Starting a business and being your own boss is a dream for many. The opportunity may come from a hobby, windfall of unexpected money or the desire to take the risk and start something new. There are many pitfalls but let’s take a look at five things not to forget when launching.
Patent Search – Be sure your product idea has not been patented by another company. Once cleared, start an application to protect yourself. What could happen? Someone may come back to you and threaten patent infringement resulting in business loss and legal costs.
Name Trademark – Knowing products are safe from patent issues is a good start but check out your company name. Make sure there are no other companies in the same line of business using the name you’ve chosen. This includes branding such as logos, slogans and taglines. Reserve the internet domain that will align with your company. There are many tools provided by domain managers to search for current usage. Lock in the domain extension whether it be .com, .org, or one of the many currently available.
Business Licenses – Whether operating from your home or store location business licenses are typically required. Find out your local requirements, apply and pay for them before launch. Not paying them may result in fines down the road.
Adequate Financing – It may go without saying to raise enough capital to launch a business but many times entrepreneurs overlook the need for operating capital during those first crucial months and even years of operation. Cash doesn’t always come flowing in immediately so be sure there is enough to keep production, employees and other overhead expenses covered. The proforma P&L and Cash Flow statements will help identify how much and when this cash may be needed.
Marketing Plan– Having everything else in place is a good start but without a “how I will sell my product or service” aka, marketing plan, you may be setting up for failure. Develop a plan that may include print, social media and referral rewards that are applicable to your business category. Review and measure it regularly for effectiveness and relevancy.
Starting a business is easy but being successful takes some upfront work. There are many books and resources to help you including the SBA and SCORE. Take advantage of them to get you on your way.
Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Plans and Project Management. He earned is MBA from Regis University along with a Masters in Project Management. He is also ITIL 4.0 certified. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn, TedS787 or emailing TedSaulbiz@gmail.com.