New Business Checklist
1. Secure Funding
Starting a business is no small feat. Not everyone can sacrifice their time to spend with managing a business. Make sure you can dedicate 80% of your life to running your business before committing. To start a business takes money. To run a business takes money. Run your business is phases. Don’t expand faster then you have business to support it. Start small and grow gradually. Nothing will happen overnight. As the saying goes and still holds true today, it takes money to make money.
A. When you signup for PayPal Credit, you get $500 to play with.
B. Securing a line of credit from Capital One or your Credit union for Low Apr Credit Cards
C. Try and keep your credit card usage to under 33% to retain a positive credit score
2. Come up with a unique, relatable name
Now with your primary lookup tool being google, you have to come up with a name that not only people can relate too, has a story or message behind, or is a unique spelling that will make you stand out. When you find a name, google it and see what comes up first. The more unique your name is, the more you will have to put into marketing to sell your concept. Make sure to do your research prior to spending time and money on something that may already exist.
You can approach this like we do with password generation. Take 2 dictionary words, put them together. Brainstorm words that are synonymous with your business and start playing with the different words and how they can work together.
3. Register and secure your Domain Name
Once you have that perfect name, see if its available. If it is, grab it. After 24 hours, domain searches are public and someone else may grab your name if you don’t. If your name is not available, see if it is being used, and if not, see about securing it through a domain broker for a “reasonable” price.
4. Register your name/DBA as a sole proprietor*
Using third party services like legalzoom.com to register your DBA to make sure its done properly. You can also do all the work yourself to save a few bucks, but how much is your time worth? You can start operating your business, you just won’t be able to setup any bank or merchant accounts until you have your paperwork. Typically takes about 2 weeks. *don’t go LLC or inc unless your ready to pay a minimum of $800 in taxes annually.
5. Design a Logo
You need an identity. A mark or brand that lets your customers know who you are and what you do. You can hire a graphic designer to create the look you want if you don’t know adobe illustrator.
6. Get Business Cards
Your business cards say a lot about you. Make sure they represent the quality and professionalism of your business. They are also essential for networking. I mean, have you seen the movie American Psycho?
7. Build a Website
Creating a unique portal for your customers to land to learn more about you, buy your products or get additional clarification on your services.
8. Secure your Social Media
Once you have your website, you’ll get an email address associated with that domain. Use the new email to setup your social media accounts and pages.
9. Get a Merchant Account
When you’re ready to start accepting credit cards, both online an off, you will need a merchant account. Keeping your customers on your site during the payment process is important to maintain customer data security and reputation.
10. Marketing, Advertising, Incentives & Promotions
You can’t rely on the “if you build it, they will come” without letting anyone know you exist. Unpaid google listing typically takes 3 months to get registered in the search engines. If you have a budget, market with google, facebook, instagram and youtube to build your initial customer base. Also nothing is better than word of mouth referrals. Start networking. If you are an an existing industry, you will have competition,. If you are inventing a new category, you have to convince potential customers why it should exist.
Another hidden gem for marketing not many know about is Google Maps. Yes, Google Maps. You register your business with google, and when people in your area search for your service or product, you will appear higher in your rankings. Adding photos to your listing as well will also appear in google Images, Maps and Street View.
Creating a VR tour with Google Street View for Retail locations is always a great way to show off your location online.
11. Mind your Business
You can’t just setup a business and expect it to run itself unless you put automation and a fulfillment house in place. Answer emails, take phone calls, run your business. Or hire someone who will.
Keep your content and product offerings trend-current and priced competitively.
I know this is tough to hear, but plan to fail. Every business goes through up’s and downs and you have to adapt and stay positive and strive through the tough times. Think of a business as a well oiled machine. As long as you keep it well maintained, it will keep generating revenue.