May 4, 2022
If you’re new to starting a business and already have an idea, but have no clue where to start, this blog post is for you. So if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I want to start a business but have no ideas or where to start”, I’m going to tell you today how to get started and where to begin when you want to start a business.
Be sure to go through this entire blog STEP-BY-STEP and do not skip steps. This guide is meant to tell you everything to do in a specific order. Read through all of these steps once before taking any action with your business. That way you’ll know exactly what to do to start your business without common mistakes.
This is simple, but it really helps you get clarity when starting your business. Write down your idea! Okay, so you’re starting with a great business idea, but is the idea out of your head yet? Did you put your business idea to paper?
Be sure that you put your ideas on paper and I promise you you’re going to be so glad you did. You’re going to come up with so many more ideas! Anything that you don’t know, write it down as a question that needs an answer later.
Let’s say you’re not sure what you’re going to do about packaging your products. Instead of letting that keep you stuck, just write it down as a question that doesn’t have to be answered right now.
It’s okay, that’s where you start just start writing down the vision and mission of what you want to do. Start a business with this in mind, and it’ll make your journey ahead a tad easier.
You never want to be an uneducated entrepreneur. The goal is to be a forever learner.
I am literally a forever learner. When I was in corporate America, I was taking all the classes that I could that were about social media. That has been what helped me as I continue to build my business. Even now, I’m always taking classes, and I’m always learning. I’m always enrolled in someone’s program so that I can learn how to get to the next level.
Before you start a business, make sure that you’re researching the industry that your small business is in. I want to know who my competitors are, and I want to know what products are already out there. My goal is to know what they’re doing well and what they’re not doing well.
A lot of times the best way that you can build an amazing small business is to find out what other companies are doing and do it even better. Or you can find a different angle to approach the same business idea it from.
You also want to do research on trends and on the types of people that you want to serve with your company. You’ve got to do research to narrow down your target audience and determine the most profitable audience.
One of the most important things you can do when starting a business is to figure out who your audience is. Okay, so once you know you want to start a business on your own, now you’ve got to figure out who exactly you want to help. That audience is your target audience.
What is a target audience? It’s commonly referred to as a target market or niche, which is a specific subset of people that your business is created for.
Your small business CANNOT help everybody. It’s simply not possible. The more specific you are about who you want to help, the better your products or services will be for them.
To figure out who your audience truly is, you must start getting deeper and doing more research on that particular audience.
A niche is often determined by how you want to help your target market. The niche specifically focuses on how you’ll help your audience a little differently than how other people help them.
The next major step in starting a business is to determine how you are going to make money. You’d need to determine if you’d create products or services.
That’s where and that’s where you want to do your research, by answering these key questions:
You don’t have to have answers upfront, but it’s helpful to start thinking about it to make some progress. That’s the thing about entrepreneurship… a lot of people think that you need to have the answers upfront, and then they don’t start. Here’s my opinion: figure these things out in the process, so don’t let not knowing what to do or where to start to hinder you from making progress.
Now that you know the business idea that you’re going to start with, it’s time to create your product or service.
For services, you want to create a list of services that you’ll offer and put a pricepoint to it. For products, you’ll want to manufacture or buy inventory for you to sell.
Next, you have to find a name for your business. Don’t get too caught up in trying to find a name while you’re working on the idea for your business. Your business name can change while you’re in the ideation phase of your business before you officially launch.
When it comes to naming your company, you can name it (almost) anything you want. (More on the restrictions in step 8.) Some people name their business after their name or their family name. Others name their business something that’s catchy.
My advice to you is to name it something that is memorable and that is easy to spell. But you also want to make sure nobody else has that name.
After determining the name to start with for your small business, it’s time to check if that name is available on social media, for your website, and via trademark.
When choosing social media handles, you want to find a handle that is consistent across all platforms. For example, you’d want your handle to be @yourcompany on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. You also want to make sure that your website domain is available (i.e. yourcompany.com, yourcompany.co, yourcompany.io, etc.).
This helps you have consistency across the board with your brand.
NameCheckr is a great tool to determine if your business domain and social media handles are available. You can also check GoDaddy and NameCheap to see if your company domain name is available, but don’t buy the domain quite yet. Don’t skip step 8 in the naming process for your business.
The next thing that you want to make sure that you do is that you want to make sure that it’s not trademarked by anybody else. A trademark legally protects your business name from being used by anyone else that may be confusingly similar.
You can do a trademark search and do a word search for that particular name. I’m no trademark specialist or attorney, but what I do know is that when you create a trademark for something, a trademark can exist in multiple areas. So for example Mac computers and Mac cosmetics, it’s the same name, but different classes.
So essentially, you’re just checking to make sure there’s nobody who has your same (or similar name) in the same (or similar) category or class.
Once you know that nobody has your trademark, you can file your trademark on your own or hire a professional to file it for you. If you do not have the budget to hire a trademark attorney, many local colleges and universities have programs that help you file a trademark through their law school students.
I highly recommend that you just get a lawyer to do your trademark to make sure that it’s done the right way. That you won’t have issues down the line.
You don’t have to go through the process of it getting your small business trademarked immediately. However, I recommend that when you get ready to launch your business & promote it to the public that your trademark should be filed.
Now that you know that nobody has your trademark or social media handles, it’s time to purchase your domain. Again, your website domain can be purchased from GoDaddy, NameCheap, Wix.com, Google, or several other web domain services.
It’s time to set up a professional email address for your business. For example, a professional email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I cannot tell you how many times I reach out to businesses and their business email address is email@example.com. To be more professional, spend the $5 a month for you to have a professional email using Google Workspace, GoDaddy, or a similar platform.
You can also set up general email addresses for your company like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.
Now it’s time to actually claim your social media handles and set up business accounts. You can use your new professional email address to set up your social media handles. Even if you’re not planning to market your company on all of the platforms, still sign up for an account. This is a way of making sure that you have the handle if you ever decide to market on that platform.
Now it’s time to start building an email list for your company. You set up a landing page, you can get a landing page from several email marketing platforms. Here’s a list of some of the top email marketing services:
You can literally just set up a page to get people to start signing up for your stuff. But if you want to be a little bit more advanced and have a little cuter website, feel going on, you can set up a website on your domain and just leave up a landing page that says, “Hey, we’re coming soon”. You can do a coming soon page that answers what it is and who your small business is for.
Your goal with your email list landing page is to them a reason to sign up. You can build your email list in so many different ways.
I cannot emphasize the importance of having high-quality photos & videos enough! You never want to go and work with a web designer without quality photos and videos. Your photos and videos are the glue that brings your website together.
Make sure that you work with a quality photographer and videographer to get headshots of you, but also pictures of your products.
Your business needs distinctive visual branding. Choose your brand colors, get a logo designed (you can also trademark this), and have a style guide. This will ensure that your brand has visual consistency across the board. That way, you’ll have the same colors and hues used across the board.
You can use services to get this done for you, but I highly recommend hiring a professional unless you’re really great at putting visuals together on your own.
Now it’s time to build your website. Your website should look professional so your company can be taken seriously online. I highly recommend that you work with a professional web designer to get your website up.
If you’re not able to hire a professional web designer, I recommend using Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress with Showit. If you have products, the main platform I recommend is Shopify. Each of these website platforms will help you get a quality website up and running quickly.
One of the best decisions I could have ever made when building my business from the ground up is to have really great website and I hired someone else to make that happen for me.
Your business needs a professional address. Even if you’re starting your business from home, you want to set up an address that IS NOT your home. Your business’ information becomes public information, so you do not want your home address to be available to the public.
Having a professional business address will also help you later when you’re building and applying for business credit.
Of course, if you have a brick-and-mortar business in-person, you can use your company’s official address. You don’t need to have a virtual address (this is only for an online or home-based business).
Now you need to make sure you are legally formalized and can legally conduct business. First, determine how you’re going to establish your business as a legal entity. This can be established through your local Secretary of State. Your business can be structured as one of the following:
You can learn more about the different business structure types via the IRS Website.
You should do research on those different types of businesses that you should establish your business. I am not positioned to give you legal advice, so I recommend working with someone whose expertise is in that area to help you determine the right entity for your business.
If you plan to sell retail products, you must get a business license through your secretary of state. Depending on your industry, you may need special permits to conduct business. For example, if you plan to serve alcohol, you will need an alcohol permit.
You will also need to get a Tax ID or EIN (Employee Identification Number) to conduct business. Your EIN is the equivalent to your Social Security Number for your business. Any time you are conducting business, you should use your EIN and NOT YOUR Social Security Number to protect yourself.
You typically need this to start a business bank account. This will also come in handy for collecting payments through platforms like Stripe, PayPal, Square, and others as a business.
It’s time to get to the money! It’s extremely important for you to set up a business bank account to keep your personal finances separate from your business finances. This is helpful, especially when it comes to taxes and the IRS. I personally think Bank of America and Chase Bank are great banks to have a business banking account with.
You should also set up payment accounts to receive money using PayPal, Stripe, and Square. These are the most common payment platforms for business.
I highly recommend using a bookkeeping service like Quickbooks or Wave when you’re first getting started. This will connect your business bank accounts and allow you to see how your money is moving into and out of your accounts.
As your business starts making more money, you can hire a bookkeeper who can be an accountant to help you keep track of your income and expenses. Do your best to manage this on your own before you hire someone to do it for you.
Now it’s time to start marketing your small business online. You’ve got to figure out how you’re going to get your target audience to pay attention. That’s where online social media platforms like Instagram come into play. I love Instagram for so many reasons, but when I only had like 1500 followers on Instagram I still was making money online.
It’s important to get clear on many of the fundamental things so that you can market effectively. The better you understand your clients, your audience, and the industry, the better you’ll be able to create products that people will want to buy. That way when you’re marketing to them, you can create messaging that makes sense, and that draws them in.
So those are the things that you need to do to get started in in in your business. If you have an idea first, these are the things that you need to do to start moving forward and to make progress. And if you have any other questions or things that you want me to talk more about make sure you leave them in the comments because I love to create content that is helpful for you!