If you’re looking to start your own business, it can be an exciting and daunting experience. But with careful planning and execution, you can turn your dream into a reality. In this guide on ‘how to start a business in 10 steps’ for the year 2023, the steps you need to follow to launch your business successfully are clearly outlined.
From identifying your niche and creating a business plan to securing funding and marketing your brand, this startup checklist will cover everything you need to know to start your own business.
Why You Should Start a Business in 2023
If you’re considering starting a business, 2023 could be the perfect time to take the leap. With the world gradually recovering from the pandemic, there are plenty of opportunities (and challenges) for small businesses to thrive. This guide will explore why starting a business in 2023 is a great idea, and what advantages it can bring you.
Here are some reasons why you should start a business in 2023:
So, if you’re thinking about starting a business, 2023 could be the year to do it!
The Mindset of Starting a New Business
Starting a new business can be both exciting and intimidating, especially for those who have never been a business owner before. It requires a unique mindset that can help you navigate the challenges and uncertainties that come with owning your own business. So, what kind of mindset does it take to venture on your own?
Here are some key mindsets to keep in mind when starting a new business:
By adopting these mindsets, you can approach starting your own business with confidence and set yourself up for success. You also have to ask yourself some serious questions and answer them honestly to see your venture through.
Why do you want to start a business?
You are the only one who can answer this, but if you have a clear answer and you want to go for it, by all means, do. There are many benefits to owning your business if you are willing to put in the hard work.
The rest of the questions are just as important because together they will help you make a more informed decision in learning more about how to start a business. This is not in any particular order.
Are you ready to be a business owner?
Much goes into running a business, especially during the initial startup phase. Find out what it entails and see if you are willing to commit to it. If it seems daunting, don’t get discouraged. After all, there are other people doing it.
What are your expertise and skillsets?
Many small business owners start with a particular skill or expertise. If this is your case, find out your proficiencies across the board and determine how you can improve or complement them. It can be as simple as hiring another individual or learning about them.
Do you have passion for your business idea?
Listen to successful entrepreneurs and the one thing they tell you is to follow your passion. Passion for your business will carry you beyond the long hours, slow season, and hiccups along the way.
If you have answered these questions to your satisfaction, then it is time to get on your way!
How to Start a Business in 2023
Starting a business is a great opportunity to learn and of course, make money. However, if you want to know how to start a business the right way, you will have to follow some steps.
Following these steps will give you a strong foundation. And with this foundation in place, you can make changes as needed so you can adapt to the market conditions and help your enterprise stay in business for the long run.
1. Come Up with Your Big Business Idea
Before starting a business, it’s important to have a strong business idea. A successful business idea should be unique, innovative, and provide value to potential customers.
However, coming up with a business idea can be challenging, especially with so many businesses already in existence. Take a look at the types of businesses you could start and see if they inspire you to come up with one of your own. If you come up with something truly unique, consider patenting an idea to protect your business.
Types of Businesses You Could Start
Starting a business is a thrilling way to turn your entrepreneurial ambitions into reality. From online ventures to brick-and-mortar stores, there are many types of businesses to explore. Here are 20 of the main types of businesses you could start:
This is but a small sample of what is available out there, and remember you can always come up with a new business no one has thought of too.
Why This Business?
Why start a particular business? There is a multitude of reasons, and it is different for everyone. However, the business you open will most likely allow you to:
Have You Considered Starting a Franchise?
Entrepreneurs should consider starting a franchise because it offers a unique opportunity to leverage an established brand and business model while still being able to operate independently. Franchisees benefit from the experience and expertise of the franchisor, which can help reduce the risks associated with starting a new business.
Additionally, franchisors provide ongoing training and support, as well as access to marketing and advertising resources. Franchises also often have better access to financing and capital, as lenders are more likely to invest in a proven business model. Overall, starting a franchise can be an ideal choice for entrepreneurs who want to own their own businesses but prefer a more structured approach. Read this franchise guide for more on this option.
Your Business Concept
A business concept is a general idea that describes the product or service that a business will offer, the target market for that product or service, and how the business will make money. For new entrepreneurs, a good business concept should be:
Simple and clear – A good business concept should be easy to understand and explain to others.
Unique – A good business concept should be different from what is already available in the market.
Scalable – A good business concept should have the potential to grow and expand over time.
Profitable – A good business concept should be able to generate enough revenue to cover costs and make a profit.
Sustainable – A good business concept should be able to operate over the long term without running out of resources.
Moreover, the concept should focus on delivering value, whether through exceptional products, superior customer service, or unique experiences. In the end, the concept should be fueled by your passion and skillset, ensuring dedication and resilience in the face of challenges.
Your Business Name
Check the name for availability in the Secretary of State database for your state. Make sure to also check the Federal trademark site. Do a simple Google search to see whether your proposed business name is in use. And search for the associated domain name. If the domain name is taken, it’s going to be a lot harder to brand and promote your business.
It’s a good idea to also check for and reserve key social media profiles at this point. Even if you are not ready to start a social media push, at least you have the name available.
Think of any major brand name and you know what they do. That is why they relentlessly protect their name. And when you come up with the name of your business, you should do the same.
Choose the Name
There are many different factors that go into picking a great business name. From the kind of business you do to something completely off the beaten path, the choice is yours. However, you should take some things into consideration.
Try to distinguish yourself from your competition by being distinctive and memorable. If the name can suggest the products and services you provide, it is a plus.
The next thing is to avoid making it too hard to spell. This is especially important today because you don’t want customers getting confused when they try to find your name online.
Last but not least, test the name around and see how people respond to it. From the way it is spelled to how it sounds, all these factors play a big role in how customers respond to a brand.
Check for Availability
With the name in hand, you can start a preliminary search on Google, the Secretary of State database for your state, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) site. A no-conflict, free trademark search will let you see if business names are available in all 50 states. You can also look into how to buy a business name if your choice is taken but not currently in use.
If you don’t find the name, you can go to your local county clerk’s office and file a “Doing Business As” (DBA) or a “Fictitious Business Name” (FBN). The DBA and FBN protect against name theft and it lets people know who actually owns the business.
Depending on the county regulations, you might have to publish the DBA and FBN announcements in the local classified section of the newspaper.
If you are using your own legal name (John Doe) for your business, you don’t have to register a business name.
In addition to the actual business name, make sure to check for the domain name. If it is available, buy it right away. This includes other web address extensions in addition to “.com” such as “.co,” “.net,” “.biz,” “.info” and others.
This also goes for any social media handles. Even if you are not ready to start a social media push, at least have the name available.
2. How to Write a Solid Business Plan
Incorporate ‘business model’ and ‘startup costs’ into your plan to ensure a comprehensive understanding of your venture. Here’s a list of elements to include in your business plan:
How to Research Your Competitors
Understanding your competition is key to the success of your business. A thorough examination of your rivals will reveal the competitive landscape and help you create a solid market analysis. Learn from their strengths and weaknesses, and pinpoint your potential customers to outshine local businesses. Here’s how to conduct market research and target the right audience.
Primary Research: Conducting primary research involves gathering first-hand information directly from competitors, potential customers, and local businesses. Visit their establishments, interact with their customers, and attend industry events to gain valuable insights. Collect data by surveying your target audience and analyzing their preferences and pain points. Primary research helps to validate assumptions and uncover new opportunities in the market.
Secondary Research: Secondary research involves analyzing existing information from external sources, such as market reports, industry publications, and competitor websites. Study their marketing materials, customer reviews, and social media presence to gauge their brand image and customer satisfaction. This research helps you understand the current market trends, assess competitor positioning, and identify areas for improvement.
SWOT Analysis: A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis allows you to evaluate the competitive landscape systematically. Learning How to perform a personal SWOT analysis can help you identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses by examining their products, services, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer service. Explore market opportunities and potential threats, such as emerging trends, shifts in consumer behavior, or new regulations. A comprehensive SWOT analysis will provide a clear understanding of your competitive advantages and areas for growth. Check out SWOT analysis examples online to see how to create your own.
3. How to Sort Out Your Business Finances
Organizing and managing your business finances is crucial for the success and growth of your venture. By keeping a close eye on your business costs, you can identify areas to optimize, reduce expenses, and make informed decisions for the future.
Here are some practical steps to help you sort out your business finances, ensuring you maintain a healthy cash flow and stay on top of your business costs.
Starting a Business Bank Account
Opening a separate bank account for your business is essential to keep your personal finances separate from your business transactions. This separation simplifies bookkeeping, tax preparation, and provides a clear financial overview of your business operations.
To start a business bank account, research various banks and their offerings, choose one that best fits your needs, gather the required documents (such as business registration and tax identification), and visit the bank to open the account. Keeping personal and business bank account separate ensures better organization and financial management.
Business Credit Cards
Acquiring a business credit card can help streamline expenses, provide additional financing, and offer valuable rewards. It allows you to separate personal and business expenses, making bookkeeping and tax preparation easier.
Moreover, some cards offer cash back, travel rewards, or other benefits tailored for businesses. Research different credit card companies and their offerings, considering factors such as interest rates, fees, and reward programs. Choose one that aligns with your business needs and spending habits to maximize benefits.
Investing in accounting software is a smart move for any business owner, as it simplifies financial management, bookkeeping, and tax preparation. The best accounting software for small business users automates processes, reducing the chances of human error and saving time.
Some popular accounting software options include QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks, each offering various features to cater to different business needs. Evaluate your requirements and choose software that provides the necessary tools to manage your finances effectively, ensuring the long-term financial health of your business.
4. How to Fund a New Business
Starting a new business often requires a substantial amount of capital. Entrepreneurs need to explore various funding options to secure the necessary resources for their venture.
Methods to finance a new business include bootstrapping, venture capital investments, crowdfunding, business lines of credit, and business loans and grants. Understanding these options will enable you to choose the most suitable approach to fund your business.
Bootstrapping is the process of self-funding your business using personal savings, assets, or reinvesting profits. This approach allows you to maintain complete control over your business while avoiding debt or diluting ownership. This is an especially popular option for low-cost business ideas.
Bootstrapping can be a slow process but provides a solid foundation for business growth. Entrepreneurs choosing this method must be prepared to manage their finances carefully and make sacrifices to invest in their venture.
Venture Capital Investments
Venture capital (VC) investments involve obtaining funds from investors in exchange for equity in your business. VC firms typically target high-growth, innovative companies with the potential for substantial returns.
This funding option can provide a significant financial boost, but entrepreneurs should be prepared to share decision-making power and potentially relinquish some control over their businesses. Networking and creating a compelling pitch are essential to attract venture capital investments.
Crowdfunding involves raising funds from a large number of people, typically through online platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
This funding method allows entrepreneurs to showcase their business idea or product to potential backers, who contribute money in exchange for rewards or equity. Crowdfunding can not only provide capital but also help validate your idea and generate interest from potential customers. Check out our post on What is Crowdfunding? for more on this option.
Business Line of Credit
A business line of credit is a flexible financing option that allows businesses to access funds up to a predetermined limit. Entrepreneurs can borrow and repay funds as needed, only paying interest on the amount utilized.
This funding method can help manage cash flow fluctuations and cover short-term expenses, making it an ideal solution for businesses with variable financial needs.
Business Loans and Business Grants
Obtaining a small business loan or grant can provide the necessary capital to fund your venture. Business loans, available through banks or alternative lenders, require repayment with interest over a specified period.
Business grants, on the other hand, are non-repayable funds typically offered by governments or organizations. Research available options, prepare a strong business plan, and demonstrate financial responsibility to increase your chances of securing a loan or grant for your business.
Determining Your Break-Even Point
Understanding your break-even point is crucial for any business, as it indicates the level of sales necessary to cover your costs without generating a profit or loss. This financial metric can help you set realistic sales targets, assess the viability of your business model, and evaluate the impact of changes in pricing or costs.
To calculate your break-even point, divide your fixed costs by the contribution margin (selling price per unit minus variable cost per unit). Knowing this figure will assist in making informed financial and operational decisions for your business.
5. How to Choose a Business Structure
What is the right business structure for you? The structure you choose will have a great bearing on taxes, financing, compensation, and insurance. Not to mention the risk and liabilities of your personal assets. Therefore, choosing the right structure is critically important before you start a business.
Another point to remember when choosing your structure is the variations from state to state. Make sure to find out how the common business structures are applied in your state to protect yourself from legal and tax liabilities.
Based on your startup business, you need to find out:
This is the simplest business structure. The profits and debts of a sole proprietorship company are the responsibility of one person. As such, the owner is personally liable for any debts.
This means creditors can come after your personal property and savings and you are personally liable for any lawsuits brought against the business.
A sole proprietorship is easy to set up, low cost and has an easy exit. When it comes to taxes, all you need to do is to keep track of all the business’ income and expenses. At tax time, just report it on Schedule C with your personal tax return.
Doing Business As (DBA)
“Doing Business As” (DBA) or a “Fictitious Business Name” (FBN) registration is not technically a legal structure. It allows you to conduct business under a name other than your own.
The DBA or FBN is different from your name as the business owner, or your business’s legal, registered name. A DBA for FBN is a public record showing the people behind a business.
Although a DBA is more common among sole proprietors, LLCs, corporations, and partnerships can all file to get a DBA.
States have different DBA requirements, so make sure you comply.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC is a cross structure combining the best features of partnerships and S Corps. It provides owners, called members, with the liability protection of corporations while allowing earnings and losses to pass through to the owners as income on their personal tax returns.
Single or multiple members can be part of an LLC and the profits and losses don’t have to be divided among members equally. A single-member LLC can be taxed as a corporation or an individual using the Schedule C form. A multi-member LLC on the other hand is taxed as a partnership with the K-1 form.
A corporation is an entity that is separate from its owners with its own legal rights. A corporation can sue, be sued, own and sell property, and sell the rights of ownership in the form of stocks. It is independent of its owners.
There are several types of corporations:
A partnership is an unincorporated business owned by multiple people or other businesses. The profits in partnerships are divided among owners and it is reported on their tax returns.
Some of the different types of partnerships are general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and limited liability limited partnerships (LLLPs).
If your business goes beyond a sole proprietorship, make sure you are fully aware of your liabilities. Find qualified experts to guide you while you are on your way to starting a perfect business.
6. How to Register a New Business
Registering a new business involves several important steps, including obtaining a business license, registering with the federal and state government, getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN), obtaining the necessary insurance, paying taxes, and acquiring professional licenses.
Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. It’s needed for various reasons, such as filing taxes, hiring employees, opening a business bank account, and applying for business licenses or permits.
Obtaining an EIN is a crucial step in setting up your business, as it helps to establish your business as a separate legal entity and maintain financial separation between your personal and business finances.
What Business Insurance Do I Need?
Insurance is a vital aspect of protecting your business from potential risks and liabilities. There are several types of business insurance to consider, depending on your industry, location, and specific needs:
As a business owner, it’s essential to understand and fulfill your tax obligations. This includes filing taxes, paying self-employment tax, and staying informed about any changes in tax laws or regulations.
Some businesses may require professional licenses or permits to operate legally. Here are a few common examples:
Registering a new business involves several critical steps, including obtaining a business license, registering with federal and state governments, getting an EIN, obtaining necessary insurance, paying taxes, and acquiring any required professional licenses.
By thoroughly researching and following these steps, you can successfully establish and protect your new business.
7. Sourcing Products
Sourcing products is an important aspect of running a successful business because it can directly impact your profit margins, product quality, and customer satisfaction. Knowing where and how to source products is key for businesses of all sizes and industries.
The best places to source products will vary depending on your industry, target market, and business model. Thoroughly research your options and consider factors such as product quality, cost, shipping times, and supplier reliability when making your sourcing decisions.
By carefully selecting your product sources, you can build a strong foundation for your business and offer products that appeal to your customers.
8. Location Location Location
A business location can now be established in the digital or physical world. And while you don’t have to have a physical location if you start out with a digital presence, having a digital presence is extremely important if you start a business with a brick-and-mortar (in-person) location.
When it comes to a physical location, there is a lot riding on your decision. This is because the location will give your business the best chance to succeed when you start out.
Take your time and research the location thoroughly. This includes visiting the site on different days and times to check out foot and vehicle traffic, parking, lighting, delivery access, handicap access, neighboring businesses, and other requirements your business might need.
The Brick and Mortar Location
It all starts by deciding whether you want to lease or buy your commercial property. There are tax implications for the decision you make, so consult your legal and financial advisors to make the best decision.
If you plan on leasing, go through the agreement thoroughly and make sure you understand it fully before you sign the contract. There are many clauses in lease agreements. If you don’t have the expertise, seek legal advice before you sign. You can avoid expensive mistakes that can cost you and your business.
Choose the Right Space
The location you choose should address some, most, or even all of the needs of your business.
The infrastructure of a space is just as important for your business as the location. The communication, electricity, air conditioning, plumbing, parking, and how modular the space is will determine the day-to-day operation of your business.
If your business consumes a lot of power, find out from the landlord about the loads the circuits can handle. A business with sensitive equipment (servers) and perishable items (medication and food) will need generators in the event of a power outage.
Ask how many hours of power/air conditioning are included in the lease in the event of a power outage. If you need more hours, negotiate for more time.
The zoning laws of the city you plan to open your business in will determine if you can open in a particular location.
Is it legally acceptable to do what you plan on doing? If the zoning board doesn’t give you permission, you will have to find another location.
There are many regulations, so make sure to know what you must abide by. As an example, not having enough parking space could be enough to deny you a permit by the city planning and zoning board.
Once you have your space and it is approved for your business, it is time to assemble the necessary furniture, equipment, lighting, signage, and more. You can either lease, lease to buy, or outright buy the equipment.
By the way, they don’t have to be new either. There are many used options available in the marketplace.
Consider a Virtual Location
While it is much easier to establish a virtual location, there are many more options when it comes to choosing platforms.
After you create your website and social media channels, you can look into other outposts for your online presence.
You can operate from your website alone or a marketplace such as Amazon, Etsy, Upwork, Fiverr, or many others. Each company has its own rules so find out what they are and read the fine print before you agree to the terms.
9. How to Find Employees for a New Business
Hiring the right employees is crucial for the success of any new business. Building a strong team can significantly impact your company’s growth, productivity, and overall work culture. In this guide, we will discuss how to find new staff, manage payroll, and provide health insurance and benefits.
Finding New Staff
Health Insurance and Benefits
By effectively finding and hiring new staff, managing payroll, and providing health insurance and benefits, you can build a strong team that contributes to the success and growth of your new business.
Invest time and resources in attracting the right talent, establishing efficient payroll systems, and offering competitive benefits packages. This will not only help you build a positive work culture but also create a loyal and productive workforce that can drive your business forward. Remember to stay up-to-date with industry trends, legal requirements, and best practices to continue attracting top talent and maintaining a satisfied team.
10. Marketing and Expanding Your Business
Marketing and expanding your business are important aspects of driving growth and staying competitive. Effective marketing strategies help build brand recognition, engage customers, and ultimately drive sales.
Determining how to grow a small business, whether by targeting new customer segments, exploring international markets, or diversifying your product offerings, allows you to tap into new revenue streams and reduce risk.
Both marketing and expansion efforts require ongoing analysis, adaptation, and innovation to ensure long-term success in an ever-evolving marketplace.
How to Develop a Brand Identity
Developing a strong brand identity is essential for differentiating your business from competitors, building customer trust, and creating a memorable experience. Here are some key steps to develop your brand identity:
Creating a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines your business’s marketing goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. It serves as a roadmap to help you achieve your marketing goals and measure your progress.
Here’s a list of what should be included in a marketing plan:
By developing a strong brand identity and creating a comprehensive marketing plan, you can effectively market and expand your business. Keep in mind that marketing is an ongoing process, and it is essential to stay updated with market trends and adapt your strategies as needed.
Consistently engage with your target audience through various marketing channels and ensure that your brand’s messaging and visual elements remain cohesive across all touchpoints. This will help you build brand recognition, foster customer loyalty, and ultimately drive business growth.
Additionally, monitor your marketing performance regularly by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs). This will allow you to identify which strategies and tactics are working, and which ones may need to be refined or replaced. Continuously optimize your marketing efforts based on data and insights to ensure that your business remains competitive in the market.
As your business grows, consider exploring new marketing channels, targeting new customer segments, and expanding your product or service offerings. Stay innovative and proactive in your marketing approach to stay ahead of the competition and continue driving your business forward.
How to Create a Business Website
A well-designed and user-friendly business website is a necessary part of establishing an online presence, attracting customers, and promoting your products or services in today’s digital ecosystem.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website and content to improve its visibility in search engine results. Implementing effective SEO strategies can increase organic traffic, enhance brand visibility, and ultimately drive more conversions. There are plenty of SEO courses that can help you create a full strategy, but here are some basic concepts.
Selling internationally exposes your business to new markets, increasing your customer base and revenue potential. Embracing global expansion can lead to business growth, risk diversification, and a competitive edge.
Navigating different cultures, preferences, and regulations also fosters innovation and adaptability. However, successful international selling requires thorough research, tailored marketing strategies, and efficient logistics management.
By effectively addressing these challenges, businesses can capitalize on the opportunities presented by global markets and achieve long-term success.
By carefully planning and executing your international expansion strategy, you can tap into new markets, increase your customer base, and drive business growth. Remember to continually monitor your international sales performance and make data-driven adjustments to your strategies as needed to ensure long-term success.
What Tools Do You Need to Start a Business in 2023?
Starting a business in 2023 requires a combination of planning, research, and the right tools to help you streamline your operations and increase efficiency. Here is an expanded list of business tools that can support the many different aspects of your new business:
These are just a few of the many tools available to support your new business in 2023. By investing in the right tools and technologies, you can streamline your operations, save time and resources, and set your business up for success. And always be on the lookout for new technologies to improve your operations.
Tips for Starting a Successful Business in 2023Although success is not guaranteed when you start your venture, there are some tips you can follow to give yourself a better chance. Here are some of those tips:
Start a Business with These Helpful Resources
One way to ensure the success of your business is to take advantage of all the resources that are available to you. Public and private organizations as well as nonprofits offer everything from financial help to education, mentorship, and much more. Here are some of the many resources that are available to you as a budding entrepreneur.
How can I start my own business with no money?
You can start a small business without any money, but you must bring other equity into the equation. This means you have to bring the skill sets you already have along with other resources to start your business without any money. And if you already happen to have a computer and an internet connection, your options are even broader.
In the physical world, you can start a dog walking or pet sitting business without any money. And in the digital world, starting a blog or providing fact-checking and research are as free as they come.
Can I start a business with $1,000?
The answer is yes, you can start a business with $1,000.
So, what kind of business can you start?
If you want a digital business, you can start a virtual assistant business, design websites, create a blog or vlog, do eCommerce, provide online courses, and more.
In the physical world, you can start events planning, cleaning, errands, or personal chef businesses to name some of your options.
What business is best for beginners?
Factors such as your skills, interests, budget, and market demand will greatly dictate what the best business for beginners is.
Some low-cost businesses that require minimal investment and have relatively low risk include home-based business ideas and online businesses such as e-commerce stores, dropshipping, affiliate marketing, and digital product creation.
Service-based businesses such as pet care, lawn care, and cleaning services are also popular choices for beginners. Other options include food trucks, home-based daycare, and tutoring services.
In the end, it is always best to start a business you will enjoy doing in the long run.
Do you need a business credit card?
While having a business credit card can be helpful for managing expenses and building credit for your business, you will not always need one to start a business. In fact, many small business owners use their personal credit cards to cover expenses when starting out.
However, it’s important to keep business and personal expenses separate, as this can make accounting and tax filing easier.
If you decide to get a business credit card, make sure to shop around for the best rates and rewards and use it responsibly to build your business credit history.
When should you start a business?
Deciding when to start a business can be a complex decision that depends on various factors such as personal circumstances, market demand, financial resources, and industry trends.
In most cases, it’s best to start a business when you have a strong business idea that meets a need in the market and has the potential for long-term success. It’s also important to have the necessary skills, resources, and support to launch and grow your business.
Additionally, you need to be prepared to take calculated risks, face challenges, and be willing to adapt to changing circumstances. The right time to start a business is when you are ready, confident in your idea, and have the resources to make it happen.
How can I start a business in my state?
Starting a business in your state requires careful planning and compliance with state and local laws and regulations. First, you’ll need to decide on your business structure and register your business with the appropriate state agency.
You may also need to obtain licenses and permits, depending on the type of business you’re starting. It’s important to research state and local tax requirements and register for any necessary taxes. Additionally, you’ll need to secure financing and set up a bookkeeping and accounting system.
Developing a strong online presence is also important in today’s digital landscape. By following these steps and working with a professional advisor, you can successfully launch and grow your business in your state.
Do you need a business degree to start a business?
While a business degree can be helpful in starting and growing a business, it is not a requirement to become a successful entrepreneur. Many successful business owners do not have a formal education in business but instead rely on practical experience, industry knowledge, and a willingness to learn and adapt.
However, it’s important to have a basic understanding of business concepts such as accounting, marketing, and finance. This can be achieved through self-education, attending workshops or seminars, or working with a mentor or advisor.
While a business degree can provide a solid foundation, it is not essential to starting and running a successful business.
What are the most profitable types of business?
The most profitable types of businesses vary depending on the industry, market demand, and other factors. Some of the most consistently profitable industries include technology, healthcare, finance, and real estate.
Within these industries, businesses that offer unique, high-demand products or services can be particularly profitable. For example, in the technology industry, businesses that develop innovative software, hardware, or AI solutions can be highly profitable. Similarly, in the healthcare industry, businesses that offer specialized medical services or devices can be very profitable.
The most profitable types of businesses are those that meet a demand in the market, offer something unique, and are well-managed for profitability.
Do you need a special license or permit to start a small business?
The licenses and permits required to start a small business vary depending on the type of business and the location. Some businesses may require specific licenses and permits from state and local agencies, such as a food service permit or professional license.
Businesses that handle hazardous materials or operate in regulated industries may require additional permits. It’s important to research the requirements in your specific industry and location and obtain any necessary licenses and permits before starting your business. Failure to do so can result in fines, legal issues, or even the closure of your business.
Working with a professional advisor can help ensure that you are in compliance with all necessary requirements.
Is there a way I can test-run the business to see how it does?
Before you start a business, you can always test it to see how it does. This process can be cheap or expensive. A side business is a cost-effective alternative so you can properly gauge the viability of your business.
Before you go ahead full-time, you should consider the pros and cons of a side hustle or full-time business. This includes everything from the budget, time, skill sets, and much more.
Should I get a business partner?
The right business partner can grow your company beyond your expectations. Conversely, the wrong one can have the opposite effect. The key is identifying what they bring to the table and how they complement your talents.
The reasons you need a partner vary. Whether you need a partner to fund your business or they have a particular set of skills, make sure you think about how to pick a business partner — and make sure you make the right choice.
Should I hire friends and family?
Most people say no, but there are great examples of family-owned businesses with everyone from grandparents to kids working together. The rule to live by is, only consider hiring your family members if they are fully qualified, especially when you first start a business.
When deciding whether to hire a family member, consider this. Don’t jeopardize your small business by hiring someone who is not qualified.
How do I price my products and services?
The quick answer is to look at your competitor’s price, calculate the total cost, and the perceived value. However, it is much more complicated. The key is to fully research the market you are going to serve and provide a competitive price point while staying profitable.
Finding the right product and service pricing strategy is stressful, so get some advice on how to do it right.
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Side hustles have evolved from making extra cash to become a way of life. Currently, more individuals have side hustles than ever before.
What is a side hustle?
Simply put, “side hustle” is an evolved term for “making extra money” outside a salaried day job or part-time job. For many, it has become a new way of life.
With an online side hustle, you do not have to commute or, for that matter, leave your home at all. Depending on the side hustle of your choice, you just need a working device and a reliable internet connection. This enables you to have complete control of your time and schedule.
Why an online side hustle?
Here are Entrepreneur’s top four reasons to start an online side hustle ASAP.
Having an online side gig has many benefits to it; below are eight online side hustle ideas that we believe to be the best right now in 2023.
1. Take online surveys
One of the most popular and accessible side hustles to invest your time into is taking online surveys on sites like Survey Junkie. You can choose when to take a survey and how long you want to spend doing it. Most surveys will describe the type of survey and approximately how long it will take to complete.
It is not the highest-paying online side hustle, but there is money to be made from it. You can earn anywhere from $1 to $20 per survey. Popular online survey websites that you can check out to start taking online surveys would be SurveyMonkey and Swagbucks.
2. Start a blog
Starting a blog can be a creative outlet for many writers before a money maker. It is something writers of all experience levels can learn and love to do. Most blogs do not make a lot of money when they are being built, but with consistency and dedication, as you put out a new blog every day, your audience will grow, and so will the cash flow that comes with it.
Bloggers have the potential to make thousands of dollars per month. Blogs can be a passive income opportunity by adding affiliate marketing and advertisements. With an attractive website and valuable content, your blog can gain a lot of traffic, recognition, and extra income (especially if you create an online business for merchendise, following in the footsteps of prominent influencers).
You can create your website on various platforms, including Wix and Squarespace, turning your spare time into a lucrative side hustle.
3. Social media manager
With the rise of social media platforms and the growing industry of interactive technologies, social media managers are very much in demand. The job of a social media manager entails connecting a target audience with an organization.
Businesses hire social media managers to expand their online presence and brand awareness, increase sales and revenue, and attract business opportunities. Primarily, social media managers create content with heavy marketing strategies to attract potential customers and clients.
This profession can be handled strictly online as a full-time job or side hustle, depending on the social needs of a business.
Proofreading is one of the strongest and most popular side hustles in 2022. This job is perfect for those who love freelance writing with solid grammar and language skills. Proofreading is a bit lighter than editing.
Editing is usually performed before proofreading, as editors focus on other text elements. When proofreading, you are explicitly looking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Yes, many websites can fulfill this duty on a surface level. Still, with the rise of businesses wanting to expand their online presence, including website launches, blogs, and social media, companies look for freelance writers and proofreaders to ensure quality content.
Sites like Upwork and Fiverr, where you find excellent side hustle opportunities for freelance writing, are also great places to look for good money in proofreading.
The best way to think about proofreading is to get a second pair of eyes on a piece of content.
5. Virtual assistant
The job of an online virtual assistant can vary from administrative work to bookkeeping. Everyday tasks a virtual assistant can do include scheduling appointments, making phone calls, responding to emails, coordinating travel arrangements, data entry, and more.
If you have good communication skills, customer service experience, and extra time to help new or busy business owners, this can be an easy way to make extra money from home.
6. Create an online course
Do you have an area of expertise, so much so that you can teach others about it? Creating an online course can give you extra money and even passive income.
Online learning platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and Teachable have transformed the educational world by teaching every skill you can think of, with the potential for certification at the end. These platforms provide opportunities to promote your courses and give a sense of security to their customers.
If you choose not to put your courses on a platform and want to sell them yourself, social media has opened up many doors for you to sell your courses to your followers. This enables you to make passive income: you must create the course and sell it digitally multiple times.
7. Online tutoring and teaching English
The pandemic made it easy for educators to make a lot of money tutoring and teaching English online. Students were not in a classroom, so many needed extra help and were able to receive it virtually from licensed professionals.
Another perk to this side hustle is that teaching English online can be open to individuals all over the globe in different time zones, enabling online tutors to make money at all hours of the day.
Online tutoring may be a good option if you have a niche besides teaching English and can help others practice it.
8. Start an ecommerce store
The industry of ecommerce has been on the rise. Ecommerce stores have many perks like drop shipping, easy-to-use interfaces, digital payment acceptions, no retail storefronts, and 24/7 product availability.
Many platforms, like Shopify and Amazon, provide an online storefront for your ecommerce store and educate you on how to open your online store, manage transactions, build your brand, and more.
Additionally, for more niche markets, you could try Etsy and eBay or even start your ecommerce store with site hosting services like WordPress.
Image Credit: ZipRecruiter
News of slowing revenue growth and layoffs in almost every sector currently dominate the headlines in all the places we consume media. Coupled with the inverted yield curve we saw in November, typically a harbinger of a global recession, it's no wonder we feel stressed. What can we do in a looming recession as entrepreneurs and business owners? How do we protect our companies and limit the fallout from a global economic downturn?
I unwittingly founded my marketing agency in 2008 during the Great Recession, not understanding how serious and prolonged the recession would become and its effects on the entire world economy. Thankfully, my business lived through that turbulence, emerging on the other side with more clients and revenue than one would have expected. Now on the cusp of an economic downturn that feels eerily familiar, I want to see ambitious women entrepreneurs learn how not only to endure but also flourish during the potential next recession.
Why? Because everything everywhere is telling business owners and entrepreneurs to pause, pull back, shore up and play safe right now. I want to give you permission to do the opposite. Despite your natural inclination to hesitate, it's time to implement these measures right now: Take action before the recession has even been declared.
Beyond scrutinizing your budget and cutting non-essential spending to ensure you have working capital during the potentially lean times, here are the top four tips I used to help my business grow during the last recession.
1. I made networking a priority
Making regular connections helps keep your business top of mind, no matter the economic conditions. Most of us have heard the saying, your net worth is in your network. Cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with clients and other business owners is a great way to keep a steady flow of prospects for your services.
There are numerous ways you can network in person and online, including connecting with customers and prospects on social media (yes, you can even slide into DMs) and attending industry events and conferences to meet potential customers and partners.
Additionally, you can join professional organizations related to your industry or target market. You can even reach out to influencers in your industry or target market and ask for their advice or feedback on your products or services and connect with other businesses in your local area that could be potential partners or referral sources.
2. I doubled down on my content marketing efforts
Content marketing is an excellent way to reach your target customers and build relationships with them. If done effectively, content marketing can increase brand awareness, generate leads, and drive sales. If you're looking to double down on content marketing for your business as I did, here are some tips to get started:
3. I ensured my business had multiple income streams
As a business owner, if you're solely relying on a single income stream, you must take the time to diversify. Multiple income streams are critical to creating a thriving business, as it helps diversify your revenue sources, reduce risk and increase potential profits.
Easy ways to create multiple income streams include: offering complementary services or products, building digital products like courses, affiliate marketing, selling advertising space, creating subscription-based services, speaking and offering consulting services. You want to find additional ways to monetize your business IP so that you can diversify your offerings, ensuring you have a steady stream of revenue.
4. I acquired new business skills to enhance my services.
This is the moment to invest in your professional development. Acquiring new skills that can enhance your customers' experience will allow you to reap an astronomical ROI, especially once the economic downturn ends. For example, as we're all learning and leaning into all things Web3, what skills could you learn to help your customers in that space? Other professional development skills and training to consider:
I took many other steps during the last recession to ensure my business succeeded, but these were the actions that garnered the most return. As business owners, we are always searching for ways to grow revenue and a loyal, excited customer base. The central tenet of all of my actions was how to better serve my customers.
Staying customer-centric is critical, focusing on providing excellent customer service in each and every interaction. Customers who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to return and recommend your business to others during an economic recession or boom. Leveraging these tips will help you and your business emerge with more advanced skills and resources, ultimately helping you stay ahead of the competition.
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As businesses grow and evolve, the employee search process becomes increasingly important. Finding and hiring the right employees is crucial to success.
While the hiring process can be time consuming and challenging, it must be done right. Not only do the best employees help to increase productivity and profitability, but they can also contribute to a positive company culture and overall better employee satisfaction.
To improve your likelihood of success while looking for new employees on job boards like ZipRecruiter, it's important to understand how to optimize hiring. Explore how to find quality candidates by applying some of these strategies for conducting an effective employee search.
1. Determine your needs.
Before you start the employee search process, you must determine your needs. What position do you need to fill? What skills and experience are required? What kind of personality traits tend to be successful in this role? Once you understand what you need, you can start looking for candidates who meet those criteria.
2. Create a compelling job description.
A job listing serves as more than just a description of responsibilities. It presents a chance to promote your company and the position to prospective candidates. Use clear language and emphasize the advantages of being part of your organization. While specifying the necessary qualifications, also showcase any selling points of your company culture or work setting.
3. Use job search sites.
Choosing the right platform is essential to reach the best possible audience. ZipRecruiter is one site that can help you reach many quality job seekers. The robust platform offers tools for posting jobs, screening candidates, and managing applications all in one place. It also allows you to reach candidates actively looking for jobs and those who may be open to new opportunities.
4. Encourage employee referrals.
Your current employees can be a valuable resource in the employee search process. They may know of someone who would be a good fit for the open position or may be able to spread the word to their own networks. Incentivize employee referrals to encourage your team to participate in the search for a new employee.
5. Screen candidates thoroughly.
Once you start receiving applications, it's important to screen candidates thoroughly. Look for resumes matching your job description and pay attention to relevant experience or certifications. Conduct phone or video interviews to better understand a candidate's personality and communication skills. Consider using pre-employment assessments or tests to assess a candidate's fit for the role.
6. Conduct in-person interviews.
After you've screened your candidates, it's time to conduct in-person interviews. This is an opportunity to dig deeper into their experience and qualifications and assess their compatibility with your company culture. Ask behavioral questions to understand how a candidate handles different situations and use the opportunity to showcase your company culture and values.
Hiring A-list employees may seem like a daunting task. Following these helpful tips can help streamline the employee search process and set your business up for long-term success.
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