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Every small business should have a ‘to-do’ list

Just because starting a small business has become easier, doesn't make it easier to succeed.

May 5, 2019 |
7 min read

Starting a small business is an exciting time, but to do it well, make sure you make a to-do list. Here are the best things to consider before trading. The internet and technology have changed the way the world works and has redefined work. Never before have so many people started their own businesses.

The internet and technology have certainly influenced this. Some workers only need an internet connection to earn money.

Others can easily operate a side-gig from home in their spare time. These advancements have made starting a small business much easier. No longer do you have to make endless calls or write letters, simply set up a website and begin.

If it is easier for one person, it is easier for everyone. This has made competition fierce. The way to make sure you come out of the blocks fast is to plan well and execute must-do tasks early.

Starting slowly with backlogs of work to do will only impede success down the line. Here we have a comprehensive list of things you need to do before starting a small business.

Starting a small business

Although men are 50% more likely to start their own business than women, people that do usually choose this path for similar reasons. Having a small business often stems from a passion. For example, if someone starts a cake stall it comes from a passion of baking.

Another example is a freelance web designer who is passionate about technology and design. Other reasons for starting a small business include achieving a better quality of life. It is normal to want to avoid the usual business hours to work around family life, partners and children. Although this is not always possible even when owning your own business.

Small business ideas

It is not easy to come up with a business idea. Even when you do have a clear passion, the way to direct that passion into a business can be tough. To help you focus on an idea start brainstorming and do not be afraid to ask for advice from people who will not be afraid to let you know how bad an idea really is. You need honest feedback early!

There are endless possibilities for starting a small business, just like working from home for an example . However, the type of idea you are trying to come up with may differ for full-time businesses and side gigs.

If you just want some extra pocket money you should think of businesses that are predominantly self-sufficient and just require you or your skills. On the other hand, if you want a full-time business then make sure you are prepared to put the hours in networking, negotiating and even traveling.

Small business key considerations

Once you have come up with an idea and you are sticking with it, there is work to do. The beginning of a business is crucial and can determine how successful you will be. To help you out, below are some things that should be on your first to-do list. Have you considered them all?

Find support

It is easy to criticize someone else’s business idea and many people do. Some businesses will not have succeeded so well if criticism did not fall on deaf ears. However, this does not mean you should not seek out feedback and support. Tell your friends and family about your business venture.

These are the people you will want and need support from. Without it, doubt may set in and you could lose motivation. Getting their support early is key.

Business name and branding

Choosing a business name is difficult. You need to make sure it is engaging and maybe even check dictionaries and translations to avoid embarrassment. The name of your business and its overall branding is vital for one reason. That reason is changing these things can be costly and time-consuming.

You may need to pay a lot of money to re-register a name and you could have to redo all your materials and website if you change branding. Therefore take your time to get it right the first time.

Market research

This task is one of the very first you should be doing. It may be argued to come before even deciding that you will be starting a small business. There needs to be a market for your product or service. Without checking if this is true you will set up for failure.

Not only do you have to establish a market, but you also have to zone in on that market and come up with ways that you will engage their interest.

Let the authorities know

Depending on where you are located, there will be steps to take to notify authorities of your business. This will usually involve a lot of forms and declarations. You will even have to research the different types of businesses and consider which one you want to set up as. The common situation for small businesses ran by yourself only is to become a sole trader.

Get a website

Earlier it was stated that the internet is what has made starting a small business much easier. This makes it essential that you use it. Not making a website would give your competitors the edge and make it difficult to reach your market.

Starting a small business means you will need a new website. This is an area worth investing in. Hiring skilled web designers and SEO experts will afford you a sleek website that gets seen, respectively.

Small business grants

Some small businesses may be able to apply for business grants. These grants may be available at different times or not at all. Ultimately it will depend on your location and current government initiatives. Nevertheless, it is worth researching these from the outset.

A cash injection in the beginning may make all the difference. If there are currently no initiatives from the government or other organizations, remember to check again in the future.

Small business credit cards and banking

At this early stage, you will also need to shop around for the best business banking accounts, and maybe even a small business credit card. Starting a new business and merging these finances with personal finances can be confusing and difficult to manage. Make sure you look for and open an account before your first order.

Get social

Marketing does not always come cheap. Yet, social media marketing does. Create social media accounts in your business’s aim and start attracting a following. This is the best way to market your business in the beginning when you are on a budget.

Let your friends and other local business owners know about your accounts and ask them to promote your page. You may also want to consider joining LinkedIn to network with people in your industry.

Produce materials

If you are going to market in other ways, then it is likely you will need materials creating and printing. This will include the likes of posters, flyers and even brochures. The nature of your small business will determine what materials you need. If you need help creating them by design experts, you can always outsource these tasks to freelancing professionals.

Think accounting

Starting a small business may come from your skills in an area – but accounting is not likely to be one of them. Some business owners keep their own books and do it well. However, accounting can be difficult to do alone.

Opting for help from professional accountants not only frees up times, it reduces the chances of errors and consequently fines. If you do want this type of financial support you should choose to do it early and reap the benefits of an accountant during the whole tax year.

Find a business mentor

In the early stages of starting a small business, your business acumen will be limited. Your lack of experience and limited business knowledge will mean you could do better with support. Business mentors are growing in popularity because they are making a real difference to new business owners. Finding one for yourself may be a worthwhile investment.

Permits and insurance

Some businesses, depending on what they do, will need permits and insurance. You will need to obtain these legal documents from the very beginning and before you start trading. If you put off getting them, you will be breaking the law and could face fines or even imprisonment. You could also be putting any staff members at risk.

Start checking these tasks off now!

There is no time like the present so start to check these important tasks off your new business’s to-do list. Once these initial and administrative jobs have been completed, you can move on to and following a new and exciting path.

If you want to succeed try to never cut corners and do things right the first time. Starting a small business is exciting, but it is even more exciting when set up correctly and raring to go.

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