out the book below…
Quick Start Guide
Before you get too far into the process, there are some preliminary steps to take that could save you a lot of time (and headaches) later on. This is our Quick Start Guide. These steps apply to virtually any business, so it’s helpful to make a habit of following them whenever you’re starting a new venture.
Do a quick check to see if anyone else is using your name. Go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website to see if your name is available. If someone else is using it, you may need to reconsider.
Check to see if your name is available on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. It’s also a good idea to reserve your name on platforms that you don’t plan on using immediately, just in case of future use.
Check to see if your domain name is available. Use Bluehost’s quick domain name search below. Disclaimer: This link is an affiliate link. If you choose to purchase something via this link, Ctrl+Start will earn a commission. Please keep in mind that there is no additional cost to you.
Check your state’s government website for small businesses to see if there are any special requirements for the type of business you want to start (licenses, permits, insurance, copyrights, trademarks, etc.).
If you’re not using your home address, get a box at your local Post Office or UPS center, etc.
Start thinking of a logo. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a graphic designer. If you’re short on cash, ask an artistically inclined friend or check out fivver.
Set up Google Analytics on your website to track statistics on who visits your site.
Create a system to capture emails of people who visit your site. Mailchimp is recommended.
Don’t forget to backup your website. Create a reminder for yourself, or automate it using a program.
Create a Backup Email
If you have an email address using your own domain, create a Gmail account and then use it as a backup. Have all emails copied to the Gmail address.
Remember Your Passwords
ALWAYS make note of your passwords. To EVERYTHING. Keep a master list in a secure place.
Create an elevator pitch – it will help you define your business in a few short sentences. And, no matter when or where people ask you about it, you’ll be ready with an answer.
Franchise or Buy an Existing Business
If you haven’t already, consider purchasing an existing business, or a franchise. Make sure to assess all the details of the business (financials, operations, existing customers, etc.) to determine whether the business or franchise is right for you.