Don’t let anyone tell you’re too young to start a business. If you have an idea, go for it. There are a few things you’ll need to get your entity off the ground, however, and you’ll want to make certain they’re in place to boost your chances of success. Failure is never an option, especially if you have to prove to others that you’re not only legit but on the path to Fortune 500 status.
1. Business Plan
The first thing you’ll need is a comprehensive business plan that details your idea, your goals, and how you’re going to achieve them. This isn’t a five page summary; this is a full report broken down to the smallest details. Included in your business plan should be your business structure, a detailed accounting of your product and/or service, a detailed accounting of your finances, and a marketing plan sure to attract a loyal customer base. You can’t take shortcuts with your business plan, because it’s crucial to…
2. Financial Backing
Financial backing. You need money to start your business, even if it’s online only. There are several options you can leverage to get the cash you need to open your doors. You can seek out angel or venture capital investors interested in helping you out. You can set up a crowdfunding campaign to help with your startup costs. You can look into the lending options offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, or you can apply for a government grant. Bottom line: You need money to make money.
One reason you need to ensure you have the financial backing required to open your doors – whether literal or figurative – is because you need to insure your interests from the get-go. Whether a home business or one that has its own location, protect your entity from asset to – well – you. Comprehensive business insurance coverage protects you against property damage and liability claims. Depending on what you do, it can also protect you against in-house errors and any resulting legal action.
You also need equipment to run your business. Even if you’re opening an online store to sell your crafts, you need a computer, a printer, packaging supplies, postage, etc. All of these things cost money, but before you think “Duh,” break down how much everything costs. Why? Because you need to include these equipment and operating costs in your business plan and make certain you have enough money to purchase and maintain them. You can’t run your business without the things you need.
Finally, you can’t run a business without customers so come up with a marketing plan, both online and off, that draws people to your idea and keeps them there. Today’s marketing includes establishing a brand that people want to be associated with, such as an animal-friendly and/or sustainable entity. You must engage an audience and interact with them to achieve optimal success, so don’t take shortcuts with your marketing plan.
These are five things your business startup cannot live without, but the most important thing is passion. If you don’t have a passion for what you want to do, you’ll never succeed. You need drive, so make certain you have plenty of it.