So you have a great idea, a product you want to start selling, or a service you want to start offering…now what? Jump in. Responsibly of course, but just jump in. Oftentimes we are our own worst critics. And let me tell you a little secret, if you’re waiting on the perfect timing, it will never happen. There’s no perfect timing. But here are some resources and tips to get you started on the right foot.
Have you heard of the US Small Business Administration? They are an independent agency of the federal government. Their goal is to work with the interests of small businesses and to help individuals start, build, and grow their businesses. Their website is full of information that can help you start and figure out what you need to start. Many of the resources you might need depend on the type of business you are starting. Start up will look different for a virtual assistant than someone opening a bakery. But first thing is first, creating a business plan. This plan can help you see in writing what your goals and mission is for your business and the steps you need to take to get there. Create one here.
You may choose to register your business with the government and how you may do so depends on the laws in your state. It’s something worth checking out and investigating yourself. Additionally, you may be wondering how to pay taxes, which again depend on the state you are in. All of this information can be found on your state’s website. Annie has a great series on her website that discusses starting a business and the big questions you might face….and how some might not be as scary as they might seen.
It’s hard to write a one-stop shop post full of answers of what to do and how to do them. As mentioned above, many things depend on the business you’re starting, the state you are in, and simply how you want to run your business. If this is your first time starting a business and you haven’t worked through this process before, it’s worth finding a mentor in your community that might be willing to help you through some of these steps. Try reaching out to professionals in the area and you might be surprised the amount of information they are willing to share.
Once you get your business off the ground and running here are some resources that can help you stay organized & motivated.
If you’re working with independent contractors or want to create some simple legal binding agreements with your clients, this website can help you create exactly what you may need: http://www.shakelaw.com/
Are you working with a team? A great way to stay in communication: https://slack.com/
This website is full of tools and websites that are useful for entrepreneurs and startups:
Lastly, have you ever heard of a professional life journal? This concept was new to me, but I can see the importance. The idea is to keep some type of journal (you can do it in a spreadsheet, your calendar, or simply on a piece of paper hung on the wall) where you track your accomplishments, your first clients, your first sales, etc. It’s a great way to keep track of where you started and where you are going. I’ve kept a track of my social media statistics and have loved seeing how they have grown.
Here’s one final nugget of wisdom: start small & frugally. You need less than you think to start. You don’t necessarily have to go into debt to start a business. Think of the resources you already have and what you can use already. Your time is also a precious resource, it’s a temptation for most people to just jump in and want to be perfect and a success off the bat. My tip is to focus on one thing on a time. Focus on making a killer website, then building up your twitter followers, then creating a email list. Trying to do it all at once can lead to burnout and is ultimately not sustainable in the long run.
Good luck & we cant wait to see where your business adventures lead!